Frontiers Winter 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.


This autumn the question again arose in the media about whether thyroid-cancer patients just treated with a radioactive isotope of iodine pose a hazard to those around them. Should those individuals be quarantined before returning home following treatment?

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Put to the Test

For the second time within 2½ years, an experimental drug created by cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James is being tested in a clinical trial.

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Sleepers Awake

The recovery time and cost of brain-tumor surgery might be reduced if surgery is performed while patients are awake during part of the procedure, a study at the OSUCCC – James suggests.

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Super Substance

Researchers at the OSUCCC – James have discovered how a substance produced when eating broccoli and Brussels sprouts can block the proliferation of cancer cells.

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Dosing by the Numbers

There is no straightforward way to determine the optimal dose level and treatment schedules for high-dose radiation therapies such as stereotactic therapy, used to treat brain and lung cancer, or high-dose brachytherapy for treating prostate and other cancers.

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In the Loop

Cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James have discovered a type of gene regulation and DNA behavior in breast cancer cells that may offer insight about environmental exposure to estrogen-like compounds.

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Molecular Mayhem

Researchers at the OSUCCC – James have identified an experimental agent that targets chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and perhaps other proliferative disorders of lymphocytes.

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Of Note

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

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United Front

Twenty years ago, oncologists treated breast cancer as if it were one disease, with some patients responding better to therapy than others.

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Small Science

Researchers in several colleges at The Ohio State University are teaming up to apply nanotechnology to improve the detection and treatment of cancer.

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Dissecting the Bucket Brigade

When researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology isolated and cloned the gene responsible for retinoblastoma in 1986, it was a stunning breakthrough.

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Bench to Bedside: From the Laboratory to the Pharmacy

Lenalidomide belongs to class of compounds called immunomodulatory drugs. It was derived from thalidomide and selected for clinical development after it was found to be more stable and 50,000-fold more potent at inhibiting tumor-necrosis factor alpha than thalidomide.

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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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