Frontiers Spring/Summer 2010

Forward Moves: New administrative leadership, two new divisions and a new division director

I have several exciting developments to share with you.

First, we are pleased to announce that Jeff Walker is returning to The Ohio State University to become the first executive director of our cancer program, effective June 1. Jeff will oversee all administrative, operational and fiscal functions for the OSUCCC – James, both clinical and research.

Jeff served as associate director for administration at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center from 2001 to 2007. He then joined Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, which, like our own James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, is a free-standing, PPS-exempt cancer hospital. As executive vice president, he oversaw the cancer center’s clinical and research operations.

Jeff’s experience and unique perspective will help move us toward our goal of becoming one of the nation’s top ten cancer programs.

In another exciting development, Ohio State’s Department of Internal Medicine has replaced the former Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology with an independent Division of Medical Oncology and an independent Division of Hematology. Having two distinct divisions will ensure the highest quality of patient care, education and research.

I am also pleased to announce that Miguel Villalona, MD, an outstanding leader from within our own ranks, was chosen to direct the new Division of Medical Oncology. He will also continue to direct our solid-tumor experimental therapeutics program.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Miguel is internationally recognized for his work in experimental therapeutics and lung cancer. He is an NCI-funded scholar and a member of the NCI investigational drug steering committee. He is an outstanding mentor, and as a member of the American Association for Cancer Research Council on Minorities in Cancer Research, and in other ways, he works to enhance minority scientist career development.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Frontiers and its stories about oncolytic virus therapy, how stimulus grants are furthering cancer research and the value of translational research. Read it as you travel to the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting June 4-8 in Chicago. 

A Need Met

In March, President Obama signed into law a historic bill that extends healthcare coverage to millions of Americans who previously could not afford to purchase it. Included in the legislation is a provision ensuring coverage for individuals who participate in approved clinical trials.

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Amish Advantage

When Ohio State researchers began studying a sect of Amish living in Ohio, they theorized they would find higher incidence rates of cancer, mainly because Amish religious beliefs and traditions limit contact with mainstream society, and intermarriage within their relatively small population could increase cancer-related gene mutations.

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Prostate Prognostication

A prostate cancer diagnosis raises an important question for physicians and their patients: Will the tumor grow quickly, requiring continuous treatment, or slowly, allowing therapy and its risks to be safely delayed?

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Role Reversal

In a developing animal, stem cells proliferate and differentiate to form organs. A new study shows how a crucial step in this process happens and how a reversal of that step contributes to cancer.

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When Bad is Better

Almost half of people younger than 60 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) may be cured, but that number plunges to 5-16 percent for people 60 and older.

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Mathematical Model

Cervical cancer is curable when caught early, but in a third of cases the tumor either responds poorly to therapy or recurs later, when it is more difficult to cure.

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Targeting T Cells

Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who were treated as part of a multicenter study by the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network had excellent survival and a low risk of graft-vs.-host disease, the major complication of transplantation.

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Protein Pickoff

Current therapies for human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) often damage the immune system, leading to infections that are the primary cause of death for these patients.

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Recent Recognitions of OSUCCC-James Physicians and Researchers

A listing of the recent recognitions of OSUCCC – James physicians and researchers.

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Stimulating Research

When President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law on February 17, 2009, it meant an influx of $787 billion to stimulate the U.S. economy.

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The Fine Art of Collaboration

Oncolytic viruses—viruses that are engineered to kill cancer cells—offer a promising strategy for treating cancers that remain steadfastly incurable. That is, if the virus can get a toehold in enough tumor cells to work.

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Found in Translation

In August 2009, cancer researchers at The Ohio State University began recruiting patients to a landmark phase I clinical trial for an experimental agent called AR-12, which inhibited solid tumors and lymphoma in preclinical studies.

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Bench to Bedside

Despite aggressive therapy that can include chemotherapy and concurrent chemoradiation, the overall five-year survival rate for advanced-stage OPSCC is less than 50 percent.

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Frozen Assets

The Biorepository and Biospecimen Shared Resource (BBSR) collects, stores and distributes biospecimens obtained during clinical visits or surgery. Standarized best practices are used to process (frozen, fixed and RNA-inhibitor) and store biospecimens as a high-quality collection.

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ProjectONE is The Ohio State University Medical Center’s $1 billion expansion that will provide a new home for the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute and a new site for the care of critically ill patients.

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Translational Philanthropy

The Charles W. Hinson Endowment Fund at the OSUCCC-James supported the recruitment of Arnab Chakravarti, MD, professor and chair of Radiation Oncology, co-director of the Brain Tumor Program and holder of The Max Morehouse Chair in Cancer Research.

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