Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Masonic Cancer Center Update Newsletter


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Update is available on the web at

Update is an official newsletter of the Masonic Cancer Center for faculty, members, staff, colleagues, and friends.All submissions for the next issue must be sent to, by noon on Friday for publication the following Monday.

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October 5, 2015

Cancer Center Seminar

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
DNMT1-KIT regulatory circuit controls lung cancer cell fate
Shujun Liu, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Epigenetics & Experimental Therapeutics, Hormel Institute

Host: Lisa Peterson, Ph.D.

A peek at next week’s seminar:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 9-10 a.m., 1-125 CCRB
The cholangiocyte primary cilium as a tumor suppressor organelle 
Sergio Gradilone, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Cancer Cell Biology and Translational Research, Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota

Hosts: Carol Lange, Ph.D. and Ashok Saluja, Ph.D.

View the calendar for a complete schedule.

In This Issue


Clinical Trials

Program Meetings

Professional Education


Funding Announcements and Opportunities


Abstract submission deadline extended for Masonic Cancer Center Research Symposium
The deadline for submission of abstracts to the 6th Annual Masonic Cancer Center Research Symposium poster session has been extended to October 12.  Visit the website to submit your abstract.

Dean Brooks Jackson to address Masonic Cancer Center in Town Hall Meeting
Dean Brooks Jackson will present his vision for the Academic Health Center, M Health and the Masonic Cancer Center at a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, October 22, 2015, 9:15-10:30 a.m. in room 1-125 CCRB. Bring your questions to this open forum discussion. Breakfast pastries and coffee will be provided.

Members in the news
Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., associate director of Cancer Prevention and Control, is quoted in HealthDayHealth Talk and MPR stories about her recent research findings that low-nicotine cigarettes may help smokers cut back or quit smoking. The research was published in the October 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

 Mpls.St.Paul Magazine names Masonic Cancer Center member physicians “rising stars”
The Mpls.St.Paul Magazine released its first edition of Twin Cities’ Top Doctors – Rising Stars, which recognized 64 University of Minnesota Health physicians in 28 specialties. To be considered for inclusion, the physicians must have been practicing for 10 years or less. They are nominated by their peers. Among them were the following Masonic Cancer Center members.

Colon & Rectal Surgery
Mary Kwaan, M.D., M.P.H.

Gynecologic Oncology
Deanna Teoh, M.D.

Anne Blaes, M.D.
Craig Eckfeldt, M.D., Ph.D.
Milena Elimelakh, M.D.
Peter Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Emily Greengard, M.D.
Karim Sadak, M.D.
Lucie Turcotte, M.D.

Christopher Weight, M.D.

Congratulations to Thomas Griffith, Ph.D., Immunology Program, for his inclusion in the AHC Wall of Scholarship for his paper published in Science, “Fas LigandInduced Apoptosis as a Mechanism of Immune Privilege.” To be included, the paper must have been cited at least 1,000 times, as indicated by two of three major citation indices (Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science). The wall is reviewed annually in the fall.

Welcome new staff
LeAnn Oseth will be shifting professional gears and starting a new path with the operations team at the Masonic Cancer Center on Monday, September 28th. She will be the new Lab Services Coordinator for our CCRB facility, joining Lynette Running who will oversee the services at MCRB. As many of you know, LeAnn has been at the Masonic Cancer Center for many years coordinating the research support efforts of the Cytogenomics Shared Resource. If you get a chance, please stop by 3230A CCRB and give her a warm welcome to the new building!

Genomic Engineering Shared Resource launches website
The new Genomic Engineering Shared Resource has opened its doors and is accepting customers. Visit the new website.

Oncology Medical Informatics and Services (OMIS) update
The OMIS team welcomes Sithara Vivek, who joined on August 17, 2015 as a Data Management Associate replacing Laura Jacobus. She has been changed with standardizing data capture processes and design data management plans for clinical trials and biospecimens, and to help establish data quality processes. She is a research scholar who comes to us from the Mayo Clinic with a rich background analyzing Epidemiology and Oncology data.

The OMIS page on the Masonic Cancer Center’s web site has been updated to handle electronic requests for new projects, changes to an existing project, data sets and reports from your IT team. You can also request for access to Oncore for CTO managed trials. This process is now completely automated. OMIS also supports the Research Electronic Data Capture, REDCap, which originated at Vanderbilt’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.  REDCap is a web-based system designed specifically to support data capture for research studies. You do not need to install this software. The University of Minnesota, via the CTSI, supports REDCap for use by any research project. OMIS can help with creation of studies and forms (CRF’s) in this system. OMIS can facilitate generation of reports for investigators and study staff as well as any that need to be sent to outside agencies such as the National Cancer Institute.

