DF/HCC eNews
www.dfhcc.harvard.edu Winter 2007



News and Events
Foci of Cancer Research Research Highlights
More on Cores New Faces
Grant Updates
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Charting a better roadmap for clinical research protocols


The preeminent goal of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center is to rapidly translate important discoveries to improved patient care. Yet the road from new research findings to innovative cancer treatments winds through the intricate terrain of protocol review and approval. An initiative now under way seeks to remap this terrain and cut through the underbrush of redundancy and delay that has often frustrated investigators and encumbered the clinical trials process. more>





DFCI's balanced portfolio of scientific investments

  The red and white flags suspended outside Dana-Farber Cancer Institute do more than simply decorate the hospital building; they sum up the dual mission inside: a dedication to discovery and commitment to care. "Our balanced portfolio, invested equally in research and patient care, makes us different from all other cancer centers," says Chief Scientific Officer Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD. "No matter how you parse it -- by full-time effort, dollars spent, square footage -- the balance between the two is fifty-fifty." more>




Gaining insight into pathways of cancer 

  The Cytogenetics Core offers investigators insight into the pathogenetic regions of the genome and the molecular pathways involved in cancer. Methods of analysis include conventional karyotyping, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on metaphase and interphase spreads, as well as advanced technologies such as BioView automated cell analyses/counter, spectral karyotyping (SKY)/multiplex FISH, and array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). Although our services focus mainly on human and mouse cytogenetics, we also have performed analyses on the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, swine, rat, and zebrafish. Please contact Charles Lee for more information.


Identifying study-eligible cases

  You have a sound idea for a study. But are there enough patients to meet your accrual needs? The Rapid Case Identification Core can help. During grant-planning and preparation, RCIC can provide case numbers that include information regarding race, age, gender, and cancer stage. Post award, the Core can assist with the case ascertainment issues of IRB approval, identify cases within weeks of diagnosis at institutions throughout Massachusetts, review medical records, retrieve pathology specimens, and provide demographic information on potential population controls. Our staff will tailor data collection efforts to meet the specific needs of your study. For more information, contact Carol Lowenstein.


Introducing your gene of interest 

  The Vector Core produces gene transfer reagents for the modification of mammalian cells. DF/HCC investigators can choose from a variety of vector types: MLV-based retroviral and HIV-based lentiviral vectors; adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, suitable for gene delivery to a range of target tissues; and second-generation E1- and E3-deleted adenoviral vectors. The core also genetically engineers stable cell lines for use in cancer vaccine studies, and maintains a large collection of cloning plasmids, which allow the insertion of genes or siRNA cassettes into vectors. Experts will consult with you on the appropriate vector for your research study. Visit our website or contact Jeng-Shin Lee for more information.



Success of Prostate SPORE sparks renewal

  The DF/HCC Prostate Cancer SPORE, initially funded in 2002 and led by Philip Kantoff, MD (DFCI), has been highly successful in creating cohesion in the Prostate Cancer Program, sparking new RO1, PO1, and DOD grants, fostering innovative ideas in prostate cancer research, and advancing the careers of junior investigators. The renewal application, submitted in September 2006, features new projects as well as extensions of existing ones.  more>

DF/HCC awarded grants amid tight funding environment

  Despite current funding constraints, the NCI recently funded two program project grants (P01s), while the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute renewed a research project cooperative agreement (U01). Awards like these encourage a multi-disciplinary teamwork approach to cancer research. Another recent success of DF/HCC investigators is the NCI's renewal of an institutional training grant (T32), which supports training for the next generation of cancer researchers. For details, click below.

Neighbors partner to nurture scientists of color

  DF/HCC and the University of Massachusetts Boston received a five-year, $4.3 million grant from the NIH to jointly develop strategies to reduce health disparities in Boston neighborhoods and to help diversify the region's biomedical scientists. The cooperative planning grant, known as a U56, funds partnerships between minority-serving institutions and NCI-sponsored cancer centers to gain an understanding of the reasons behind cancer disparities and, ultimately, to strengthen the national cancer program. The U56 helps potential partners develop plans and initiate activities that will prepare them to compete for funding in the future to achieve longer-term objectives. more>




DF/HCC congratulates new leadership
As of December 2006, the following members assumed new leadership positions:

Twenty-seven new members join DF/HCC community

Since September 2006, 27 individuals from our seven member institutions and academic partners have joined DF/HCC -- adding new expertise to the collaborative effort to conquer cancer. Learn more about these scientists and their areas of research interest.



New associate director fast at work

Beverly Ginsburg On November 15, DF/HCC welcomed
Bev Ginsburg, MBA, as the new associate director for administration, a recruitment that Director Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, called "a transforming event" for both DF/HCC and DFCI, where Ginsburg holds the additional position of senior vice president for research. more>


calendar link


Miss an event? Check out new calendar 

DF/HCC has launched an enhanced online calendar of educational events related to basic, clinical, and population science. You can view the calendar by day, week, or month, or simply click the Events tab to see a complete list of seminars and conferences happening across all seven member institutions. Sort by science category - color-coded for ease of use -- or search by location. more>

"Mini-Pipeline" expands oncology seminars

DF/HCC has expanded its monthly seminar series, "Pipelines in Oncology," to encompass small to mid-size biotechnology companies. The original Pipeline seminars feature interactive presentations from leading pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer and Novartis, who discuss promising oncology products with investigators from all DF/HCC sites. Mini-Pipeline seminars mirror these discussions with companies like Array Biopharma, PTC Therapeutics, Nerviano Medical Sciences, and GPC Biotech.  more>


BIDMC -- How NSAIDs halt cancer growth

BWH -- Red meat and increased breast cancer risk

CHB -- Preventing GVHD after BMT -- without toxicity

DFCI -- Drug combination proves effective in myeloma trial

HMS -- Prostate cancer treatment increases risk of diabetes, CVD

HSPH -- Survey highlights problems in health care system

MGH -- Discovery of new gene associated with Wilm's tumor



The Stanley J. Korsmeyer Symposium -- Jan. 25-26


Pipelines in Oncology
Amgen -- Feb. 15

Infinity -- March 15

Reata -- April 19



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