Dr. Leonard Gomella co-chairs ASCO GU in Orlando

Dr. Leonard G. Gomella, chair of the Department of Urology and director of Clinical Affairs at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, co-chaired the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2011 Genitourinary (GU) Cancers Symposium meeting in Orlando on Feb. 17 though Feb. 19.

The “2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium: An Evidence-based Multidisciplinary Approach,” was a three-day Symposium that offered educational sessions and oral and poster abstract presentations focused on genitourinary cancers of the prostate, penis, urethra, testis, bladder and kidney.

Over 1,800 physicians, researchers, care givers and survivors attended the meeting sponsored by ASCO, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO).

Orlando, FL – 2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium – Dr. Leonard G Gomella, co-chair the 2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium (GU) meeting at the Marriott World Center on Thursday, February 17, 2011. Photo by © Todd Buchanan

Dr. Gomella’s talk during the opening remarks was titled “Decision Making Based on Predictors of Clinical Progression.”

To learn more about this symposium, visit http://gucasymposium.org/Home.aspx



Shifting a paradigm: A molecular approach to staging colorectal cancer

A quantitative, molecular analysis of lymph nodes in patients deemed colorectal cancer-free was found to be an effective predictor of recurrence, according to a study from researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and published online Feb 9. in Clinical Cancer Research.

Recurrence occurs in about 25 percent of node-negative patients (pN0), suggesting that occult metastases escaped detection, be it imaging modalities or histopathology.

To better predict recurrence and accurately stage these patients, Terry Hyslop, Ph.D. and Scott A. Waldman, M.D., Ph.D. of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics of Thomas Jefferson University and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, and colleagues explored a novel molecular approach, using the biomarker GUCY2C for metastatic colorectal cancer cells.

Using 291 colorectal cancer patients who were node-negative, the researchers analyzed lymph nodes by histopathology and GUCY2C quantitative qRT-PCR. They were followed for a median of 24 months and categorized as having either low, intermediate or high tumor burdens.

The researchers had previously concluded that expression of GUCY2C increased risk of recurrence. However, it is apparent that nodal metastases do not assure recurrence; rather they indicate risk.

The researchers found that patients with greater occult tumor burden have a greater risk of recurrence compared to patients with less burden. Thus, molecular tumor burden in lymph nodes are independently associated with time to recurrence and disease-free survival in patients with node-negative colorectal cancer.

“This approach can improve prognostic risk stratification and chemotherapeutic allocation in pN0 patients,” the authors write. “More generally, this study reveals a previously unappreciated paradigm to advance cancer staging, clinically translating emerging molecular platforms that complement histopathology, laboratory diagnostic, and imaging modalities.”



Researchers Say Stress Fuels Cancer Growth, Provide Genetic Evidence That Antioxidants Can Help Treat It

Researchers from Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center have genetic evidence suggesting the antioxidant drugs currently used to treat lung disease, malaria and even the common cold can also help prevent and treat cancers because they fight against mitochondrial oxidative stress—a culprit in driving tumor growth.

For the first time, the researchers show that loss of the tumor suppressor protein Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) induces mitochondrial oxidative stress in the stromal micro-environment, a process that fuels cancer cells in most common types of breast cancer.

“Now we have genetic proof that mitochondrial oxidative stress is important for driving tumor growth,” said lead researcher Michael P. Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cancer biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. “This means we need to make anti-cancer drugs that specially target this type of oxidative stress. And there are already antioxidant drugs out there on the market as dietary supplements, like N-acetyl cysteine.”

These findings were published in the online February 15 issue of Cancer Biology & Therapy.

Lisanti’s lab previously discovered Cav-1 as a biomarker that functions as a tumor suppressor and is the single strongest predictor of breast cancer patient outcome. For example, if a woman has triple negative breast cancer and is Cav-1 positive in the stroma,

her survival is greater than 75 percent at 12 years, versus less than 10 percent at 5 years if she doesn’t have the Cav-1 protein, according to Dr. Lisanti.

The researchers also established Cav-1’s role in oxidative stress and tumor growth; however, where that stress originates and its mechanism(s) were unclear.