You can access the OMIS shared resource page from the MCC website, or you can bookmark our page Please explore our page to review documentation on governance policies and procedures that we use to manage access to MCC data. Feedback is welcome and appreciated. You can use contact us/ feedback section on our web page for this.

Members receive grants
Jill Siegfried, Ph.D., Cell Signaling Program and associate director of translational research, received a 2-year R21 grant from the NCI for her project “Role of hormone pathways in chemoprevention for high-risk smokers.” This grant will combine an antiestrogen with an anti-inflammatory drug to prevent lung cancer in mice exposed to tobacco carcinogen, and measure estrogenic pathways in biopsies from smokers with precancerous airway lesions.

Registration now open for Mini Bioetchics Academy
Registration is open for Mini Bioethics Academy, sponsored by the Center for Bioethics and open to anyone interested in learning about and discussing bioethical issues. Read more and register.

Campus Forums in October to Discuss Grand Challenges Research Ideas
Provost Karen Hanson invites faculty, staff, and students to five campus forums in October to discuss, integrate, and enrich scores of Grand Challenges research ideas from faculty. The 90-minute forums will help to shape U priorities and strengthen research connections across campus.

How will we ensure just and equitable societies? Oct. 12, 10:30 a.m., URecCtr, Room MP5; How will we foster human potential and well-being across the life course in a diverse and changing world? Oct. 13, 10 a.m., URecCtr, Room MP5; How will we advance human health? Oct. 14, 8:30 a.m., CMU, Campus Club W. Wing; How will we develop sustainable cities and resilient communities in a world of climate change? Oct. 16, 8:30 a.m., CMU, Campus Club W. Wing; How will we provide secure food, water, and energy today and for the future? Oct. 22, 9:30 a.m., CMU Mississippi Room.

Discussion questions will be posted on the site two days in advance of each forum. Visit the strategic planning website for details and to RSVP. Notes from all the forums will be posted at the end of October.

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Clinical Trials

The following clinical trials conducted by Masonic Cancer Center members were recently opened:

MT2014-25: A Phase 2 Study of Subcutaneous Recombinant Human IL-15 (rhIL-15) and Haploidentical Donor Natural Killer (NK) Cell Infusion in Adults with Refractory or Relapsed Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
PI: Miller, Jeffrey

Novartis CCTL019B2202; HM2015-14: A Phase II, single arm, multicenter trial to determine the efficacy and safety of CTL019 in pediatric patients with relapsed and refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
PI: Verneris, Michael

For or more information on clinical trials contact Rita Bouley, R.N., B.S.N. (, 612-624-2620).

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Program Meetings

BMT Program Meeting
Monday, October 5, 2015, 1:15-2:15 p.m., 450 MCRB
Proposed updates to the BMT vaccination protocol
Cathryn Jennissen, PharmD, BCOP

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Professional Education

October 7, 2015: Cancer Biology Journal Club
12-1 p.m., 2-115 CCRB
Amanda Oliiveira Salzwedel, D.V.M., M.S., Masamoto lab, will discuss "Viral Infection of Tumors Overcomes Resistance to PD-1-immunotherapy by Broadening Neoantigenome-directed T-cell Responses," Woller N., et al., Mol Ther 2015.

October 8, 2015: Brain Tumor Program Data Club
9 a.m., 3-150 CCRB
Pathway inhibition in medical practice – real life success
Christopher Moertel, M.D., Medical Director, Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and Neurofibramatosis Programs

Food and coffee will be provided.

October 13, 2015: Tobacco Research Studies Meeting
2 p.m., 717 Delaware St. SE, room 202
Engaging homeless populations in smoking cessation clinical trials
Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Program in Health Disparities Research, Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

October 15, 2015: Discovery Across Disciplines
12-2 p.m., Great Hall at Coffman Memorial Union
The Masonic Cancer Center will have a booth at the upcoming Discovery Across Disciplines: A Showcase of Interdisciplinary Research Centers and Institutes presented by the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice-President for Research. 

Visit the website for more information.

