ACS-IRG Luncheon

The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson hosted the 2nd Annual ACS-IRG Luncheon on June 25, 2009. Representatives of the Southeast Region, Pennsylvania Division of the American Cancer Society had an opportunity to meet this year’s recipients of the Pilot Project Awards from the Kimmel Cancer Center’s American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant, Richard G. Pestell MD., PhD Principal Investigator and Marja T. Nevalainen, MD, PhD, co-Principal Investigator. The Pilot Project recipients for 2009 are: Jonathan Brody, PhD of the Department of Surgery; Jun Li, PhD from the Department of Radiation Oncology; and Janice Walker, PhD of the Department of Pathology, Anatomy & Cell Biology. Representing the American Cancer Society were Daneen Baird, Susan Graham, and Larry Slagle.

Philadelphia Komen Race for the Cure Recap

The Philadelphia Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the CURE held their annual Mother’s Day Race on Sunday, May 10th, 2009. The Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson sponsored a booth and Team Jefferson also participated in the race. A few photos from the race below.

New Universal Breast Cancer Marker Predicts Recurrence

The marker appears to be widely applicable to all breast cancer patients, regardless of other established prognostic indicators

Dr. Michael Lisanti

Dr. Michael Lisanti

Reporting online in the American Journal of Pathology, researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have implicated the loss of a stromal protein called caveolin-1 as a major new prognostic factor in patients with breast cancer, predicting early disease recurrence, metastasis and breast cancer patient survival.

The absence of caveolin-1 in the stroma also appeared to be a marker for drug resistance in patients receiving tamoxifen, according to Michael Lisanti, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the departments of Cancer Biology, Medical Oncology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

According to Dr. Lisanti, who is also director of the Jefferson Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Center at the Kimmel Cancer Center, caveolin-1 is expressed by cells in the stroma called fibroblasts, which are present in the connective tissue surrounding cancer cells. When cancer cells arise, the fibroblasts stop making caveolin-1.

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Run 4 Your Life 5K Run/Walk

The Seventh Annual Run 4 Your Life Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Walk to benefit Prostate Cancer Research and Awareness will be happening this year on June 21st. Jefferson/KCC already have a team setup but have a long way to go to reach our goal of $1000. The standard registration fee is $25, but if you can’t attend think about supporting our team with an online donation here, or to the greater cause here.

Also: Check out our own Dr. Leonard Gomella on the “Ask the Doctor” page.

Thymoquinone Inhibits the Development of Pancreatic Cancer

An herb recently found to kill pancreatic cancer cells also appears to inhibit development of pancreatic cancer as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties, according to researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. The data were presented at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver. (Abstract #494)

Nigella sativa

Nigella sativa

Thymoquinone, the major constituent of the oil extract from a Middle Eastern herbal seed called Nigella sativa, exhibited anti-inflammatory properties that reduced the release of inflammatory mediators in pancreatic cancer cells, according to Hwyda Arafat, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Surgery at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and a member of the Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary & Related Cancers Center.

Nigella sativa seeds and oil are used in traditional medicine by many Middle Eastern and Asian countries. It helps treat a broad array of diseases, including some immune and inflammatory disorders, Dr. Arafat said. Previous studies have also shown it to have anti-cancer effects on prostate and colon cancers.

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Melanoma Monday

May is Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month, so accordingly this coming Monday is "Melanoma Monday". Although having an unfortunate name, the topic it raises is no laughing matter as skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer type with over 1 million new diagnosis in the United States each year and rising. So if you haven’t lately, take a little longer look in the mirror this weekend and use the resources below to find out more about self-examination. And if your needing a push to get out of the house and get screened, let free skin cancer screenings from Jefferson Dermatology Associates in the Philadelphia area on the 22nd (Friday) and the 27th (Wednesday) of this month be your motivation. Call 1-800-JEFF-NOW to make an appointment soon, as they are booking up quickly. For other locations, the American Academy of Dermatology has a location search on their website to find a free screening in you area.

Ladies of Port Richmond 5th Annual Breast Cancer Walk

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A reminder that The Ladies of Port Richmond will be holding their annual Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, May 17th, 2009. Registration at the walk begins at 8:30 am while the walk starts at 10:00 am. So download the registration form and the pledge form and hit the streets “to increase Breast Cancer awareness through education; and help fund research to find a Breast Cancer cure in our lifetime.”

Alex’s Lemonade Stand™ Foundation for Childhood Cancer Upcoming Events in Philadelphia

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex’s Lemonade Stand™ Foundation for Childhood Cancer has some upcoming events in the Philadelphia area. The 6th Annual Lemonade Days June 12-14th, The 4th Annual Great Chef’s Event (featuring a number of notable Philly chefs) Wednesday, June 17th, & The Childhood Cancer Symposium on Saturday, June 27th. Also, Kenny Herriot will be pedaling across the country April 27th through June 7th in The Great Lemon Ride. It isn’t to late to hold your own lemonade stand during this years Lemonade Days, or join in “fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time”.

