Frontiers Winter 2014

A Summer of Progress

A beautiful autumn followed a summer of successes at the OSUCCC – James.

Our fifth annual Pelotonia bicycling event, held in August, attracted a record 6,723 riders from 41 states and nine countries, plus 3,451 virtual riders and more than 2,300 volunteers.

Every dollar raised by Pelotonia supports research at the OSUCCC – James. That work is furthered by outstanding recruits such as Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, whom we recruited from MD Anderson Cancer Center to serve as director of the Division of Surgical Oncology and as chief of surgical services at the OSUCCC – James.

This issue of Frontiers includes a story about Vinay Puduvalli, MBBS, our new director of the Division of Neuro-Oncology. Dr. Puduvalli specializes in treating gliomas and other primary brain tumors. His experience and success in patient care, clinical trials, and basic and translational research make him an outstanding addition to our faculty.

Read here also about Matthew Ringel, MD, and his collaborators who have received an $11.3 million, five-year renewal of their Program Project Grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to help meet the growing challenge of thyroid cancer. The NCI has also awarded Matt a prestigious Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for thyroid cancer. This is a collaborative grant with MD Anderson Cancer Center. The SPORE is centered at Ohio State with Matt as principal investigator. This issue’s cover story describes progress by OSUCCC – James researchers in understanding inflammation and cancer, work that could lead to new approaches for preventing and treating malignancies.

In August, we mourned the passing of Bertha A. Bouroncle, MD, a pioneer in Ohio State cancer research. In 1958, Dr. Bouroncle first identified the malignancy now called hairy cell leukemia and later helped develop an effective therapy for it. With her passing we lost a great scholar and friend and a caring physician.

The caring and commitment of our nursing team was recently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with their highly prestigious Magnet® designation. The award recognizes quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Only 392 hospitals out of more than 6,000 across the United States have earned Magnet status. This was a well-deserved honor for all our James nurses, who work daily toward achieving our vision of a cancer-free world.

The Supreme Court Gene-Patenting Decision Has Far-Reaching Consequences

On June 13, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that naturally occurring DNA cannot be subject to patent.

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Clinical Implications

CLL specialist at the OSUCCC – James. The Ohio State co-leader of the MCL study, which involved 18 sites, was Kristie Blum, MD, associate professor in the Division of Hematology and head of the OSUCCC – James lymphoma program.

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Gene Enabler

In an unexpected finding, scientists have linked the activation of a stress gene in immune-system cells to breast cancer metastasis and patient outcome.

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Anticancer Peptides

OSUCCC – James researchers led a study focused on the HER1/EGFR receptor as a target for peptide vaccine and therapeutic agents.

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MicroRNA Tumor-Suppressor

A study led by OSUCCC – James researchers found that microRNA-486 (miR-486) directly targets the insulin growth-factor pathway, which is important for cell survival and proliferation. Alterations in the pathway are believed to play an early role in tumor initiation and progression.

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Sarcoma Suppressor

OSUCCC – James researchers have discovered a novel mechanism responsible for the loss of a critical tumor-suppressor gene in rhabdomyosarcoma and other soft-tissue sarcomas.

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An experimental drug in early development for aggressive brain tumors can cross the blood-brain tumor barrier, kill tumor cells and block the growth of tumor blood vessels, according to a study led 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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A Wound That Never Heals

A cut on the finger oozes blood on the outside; inside, it initiates an acute inflammation response. Macrophages move to the injured area and release chemical messages — cytokines and chemokines — such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1), platelet-activating factor and prostaglandin.

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A Personal Vision

Vinay Puduvalli’s career trek from medical school in his native India to director of the Division of Neuro-Oncology at The Ohio State University was born of biological intrigue and patient compassion.

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Seeking Answers for Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer incidence in the United States is rising at the fastest rate of all solid tumors, producing an increasingly important public health problem.

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Bench to Bedside: From the Laboratory to the Pharmacy

Regional lymph nodes (LNs) are the most frequent site of melanoma spread. The presence of tumor cells in LNs, if left untreated, can result in disease progression and an increased risk of death.

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Treating Oncologic Emergencies

The James Cancer Emergency Department (ED) will be contiguous with the traditional Ohio State Wexner Medical Center ED. “It will be among the first fully integrated cancer EDs in the nation,” says Richard Goldberg, MD, physician-in-chief at the OSUCCC – James.

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Need to Know

The Block family of Columbus established the award to honor the memory of their parents, Maxine and Herbert J. Block, who both died of cancer.

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