To determine this, Jefferson researchers applied a genetically tractable model for human cancer associated fibroblasts in this study using a targeted sh-RNA knock-down approach. Without the Cav-1 protein, researchers found that oxidative stress in cancer associated fibroblasts leads to mitochondrial dysfunction in stromal fibroblasts.  In this context, oxidative stress and the resulting autophagy (producton of recycled nutrients) in the tumor-microenvironment function as metabolic energy or “food” to “fuel” tumor growth.

The researchers report that the loss of Cav-1 increases mitochondrial oxidative stress in the tumor stroma, increasing both tumor mass and tumor volume by four-fold, without any increase in tumor angiogenesis.

Michael Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D. of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson

“Antioxidants have been associated with cancer reducing effects—beta carotene, for example—but the mechanisms, the genetic evidence, has been lacking,” Dr. Lisanti said. “This study provides the necessary genetic evidence that reducing oxidative stress in the body will decrease tumor growth.”

Currently, anti-cancer drugs targeting oxidative stress are not used because is it commonly thought they will reduce the effectiveness of certain chemotherapies, which increase oxidative stress.

“We are not taking advantage of the available drugs that reduce oxidative stress and autophagy, including metformin, chloroquine and N-acetyl cysteine,” Dr. Lisanti said. “Now that we have genetic proof that oxidative stress and resulting autophagy are important for driving tumor growth, we should re-consider using antioxidants and autophagy inhibitors as anti-cancer agents.”

The diabetic drug metformin and chloroquine, which is used for the prevention and treatment of malaria, prevent a loss of Cav-1 in cancer associated fibroblasts (which is due to oxidative stress), functionally cutting off the fuel supply to cancer cells.

This research also has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of triple negative and tamoxifen-resistance in ER-positive breast caner patients, as well as other epithelial cancers, such as prostate cancers.

“Undoubtedly, this new genetically tractable system for cancer associated fibroblasts will help identify other key genetic ‘factors’ that can block tumor growth,” Dr. Lisanti said.



New Tumor Tracking Technique for Radiotherapy Spares Healthy Tissue, Could Improve Cancer Treatment

Medical physicists at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center have demonstrated a new real-time tumor tracking technique that can help minimize the amount of radiation delivered to surrounding healthy tissue in a patient—up to 50 percent less in some cases—and maximize the dose the tumor receives.

Respiratory and cardiac motions have been found to displace and deform tumors in the lung, pancreas, liver, breast, and other organs. Because of this, radiation oncologists must expand the margin during radiotherapy, and consequently a large volume of healthy tissue is irradiated, and critical organs adjacent to the tumor are sometimes difficult to spare.

In an effort to shrink that margin, Jefferson researchers developed a new 4D, robotic technique that better predicts and continuously tracks tumors during radiotherapy, preventing unnecessary amounts of radiation from being administered to unnecessary areas. Thus, critical organs and tissues are spared; cancer treatment is potentially improved; and side effects are decreased.

Published in the online February 1 issue of Physics in Medicine and Biology journal, the study was co-authored by Ivan Buzurovic, Ph.D., a medical physics resident and researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, and Yan Yu, Ph.D., director of Medical Physics at Thomas Jefferson University.

In this technique, the robotic system—programmed with the proposed algorithms developed by Jefferson researchers—is automatically adjusted so that the position of the tumor remains stationary during treatment.

“The advantage of this novel approach in radiation therapy is that the system is able to predict and track tumor motion in three-dimensional space,” said Dr. Buzurovic. The technique can compensate both tumor motion and residual errors during patient treatment, he added.

When active tracking was applied and tumor motion was up to 1.5 cm, irradiated planning target volume (PTV) was 20 to 30 percent less for medium size tumors and more than 50 percent for small size tumors. For tumor motion range up to 2.5 cm, irradiated PTV was two times smaller when tracking is applied.

“The proposed robotic system needs 2 seconds to start tracking with the high precision level. The tracking error was less than 0.5 mm for regular breathing patterns and less than 1 mm for highly irregular respiration,” said Dr. Buzurovic. “Prediction algorithms were developed to predict tumor motion and to compensate errors due to delay in the system response.”