For those of you who don’t know about the amazing Alex Scott or her lemonade stand…

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Hypofractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy Beneficial as Salvage Therapy for Recurrent Low-Grade Glioma

Hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy was well-tolerated and improved symptoms in patients with recurrent low-grade glioma, according to researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. The data were presented at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009. (Abstract #3617)

In a subgroup of patients who also received chemotherapy with their hypofractionated sterotactic radiotherapy (H-SRT) the median survival time was more than three times longer than patients who only received H-SRT alone according to Shannon Fogh, M.D., a resident in Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

The study included 22 patients with evidence of glioma recurrence. All patients were given H-SRT as salvage therapy, and nine of the patients also received chemotherapy. The most common regimen was temozolomide (Temodar).

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Vitamin K and Sorafenib Combination Demonstrated Anti-Tumor Effects in Pancreas Cancer and Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Dr. Brian Carr

Dr. Brian Carr

A combination of Sorafenib and Vitamin K had an effect in vitro on both human pancreas cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma, according to researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. Data from the two studies were presented at the AACR 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver. (Abstract #5470 and #5483)

Vitamin K1 or Vitamin K2, plus Sorafenib (Nexavar) each have shown activity against the growth of human cancer cells by inhibiting the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway according to Brian Carr, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of Medical Oncology at the Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. ERK plays a major role in cell growth of cancers.

Although Sorafenib has demonstrated success at extending survival in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, or primary liver cancer), hand-foot syndrome is a common adverse effect that affects approximately 20 percent of patients who receive the drug. It typically manifests as painful sores on the soles of patients’ feet that can prevent the patients from walking, Dr. Carr said. Profound tiredness and weight loss is also seen in at least 30 percent of patients.

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Jefferson Awarded Highest Honor for Nursing Excellence

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Center City Campus, has been granted MAGNET® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) MAGNET Recognition Program®. ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.

Less than five percent of the hospitals in the nation have achieved the sought-after MAGNET recognition which honors superior patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

Highly regarded as the “gold standard” of nursing excellence, MAGNET recognition provides a benchmark by which consumers and patients can measure the quality of care they can expect to receive at a hospital.  Hospitals that achieve MAGNET recognition are associated with improved patient care outcomes as well as attracting top notch physicians, nurses and healthcare professionals.

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Therapeutic Effect of Imatinib Improved with Addition of Chloroquine

Dr. Bruno Calabretta

Dr. Bruno Calabretta

The therapeutic effects of the blockbuster leukemia drug imatinib may be enhanced when given along with a drug that inhibits a cell process called autophagy, researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The cell-death effect of imatinib (Gleevec) was potentiated when chloroquine, an autophagy inhibitor, was given with imatinib for the in vitro treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cells including the CML stem cells, according to Bruno Calabretta, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Cancer Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

Autophagy is a process that allows cells to adapt to environmental stresses, and enables drug-treated CML cells to escape cell death. Imatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that suppresses proliferation and induces death of the malignant cells that cause CML. However, additional effects of the drug have not been studied in detail, according to Dr. Calabretta.

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New Therapeutic Target for Melanoma Identified

Dr. Andrew Aplin

Dr. Andrew Aplin

A protein called Mcl-1 plays a critical role in melanoma cell resistance to a form of apoptosis called anoikis, according to research published this week in Molecular Cancer Research.

The presence of Mcl-1 causes cell resistance to anoikis. This resistance to anoikis enables the melanoma cells to metastasize and survive at sites distant from the primary tumor, according to Andrew Aplin, Ph.D., an associate professor of Cancer Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and a member of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. The research was conducted at Albany Medical College in New York by Dr. Aplin and colleagues.

Mcl-1 is part of the Bcl-2 protein family, and is regulated by B-RAF proteins, which are mutated in approximately 60 percent of all human melanomas.  The Bcl-2 family includes several prosurvival proteins that are associated with the resistance of cancer cells to apoptosis, or cell death. Dr. Aplin and colleagues analyzed three candidate Bcl-2 proteins: Mcl-1, Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL.

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Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center Researchers Receive $6.7 million Grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Dr. Hallgeir Rui

Dr. Hallgeir Rui

Researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson were awarded a Susan G. Komen for the Cure Promise Grant of almost $6.7 million for five years for continued breast cancer research.

The project represents a multidisciplinary team of scientists from a consortium that also includes Walter Reed Army Medical Center and DecisionQ Inc. in Washington D.C., as well as the Windber Research Institute and MDR Global Inc. in Windber, Pa.

The principal investigator, Hallgeir Rui, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of Cancer Biology and Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. The co-principal investigator and leader of the clinical investigations associated with the project is Edith Mitchell, M.D., medical oncologist and clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University and Associate Director of Diversity Programs for the Kimmel Cancer Center.

