Cancer Research Blog

Bringing You the Latest in the Search For a Cure

Month: June 2014

Grantee Spotlight: Shawna Hudson, Ph.D. – Helping Cancer Survivors EXCEL

Access to care for cancer disparity populations, such as the elderly and racial/ethnic groups, is improving when it comes to treating their primary cancer. But, when it comes to follow-up care or prevention of secondary cancers, these and other patients continue to fall through the cracks. “Cancer survivors do not always receive screenings at recommended intervals nor comprehensive chronic disease management.” That is why medical sociologist Shawna Hudson, Ph.D., is trying to find ways to make these patients more aware of the need to stay in touch with their physicians and have regularly scheduled tests to check whether their cancer has returned.

Hudson is Associate Director for Research for the Division of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in Somerset, New Jersey. Her research focuses on disparities in cancer treatment and screenings in primary care settings, as well as organizational factors in primary care practices that facilitate increased use of evidence-based guidelines.

Grantee Spotlight: Beatriz M. Carreno, Ph.D. – Seeking a Vaccine to Cure Melanoma

For the past 30 years, the number of cases of melanoma/skin cancer has been on the rise. While less common among darker-complexioned people, it is often detected in those populations at advanced stages when it is more difficult to treat. Despite the advent of new treatments, metastatic melanoma remains an incurable malignancy.

At the Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, MO, immunologist Beatriz M. Carreno, Ph.D., is studying the use of vaccines as a potential cure for metastatic melanoma under an NCI/CRCHD R21 Grant. Carreno is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Pathology and Immunology.

Grantee Spotlight: Manuel L. Penichet, M.D., Ph.D. – Reprogramming the Immune System to Kill Cancer

Dr. Manuel L. Penichet’s journey through the galaxy of the human body’s immune system orbits around the research and development of what he one day hopes will lead to new cancer treatments. He is aiming to genetically engineer antibodies, that can be used to directly target and eliminate cancer cells and also stimulate the body’s immune system to act on its own to fight and destroy cancer.

Penichet, a former CRCHD CURE Career Development Award (K01) trainee and NCI R01 grantee, is a Professor of Surgery, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).

2013 Awardees: Request for Proposals for Pilot Collaborations with Low- and Mid-Income Countries (LMICs) in Global Cancer Research or Global Health Research at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), Center for Global Health (CGH) in collaboration with the Office of Cancer Centers, is pleased to announce the 2013 awardees of the Request for Proposals for Pilot Collaborations with Low- and Mid-Income Countries (LMICs) in Global Cancer Research or Global Health Research at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers.

In 2013, CGH and the Office of Cancer Centers developed a funding opportunity to promote research collaborations between NCI-Designated Cancer Centers with institutions in LMICs to stimulate cancer research pilot programs  and expand the reach of Cancer Centers in international settings. The scope of these pilot proposals was broad, and included a range of research projects, trainings, advanced technologies, development of clinical research networks, and other focus areas that support the development of cancer research capacity in LMICs.

CGH’s Third Year with NCI: Progress, Partnerships, & Possibilities

The Center for Global Health (CGH) is embarking on its third year within the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and I am pleased with the extraordinary progress and achievements made by our dedicated staff members.  CGH has established new, and strengthened ongoing, initiatives and programs with great success, including the regional Leadership Forums for Cancer Control Planning, the United States – Latin America Cancer Research Network, and the regional Grant Writing Workshops.  We have also developed several funding opportunities in collaboration with partners across NIH and our stakeholders.  I feel that one of our greatest accomplishments is the partnerships we have forged across the globe to support mutual interests in cancer research and help advance the worldwide fight against cancer.

Our newly redesigned website features the CGH Spotlight, a blog forum for CGH staff members to share stories and information about CGH events, news, and happenings. We have also enhanced our site navigation and overall content to tell a more holistic story about who we are, what we do, and the importance of supporting global health.

Grantee Spotlight: Elisa Rodriguez, Ph.D., M.S. – Community-based Education and Outreach Can Increase Biospecimen Donations among Hispanics and African Americans

The interest in genomic research to support the development of targeted medical therapies that are more likely to be effective for a particular person has garnered increased attention in cancer research, and increasingly in the area of cancer disparities research. As a result, investigators are interested in collecting biospecimens for genomic studies from various population groups. However, biospecimens from diverse racial/ethnic populations are still underrepresented in biobanks.

At Buffalo’s Roswell Park Cancer Institute, CRCHD grantee and sociobehavioral scientist Elisa M. Rodriguez, Ph.D., M.S., is collaborating with other cancer scientists and community members to test the feasibility of community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches to engaging Hispanics, African Americans, and the medically underserved in the Buffalo, NY area in biospecimen donation for cancer research.

Grantee Spotlight: Kurt Richard Weiss, M.D. – From Osteosarcoma Survivor to Osteosarcoma Researcher

Kurt Richard Weiss, M.D., was only 15 years old when he was diagnosed with metastatic osteosarcoma of the right tibia after complaining of leg pain at football practice. His leg was eventually amputated after failed bone grafts and 25 surgeries. Despite chemotherapy and surgical removal of the metastatic cancer from his lungs, Weiss’ prognosis appeared dismal when surgeons found cancer in his lungs a second time. “It was as bad as it gets,” says Weiss. He vividly remembers receiving last rites by a Catholic priest at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Fortunately, Eugenie Kleinerman, M.D. had just pioneered a novel treatment in her laboratory at MD Anderson. She had developed the immunotherapy agent, MEPACT (mifamurtide), to destroy drug-resistant bone tumor cells that had spread to the lungs in children. Weiss was Kleinerman’s 18th patient in the Phase II clinical trial of MEPACT and miraculously recovered. Kleinerman’s technique was expanded to a national Phase III trial, sponsored by the Children’s Oncology Group. The drug resulted in the first improvement in long-term survival of children with osteosarcoma in more than 20 years.

July Spotlight: Cancer Awareness Highlights

In July, CRCHD joins the rest of the nation in supporting Sarcoma Awareness Month. Sarcoma is a rare group of malignant tumors found in soft tissue and bone, accounting for one percent of all cancer diagnoses. Although incidence is relatively low compared to other cancers, it is still more commonly found in adolescents and young adults. According to SEER data, among children under the age of 20, about five children out of every million will be diagnosed with sarcoma every year.

Visit the links below to learn more about sarcoma:

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