The study findings suggest that the use of tumor tracking technology during radiotherapy treatment for lung cancer would result in significant reduction in dose to the healthy tissue, potentially decreasing the probability or severity of side effects, co-author Dr. Yu said.

With this new technique, radiation oncologists would be able to administer more radiation and faster to the tumor than conventional methods, said Adam P. Dicker, M.D, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University.

“If we shrink our margin by this new robotic technique, then we can bring larger doses to tumors,” Dr. Dicker said. “And a higher dose means a better cure in lung cancer, for instance.”

Researchers from Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C., were also involved in the study.

The researchers’ method, demonstrated in extensive computer simulation, can be applied to two commercially available robotic treatment couches.



Dr. Eric Wickstrom Elected AAAS Fellow

Dr. Eric Wickstrom

Dr. Eric Wickstrom

Eric Wickstrom, Ph.D., of Jefferson Medical College, Kimmel Cancer Center, recognized for creating new methods to see cancer gene activity from outside the body

Exemplary work in genetic imaging and therapy have earned  Eric Wickstrom, Ph.D., a Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, recognition by his peers as a 2010 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

AAAS is honoring Dr. Wickstrom for his “distinguished contributions to genetic imaging and genetic therapy by design and application of modified oligonucleotides.”

Dr. Wickstrom will be recognized, along with the other 502 members elected, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2011 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on February 19.  A tradition that began in 1874, AAAS names Fellows every year for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

As part of the Jefferson Medical College and Kimmel Cancer Center, Dr. Wickstrom, along with his co-workers, create new methods to see cancer gene activity from outside the body, and to capture cancer cells flowing through the blood.

More specifically, his laboratory is developing cancer gene-specific oligonucleotides and siRNAs against cancer genes in the signal transduction pathway for use as diagnostics and therapeutics for cancers.

This year’s AAAS Fellows will also be announced in the AAAS “News & Notes” section of the journal Science on January 28, 2011.

AAAS Fellows elected in previous years include Charlene J. Williams, Ph.D., of the Department of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

Media Only Contact: Steve Graff
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
Phone: (215) 955-6300



Giovanni M. Pitari, M.D., Ph.D. receives award from the American Institute for Cancer Research

Giovanni M. Pitari, M.D., Ph.D., has received an award from the American Institute for Cancer Research to support his research project entitled ‘Therapeutic Synergy between Dietary Calcium and Bacterial Enterotoxins for the Prevention and Treatment of Colon Cancer’. The award provides research funding directed toward discovering innovative therapeutic modalities for cancer prevention and cure. Dr. Pitari is Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and Director of the Laboratory of Investigative Medicine at TJU.



Local ACS Staff Visits KCC

Left to Right: Nancy Hodgson, RN, PhD, Kate Mastalski, Stefanie Washburn, Angie Smith, Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH, Jan Blanas, Meredith Gavin, Betsy Harbison, Larry Slagle, Lauren McShea, Ruth Ann Dailey, ACS Regional Vice President, John Pascal, PhD, Jonathan Brody, PhD

Left to Right: Nancy Hodgson, RN, PhD, Kate Mastalski, Stefanie Washburn, Angie Smith, Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH, Jan Blanas, Meredith Gavin, Betsy Harbison, Larry Slagle, Lauren McShea, Ruth Ann Dailey, ACS Regional Vice President, John Pascal, PhD, Jonathan Brody, PhD

The Philadelphia Office of the American Cancer Society held a ‘brown bag’ luncheon for its staff at KCC on December 14, 2010. Past and present recipients of Pilot Project Awards from the ACS Institutional Research Grant at TJU shared their research experiences with the ACS staff. After lunch the visitors enjoyed a tour of Dr. John Pascal’s laboratory.



2010 Men’s Event Recap

On Tuesday, November, 16th 2010, the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson held the Second Annual Men’s Event at the Prime Rib Restaurant in Philadelphia. The Men’s Event was emceed by Comedian Joe Piscopo.

