Frontiers Fall 2011

Recognizing Progress in Cancer Research

The National Cancer Act turns 40, and we present examples of research accomplishments by OSUCCC – James investigators

This Dec. 23rd, our nation will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act. The research done since the act’s passage has led in many cases to cures, to extraordinary new treatments, to earlier detection and to improved quality of life for cancer survivors.

Yet, some 570,000 Americans will die of cancer this year. This issue of Frontiers shows some of what we are doing to reduce that number.

Our cover story offers examples of progress in clinical and translational research that is already making a difference in patients’ lives. Another story looks at how retroviral research is improving our understanding of cancer and read about our skull-base surgery program for a remarkable example of clinical innovations that are improving patients’ quality of life.

In this issue’s Frontline, Peter Shields, MD, internationally renowned physician-scientist and expert in cancer prevention, presents an insightful perspective of cancer prevention research. Peter recently joined Ohio State from Georgetown University as deputy director of the OSUCCC – James.

We’ve successfully worked in the past to improve clinical-trials access. Recently we took another step toward improving the clinical trials process. It is all but impossible to conduct clinical trials evaluating combinations of experimental targeted agents, largely because of intellectual property, commercialization, profit and price issues.

In May, the OSUCCC – James and Friends of Cancer Research organized a Cancer Drug Development Roundtable to begin tackling this complex problem.

The Ohio State Roundtable brought together representatives of academia, government, the pharmaceutical industry, legal services and advocacy groups to address the barriers to co-developing cancer drugs owned by competing interests. Our goal is to bring new cancer treatments more quickly to patients.

Finally, watch for our video icon. Visit Frontiers online and click on it to see OSUCCC – James researchers talking about their work or their views on progress in cancer research.

Prescription for Progress in Cancer Prevention

Although medical science has made great strides in many areas of cancer research and treatment, progress in cancer prevention has been far too slow and somewhat disappointing. Simply put, far too many people still get cancer.

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Hitting the Mark

The experimental agent selumetinib showed promising results in people with advanced biliary cancer in a multi-institutional study led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

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Auspicious Agent

An interim analysis of a phase II clinical trial indicates that an experimental agent for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is highly active and well tolerated both in previously treated patients and in those who have relapsed and are resistant to other therapy.

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Tiny Detection

OSUCCC – James researchers have identified characteristic patterns of microRNA molecules (miRNA) in the blood of lung cancer patients that might reveal the presence and aggressiveness of the disease, and perhaps who is at risk of developing it.

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Triple Treatment

Adding low doses of the targeted agent sorafenib to the chemotherapy and radiation now often used to treat head and neck cancer might significantly improve patient care and quality of life, a preclinical study at the OSUCCC – James suggests.

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Prognostic Progress

New research proves that a change in the MGMT gene can identify which patients with glioblastoma will respond better to treatment. Testing for this gene can distinguish patients with a more- or less-aggressive form of this disease – the most common and deadliest type of primary brain cancer – and help guide therapy.

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Preclinical Findings

The active ingredient in a traditional Chinese herbal remedy might help treat deadly brain tumors, according to a study by OSUCCC – James researchers.

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Of Note

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

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From Satellite to Street View

When President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971, he made the conquest of cancer a national crusade. It soon came to be called the “War on Cancer,” a name that promotes cancer as a single disease that affects many parts of the body.

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Endonasal Skull-Base Surgery

Tumors of the skull base are rare, but when they arise, they occupy an area of the body that few people know exists—the area inside the head that forms the floor of the cranium and the roof of the sinus cavities. It is an anatomical terrain that is dense, complex and delicate.

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What Can Be the Why?

In the early 1990s, Kathleen Boris-Lawrie, PhD, was working in the laboratory of Nobel Prize laureate Howard Temin at the University of Wisconsin. She’d constructed a simpler form of bovine leukemia virus (BLV) as a step toward developing a retrovirus vaccine against infectious cancers and AIDS.

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2011 Pelotonia Fellowships Support Student-Proposed Cancer Research at Ohio State

Each year, Pelotonia funds fellowship grants for undergraduate, graduate, medical school and postdoctoral students who want to help cure cancer at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

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Bench to Bedside: From the Laboratory to the Pharmacy

An estimated 80 percent of the U.S. population is affected with gum disease, and 30,000 individuals are newly diagnosed with oral cancer annually.

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Modeling Human Disease

Mouse modeling is a powerful, highly effective tool for understanding cancer etiology and investigating novel experimental therapeutics.

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Radiation Therapy Takes Wing at the OSUCCC – James

The JamesCare Comprehensive Breast Center, which opened in April, now has its own TrueBeam linear accelerator and began offering radiation therapy for breast cancer patients in July.

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Need to Know

A wrap-up of the other news that happened in the last six months.

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