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Cancer Programs Celebrate National Cancer Registrars Week,
April 13-17

National Cancer Registrars Week

Theme of “Cancer Registrars….Rock Solid” Emphasizes the Foundation Cancer Registrars Provide for Cancer Research, Awareness, Prevention and Quality Improvement

Cancer registrars around the world will join their colleagues and local community leaders to observe the annual National Cancer Registrars Week, April 13–17, 2009. The 2009 theme “Cancer Registrars…Rock Solid” reflects the dependable professionalism cancer registrars provide across the spectrum of cancer- related initiatives. Quality cancer data is central to the nation’s cancer fighting efforts and cancer registrars are the first link in capturing data on patients diagnosed with cancer.

Cancer registrars are data management experts in cancer treatment and research settings. They find, interpret and record a wide range of demographic and medical information on people with cancer. This information is submitted to state and national cancer registries for use in research, treatment and prevention initiatives. Cancer programs are thus able to accurately determine cancer patient populations, measure outcomes of treatment and survival, and formulate plans for quality improvement.

For more information, contact Fran Guiles at 215-955-0042 or The Oncology Data Services Department (Cancer Registry) is located at 1015 Chestnut Street, Suite 608.

pdf Governor Ed Rendell’s Proclomation

Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center Administrator Appointed President-elect of Association of Cancer Executives

Joy Soleiman

Joy Soleiman

Joy Soleiman, MPA, the Clinical Administrator for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, has been appointed president-elect of the Association of Cancer Executives.

The one-year appointment began in February at the association’s annual meeting. Ms. Soleiman will become president at the association’s annual meeting in 2010, to be held in San Diego. That is also a one-year appointment.

“It is an honor that my peers have elected me to this position,” Ms. Soleiman said. “The Association of Cancer Executives has been a valuable tool to me and many people. It strives to provide cancer executives with ample opportunities for personal education and development.

Ms. Soleiman has been a member of the Association of Cancer Executives for 15 years. She was halfway through serving a two-year term as secretary when she was appointed President-elect.

The secretary replacement is Patricia Dugan, RN, who is Administrative Director of the Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center Network.

Jefferson Breast Cancer Researcher to Receive PA Income Tax Check-Off Grant

Dr. Hallgeir Rui

Dr. Hallgeir Rui

Hallgeir Rui, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of Cancer Biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center, is one of three recipients of the Income Tax Check-Off for Breast & Cervical Cancer Research grants this year.

The $50,000 award will be used to conduct research to understand what causes the inactivation of STAT5, which is a protein that plays a role in breast cancer. According to Dr. Rui, women with inactive STAT5 protein have a seven times higher risk of death from breast cancer.

“We are truly excited to have been selected to receive this grant, especially since obtaining funding can be difficult even in the best economic times,” Dr. Rui said “STAT5 has significant clinical relevance and our laboratory has been studying its role for some time. These funds will allow us to complete the next phase of our research.”

The Income Tax Check-Off for Breast & Cervical Cancer Research is a program created by the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition that enables Pennsylvania residents to donate their state tax refunds to breast or cervical cancer research. The legislation for the program was signed in 1997. It has since raised more than $2 million for breast and cervical cancer research.

Taxpayers can donate their refunds to breast and cervical cancer research by checking line 35 on their PA 40 form.

Proepithelin Encourages Cell Growth and Migration in Prostate Cancer

Dr. Andrea Morrione

Dr. Andrea Morrione

Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University have identified a protein that appears to play a significant role in the growth and migration of prostate cancer cells, especially androgen-independent prostate cancer cells. The study was published in the American Journal of Pathology.

They also found that prostate cancer cells express more of the protein when compared to normal prostate cells, according to Andrea Morrione, Ph.D., an associate professor and director of Urology Research for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.

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Pre-emptive Treatment Helped Curtail Skin Toxicity with Panitumumab

Dr. Edith Mitchell

Dr. Edith Mitchell

With a pre-emptive, prophylactic skin regimen, patients who receive panitumumab for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer may be able to avoid some of the skin-associated toxicities, according to data presented at the 2009 American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.

Edith Mitchell, M.D., a clinical professor in the Department of Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, presented data from the study, which was the first prospective study to compare pre-emptive and reactive skin treatment for skin toxicities related to panitumumab. The study was co-led by Dr. Mitchell and Mario Lacouture, M.D., an assistant professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

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Jefferson Scientists Discover a Key Protein Regulator of Inflammation and Cell Death

Reporting in the journal Nature, researchers led by Emad Alnemri, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, discovered a key protein component involved in inflammation.

The protein, AIM2 (absent in melanoma 2), is involved in the detection and reaction to dangerous cytoplasmic DNA that is produced by infection with viral or microbial pathogens, or by tissue damage. AIM2 also appears to be a tumor suppressor, and its inactivation may play a role in the development of cancer, according to Dr. Alnemri.

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