The inaugural Kimmel Cancer Center Men’s Event “Man of the Year Award”  was awarded to Mr. Kenneth Gamble, a world-renowned Grammy winning lyricist, composer, producer and one of the architects of what is referred to as “The Sound of Philadelphia”. Mr. Gamble was chosen for his humanitarian and civic efforts including his longstanding support of cancer research and his leadership in the African American community, a group that particularly is hard hit by prostate cancer. The Lead Sponsor (for the second year) was Bill Frankel of Frankel Enterprises.

EVENT CO-CHAIRS:
Kenneth Boone
Trustee, Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Pappas
C.E.O., TNP Holdings, Inc.
Leonard Gomella, M.D.,
Chair, Dept. of Urology,
Thomas Jefferson University
Richard Pestell, M.D., Ph.D.,
Director, Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson
Don Marrandino
Eastern Division President,
Harrah’s Entertainment
Neal Rodin, Managing Director
International Finance Company
Peter Madden
Founder and President, AgileCat
Jon Runyan
Congressman-Elect
14-Year NFL Veteran
Mark Nicoletti
Principal, PSDC
Garth Weldon
Managing Partner, The Prime Rib



Loss of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor pushes prostate cancer into lethal stage, say Kimmel Cancer Center researchers

Dr. Karen Knudsen

Dr. Karen Knudsen

Their study, the first to uncover a new role for this powerful gene, may lead to clinical “barcoding” of a patient’s prostate cancer to help direct therapy

(PHILADELPHIA) – The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene (Rb), long thought to protect cells against cancer development, appears to play a very different role in prostate cancer, say scientists at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.  As reported today, disruption of this gene now appears to be a major factor contributing to therapeutic failure.

Read more…



2010 Breast Health International Breast Cancer Consensus Conference

Drs. Joseph A. Sparano, Lawrence J Solin, Juan A. Palazzo, Lajos Puztai, Jorge Reis-Filho, Andrew D. Seidman, Harry Bartelink, Roland Holland, Ian S. Fentiman, Emiel J.T. Rutgers, Shahla Masood, Peter J. Pressman, Blake Cady,  Gordon F. Schwartz,  Beryl McCormick, Harold J. Burstein, Luigi Cataliotti, Kevin Hughes

Drs. Joseph A. Sparano, Lawrence J Solin, Juan A. Palazzo, Lajos Puztai, Jorge Reis-Filho, Andrew D. Seidman, Harry Bartelink, Roland Holland, Ian S. Fentiman, Emiel J.T. Rutgers, Shahla Masood, Peter J. Pressman, Blake Cady, Gordon F. Schwartz, Beryl McCormick, Harold J. Burstein, Luigi Cataliotti, Kevin Hughes

On Friday, October 22 through Sunday, October 24, 2010, Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center co-sponsored with the Breast Health International  a Breast Cancer Consensus Conference.  The conference brought leading breast cancer experts from around the world together to discuss Adjuvant Therapy in Stage I carcinoma of the breast: the influence of multigene analyses and molecular phenotyping.



Ladies of Port Richmond Coninue Support Of The Kimmel Cancer Center

The Ladies of Port Richmond presented the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson with a check for $40,000. This is the sixth year in a row that the Ladies of Port Richmond have support breast cancer research at the Kimmel Cancer Center. The Ladies of Port Richmond work diligently to raise this money and a plaque was placed in their honor on the first floor of the Bluemle Life Science Building to recognize their efforts.



Breast Health International Held Annual Black Tie Gala

Several Thomas Jefferson University/KCC Faculty and Family Members Attended the Event.

Dr. and Mrs. Rodwige Desnoyers, Dr. Michael Ramirez, Dr. Rani Anne, Ms. Nora Homsi, Mr. Tim Pestell, Dr. & Mrs. Richard Pestell Mr. Joseph (Joh) Rosamilia(seated) and Dr. Sun Yong Lee (seated).

Breast Health International, a division of the Foundation for Breast & Prostate Health held it’s annual Black Tie Gala honoring Neiman Marcus and benefiting breast cancer research and development. The event was held on Friday, October 29. 2010 at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Downtown Philadelphia. Music was provided by the Eddie Bruce Band. A silent auction was held.

Want more info? View Website » http://www.fbph.com

Recap and Gallery Available Here at the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Philadelphia Website.