October 20, 2015: Translational Biomarkers Working Group
10 a.m., 2-115 CCRB
Myron Gross and Bruce Alexander will be presenting.
The Translational Biomarkers Working Group brings together researchers who are interested in applying biomarkers in cancer research. The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. Attendance by Webex is possible. Contact Bob Carson ( for connection information.

October 28, 2015: Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Data Club
12 p.m., 3-150 CCRB
This group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each member. A member of the Hecht Group will be presenting. Attendance by Webex is possible. Contact Bob Carson ( for connection information.

October 29-November 1, 2015: 17th Annual Lynn Sage Breast  Cancer Symposium
Fairmont Chicago, Millenium Park

Registration is now open.  Visit the website for more information.

November 10, 2015: 6th Annual Masonic Cancer Center Research Symposium
10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building
Keynote speaker: B.J. Kennedy Lecturer in Medical Oncology
"New Strategies for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer – Deciphering the Heterogeneity"
Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D., Director, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Benjamin F. Byrd, Jr. Professor of Oncology, Professor of Biochemistry, Cancer Biology and Otolaryngology

Abstract submission deadline has been extended to October 12, 2015. Read more.

Visit the Education and Training Opportunities web page for more conference and special lecture listings.

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October 10, 2015: 14th Annual Breast Cancer Education Conference
8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center
Keynote Speaker:
Otis Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P., Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society
What are the road blocks that challenge cancer patients from getting the best health care available?
Experts Talk on Oncology: What's New and What's Changed?
Speakers: Douglas Yee, M.D., Tufia Haddad, M.D., and Barbara Bowers, M.D.

For more information and to register.

October 24, 2015: Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance Living Well
1- 4 p.m., Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building, 2231 6th St. SE
Join us and MOCA-funded Masonic Cancer Center researchers to learn about the progress made on their projects since they were awarded MOCA grants. Featured speakers include Amy Skubitz, Ph.D., Daniel Vallera, Ph.D., and Reuben Harris, Ph.D. 

This meeting is open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.  Register.

March 12, 2016: SAVE THE DATE: Transitions in Cancer Survivorship Care
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Kingsgate Marriott Conference Center, 151 Goodman Dr., Cincinnati, OH

Visit the website for more information.

April 23, 2016: SAVE THE DATE for the 11th Annual Cancer Survivorship Conference
Saturday, April 23, 2016, 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota
A cancer diagnosis can alter the landscape of your life. Although it doesn't redefine you, it can change your lifetime health care needs. Save the date for this free educational conference that focuses on questions and issues survivors and their families often face after cancer treatment or following stem-cell transplantation.

Registration is required and will open in early 2016. To be added to our conference mailing list, please "click here".  

Visit the Community Events and Outreach page for more information.

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Funding Announcements and Opportunities

MCC Program Support Grants 2016
The goal of the MCC Program Support Grants is to enhance the theme of each program and improve the merit descriptor of each program on the next CCSG renewal.
Funding: See program announcement
September 14, 2015: Applications open
October 16, 2015: Applications due
December 14, 2015: Award date
Award Period: January 1, 2016-December 31, 2016
Apply online .

American Cancer Society’s Institutional Research Grant University of Minnesota
Applications open: September 21, 2015, 8:00 am
Applications close: October 19, 2015, 5:00 pm
Funding: Up to $30,000 for one year
The purpose of the American Cancer Society’s Institutional Research Grant (ACS-IRG) is to support the initiation of promising new cancer-related research projects by junior faculty members (Assistant Professors or their equivalents), so they can obtain preliminary results that will enable them to compete successfully for national research grants. IRGs are intended to support independent, self-directed investigators early in their careers, for whom the institution must provide research facilities or space customary for an independent investigator. Detailed descriptions of the funding opportunity, evaluation criteria, and submission requirements can be found in the online application .

NIMHD Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for Health Disparities Research on Chronic Disease Prevention (U54) (PDF)
Internal Application deadline:  October 16, 2015

The University of Minnesota (UMN) Program in Health Disparities Research is developing an application in response to a recent RFA [] from the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to establish Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers (TCC) for Health Disparities Research on Chronic Disease Prevention. Only 1 application per institution is allowed; the UMN Office of Vice President for Research (OVPR) has listed the RFA on their website and will coordinate the application process as needed.

Contact Dr. Sue Everson-Rose at with questions.

Visit the Funding Opportunities Web page to see listings previously published in Update. A list of organizations that provide funding for cancer research is also provided there.

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  • Last modified on October 8, 2015