Frontiers Winter 2012

Cancer Care Past, Future, Present

Many research-based advances in cancer care have been made since the signing of the National Cancer Act 40 years ago, and they have steadily improved survivorship rates and quality of life for survivors and their families.

Since 1971, the number of survivors has increased nearly four-fold, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) reports that 68 percent of the approximately 12 million adult cancer survivors in the United States today are living five or more years after initial diagnosis, compared with just 50 percent four decades ago. Moreover, the AACR says some 15 percent were diagnosed 20 or more years ago.

Our cover story for this issue of Frontiers examines national progress in cancer survivorship, including a relatively new definition of the concept and a clinical approach to cancer that has evolved from an almost exclusive focus on treatment to a full continuum of care that integrates survivorship as an essential component. The story also touches on survivorship research at Ohio State that is designed to improve quality of life by reducing stress and clinical depression.

We describe our commitment to P4 medicine in the story “A Quiet Evolution.” We believe this approach to cancer care will further improve outcomes and quality of life through its emphasis on prediction, prevention, personalization of therapy and greater patient participation in healthcare decisions.

Finally, our story “Foreign Occupiers” presents some of the research under way at Ohio State to understand and halt one of the most intractable challenges in present-day oncology: metastatic cancer, which is responsible for about 90 percent of cancer deaths and often causes enormous suffering.

These stories reflect just some of our exciting efforts to raise the threshold of hope for patients and their families and friends as we work together to create a cancer-free world. 

Ready for Prime Time

When practicing oncologists make treatment decisions, they use their clinical skills to assess patients for their robustness, comorbidities and ability to tolerate treatment, and they size-up the tumor by staging and grading it.

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Adverse Interaction

A multiple myeloma study at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) unexpectedly showed that lenalidomide interacts with a protein in cells, affecting the drug’s dosage level.

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Encouraging Combination

Researchers at Ohio State have learned through a clinical trial that a type of gene therapy is safe for treating a deadly brain cancer, even when combined with radiation therapy.

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Promising Approach

Research suggests that blocking cancer cells’ access to cholesterol may offer a new strategy for treating glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer, and perhaps other malignancies.

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Two for One

Researchers have discovered a fluorescence microscopy technique for simultaneously visualizing gene number and protein expression in individual cells.

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Gender Difference

Men are three times more likely than women to develop a common form of skin cancer, and a study by researchers at the OSUCCC – James may help explain why. The investigators found that male mice had lower levels of an important skin antioxidant than female mice and higher levels of certain cancer-linked inflammatory cells.

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Hereditary Cancer Syndrome

Ohio State University researchers have discovered a hereditary cancer syndrome that predisposes certain people to a melanoma of the eye, along with lung cancer, brain cancer and possibly other cancers.

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Of Note

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

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Survivorship 2012

When Joe Flynn, DO, MPH, considers cancer survivorship statistics since the National Cancer Act was signed in December 1971, he thinks of his mother.

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Foreign Occupiers

Metastatic tumors cause the vast majority of cancer deaths. Bone metastases are particularly debilitating. OSUCCC – James researchers are working to understand how they happen and how to block them.

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A Quiet Evolution

Recent and emerging technologies and several decades of research are transforming the practice of medicine from the primarily disease-based care of today to a wellness-based care model of the future.

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Pelotonia "High-Risk, High-Reward" Research Projects for 2011

Six teams of scientists at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) are each receiving two-year, $100,000 Pelotonia Research Awards to fund “high-risk, high-reward” research projects.

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Bench to Bedside: From the Laboratory to the Pharmacy

More than 90 percent of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) overexpress the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, or HER1).

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Unraveling Phytochemical Quandaries

The Nutrient and Phytochemical Analytic Shared Resource (NPASR) provides the OSUCCC – James and other investigators with expert bioanalytical method development and quantitative analysis of phytonutrients and their metabolites.

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The New James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

Demand for cancer care is growing, and expected to continue with a projected increase in new cancer cases nationally of 45 percent – from 1.6 million in 2010 to 2.3 million by 2030.

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Need to Know

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

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