Frontiers Spring 2011

Reasons to Celebrate: Quality indicators continue to rise

Last year, a panel of NCI experts arrived at the OSUCCC to look under the hood and see how we’re doing. I’m pleased to report that they liked what they saw. Following that visit and a review of our core-grant renewal proposal, the NCI rated our program “exceptional,” their highest descriptor, and recommended continued funding. The amount will be announced early this year.

The renewal enables Ohio State to retain its status as one of only 40 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, a designation that the University has maintained since 1976. The NCI site review team also stated, “This Center should serve as the model for other matrix university-based Centers.”

These remarkable outcomes were, of course, a team effort. They were achieved through the dedication, cooperation and collaboration of our physicians, nurses, investigators and support staff.

Over the past five years, our NCI grant funding has grown by 96 percent, placing the OSUCCC 14th in annual NCI research funding nationally. Our goal is to break into the top 10. During the same period, our investigator-initiated therapeutic clinical trials jumped 258 percent, to 552, and we produced about 4,000 scientific publications. Half of those publications represent collaborations among disciplines— an amazing statistic that shows our investigators are working together to produce the best results.

Speaking of best results, the Leapfrog Group, a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage that works to improve healthcare quality, has again included the OSUCCC – James on its list of 65 “top hospitals.” The selection comes from the organization’s national survey of hospital performance in key areas of patient safety and quality.

Finally, the second annual Pelotonia, our grassroots bicycle tour held in August, generated $7.8 million exclusively for cancer research at the OSUCCC – James. The event attracted 4,047 riders, nearly double the number who participated in the 2009 inaugural Pelotonia. Together, the two events raised more than $12 million for cancer research here at home. We truly have reasons to celebrate.

Dispelling D' Confusion

In Dec. 2010, the Institute of Medicine announced new dietary reference intakes for vitamin D and calcium. It was the first change in these recommendations since they were first proposed in 1997.

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Molecular Matchups

Research led by scientists at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) links three molecules to a tumor-suppressor gene that is often turned off in multiple myeloma.

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Background Check

A person’s genetic background – the array of inherited genetic variations – may contribute to DNA changes that occur in tumor cells as cancer develops, an OSUCCC – James study suggests.

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Circulation Signposts

Tumor cells in the circulating blood of patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCS) of the head and neck may predict disease recurrence and reduced survival. An increased number of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) also correlates with a worse outcome.

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Bacterial Booster

OSUCCC – James researchers have shown that oncolytic viruses, which are engineered to destroy cancer cells, might be more effective against brain malignancies if equipped with an enzyme that helps them penetrate the tumor.

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Cancer Culprit

Research at the OSUCCC – James shows that loss of the NFKBIA gene promotes glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer.

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Targeted Attack

A study by researchers at the OSUCCC – James presents a rationale for treating breast cancer using two targeted agents: one that inhibits an overactive, cancer-causing pathway in cancer cells, and one that reactivates silenced tumor suppressor genes.

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Of Note

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

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Drugs on Campus

In 2003, a casual conversation between a chemist with a knack for designing new molecules and a physician-scientist treating leukemia patients sparked the development of a potential new cancer therapeutic.

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Breaking the Therapeutic Barrier

A national “call to action” against pancreatic cancer—one of the world’s deadliest malignancies—is being well-served by an ongoing expansion of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Program at The Ohio State University.

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Extended Benefits

Nadine Bowden is a young veterinarian working her way through a doctoral program at Ohio State to pursue her dream job: collaborating on preclinical studies of promising anticancer agents in transgenic mouse models.

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Bench to Bedside: From Laboratory to the Pharmacy

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignancy of plasma cells. Treatment involves chemotherapy with high-dose corticosteroids or high-dose melphalan with stem cell rescue for selected patients.

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Expediting Translation

The Medicinal Chemistry Shared Resource (MCSR) integrates synthetic and process chemistry, instrumental analysis, molecular pharmacology and other disciplines to provide medicinal chemistry support to investigators at the OSUCCC – James and other academic and commercial institutions.

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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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