The CKC United (Cool Kidz Club) Dontates To The KCC Quality Of Life Fund

CKC United (Cool Kidz Club) began as a group of like-minded individuals and friends who met from within the jamtronica music scene. The group decided that they wanted to give something back to the community and realized this dream could become a reality. CKC United presented Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of Kimmel Cancer Center with a check for $10,000 for the Quality of Life Fund. This fund helps our cancer patients with financial needs to ensure that their course of treatment is not interrupted.



Thomas Jefferson University Awarded Institutional Research Grant By American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society has awarded a three year Institutional Research Grant to Thomas Jefferson University, Dr. Richard Pestell, PI and Dr. Marja Nevalainen, co-PI. This grant will allow the annual award of pilot project grants to beginning investigators who have no national peer-reviewed research grant support. These small grants will support beginning investigators in initiating cancer research projects that can generate preliminary results enabling them to compete successfully for national research grants in all areas of cancer research. Beginning cancer investigators (within 6 years of initial appointment) at Thomas Jefferson University, The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center/Christiana Care Health System, The Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, The Nemours Center for Childhood Cancer Research, and the University of Delaware will be eligible to apply.



Nobel Laureate Dr. Barry Marshall Accepts Faculty Appointment To Cancer Biology And The Kimmel Cancer Center


Dr. Barry  Marshall, winner of the 2005 Noble Prize for Medicine, accepted an Adjunct Professorship in the Department of Cancer Biology and the Kimmel Cancer Center of Thomas Jefferson University in November of 2009. Read more…



Dr. Mitchell & The KCC Host A Program On Triple Negative Breast Cancer Awareness

On Saturday, October 9th, 2010, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell and the Kimmel Cancer Center hosted a special program about triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).  TNBC accounts for approximately 15% to 20% of breast cancer diagnoses but has twice the rate of prevalence among young women, particularly pre-menopausal African-American women. This program is designed to increase your awareness and understanding of TNBC, the risks, disparities, and learn about developing strategies and methods to address the challenges of treatment.



Dr. Pestell and the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to be honored by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure

pestell

Dr. Richard G. Pestell

Dr. Richard Pestell, Director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, will receive the “Light of Life” award at the 2010 Susan G. Komen Pink Tie Ball on Saturday, October 16.  Also that evening the “Beacon of Hope” award to the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital  will be accepted by Thomas J. Lewis, President and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. For more information about the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Philadelphia Pink Tie Ball – please see  web page or pdf file.



CancerCare Awards Dr. Edith Mitchell With Physician Of The Year Award

The national nonprofit CancerCare presented its Physician of the Year Awards to two nationally recognized leaders in oncology and cancer patient care during its annual “Tribute to Our Friends” awards ceremony, held on September 30 at CancerCare’s national office in New York City.

On of the “Physician of the Year Awards” was presented top Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, MD, FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Dr. Mitchell specializes in gastrointestinal malignancies and was honored for her long-time participation in CancerCare’s free Connect® Education Workshops, which provide thousands of cancer patients, caregivers and health care professionals with the latest news in cancer research and treatment from the nation’s leading experts.

Dr. Hope S. Rugo, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Director of Breast Oncology Clinical Trials Program at the University of California Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco was also honored with the Physician of the Year Award.

For more info click here.



“How & Why” Cancer Cells Eat Us Alive

Four key studies now propose a new theory about how cancer cells grow and survive, allowing researchers to design better diagnostics and therapies to target high-risk cancer patients.  These studies were conducted by a large team of researchers at Thomas Jefferson University’s Kimmel Cancer Center.
Read more…



The Ramblewood Country Club Hosted John Runyan’s 2010 “Score For The Cure” Golf Tournament

flemings

Fleming's Steakhouse -- one of the fine sponsors of this event.

The Ramblewood  Country Club in Mount Laurel, NJ hosted John Runyan’s 2010 “Score For The Cure” Golf Tournament on September 21st 2010. The proceeds benefited the Kimmel Cancer Center of Jefferson. Dietz & Watson was the Title Sponsor of the event. This  marks the 6th year of the event which has raised nearly $1,000,000 in the fight against prostate cancer.