Thank you to the faculty and staff who were able to join us for our semi-annual Town Hall meeting earlier this week. This forum is important and allows Abe Lopman, Cathy Lyons, and myself to give you updates on patient care in Smilow Cancer Hospital and at our eight Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers.
I was pleased to be able to report so much positive progress to you, including the submission of our Cancer Center Support Grant to the National Cancer Institute for review; an increase in therapeutic accrual to clinical trials to 474 for the 2012 fiscal year, and a projected 536 for the 2012 calendar year based on our first nine months of data; the redesign of research space at the Cancer Biology Institute on the West Campus, which will now pave the way for 150 new scientists in 10 labs over the next three years; and an 88% growth in oncology services operating gain for Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Over the next year, we will continue to focus our efforts on our HCAHPS Scores, particularly improvement in communication with doctors and nurses, noise in inpatient areas, and responsiveness of staff. We score well on discharge information. Cathy Lyons and her team are also investing time and resources on decreasing our incidence of Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSI) and have implemented several training programs and procedures to decrease the number of CLABSIs.
We were pleased to have Jennifer Kapo, MD, Chief of Palliative Care, join us to provide an overview of her goals and vision for the inpatient and outpatient palliative care program. Dr. Kapo has worked closed with Dr. Larry Solomon and Leslie Blatt, APRN to build on the efforts in palliative care and pain management at Smilow and is available for consults in the inpatient units and outpatient clinics in Smilow and in the ICUs at YNHH. Please page Leslie to request a palliative care consult at (203) 766-8362.
Ruth McCorkle Oncology Advanced Practice Provider Award
Along with Cathy Lyons, I am pleased to announce a new annual award entitled the "Ruth McCorkle Oncology Advanced Practice Provider" award. This annual recognition from Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital will be presented at the YCC Conclave on November 19, 2012, along with the three awards listed below.
Please consider nominating yourself or a colleague for this award. It is a unique opportunity to recognize the contributions of our APP colleagues (APRN or PA) who contribute so much to oncology patient care.
Yale Cancer Center is pleased to announce three annual awards in the areas of excellence in research and clinical care. Each award will be announced at the Yale Cancer Center Conclave on Monday, November 19, 2012. The nomination deadline for these awards is today.
Yale Cancer Center Research Prize: This award is in support of excellence in the areas of basic science, translational research, clinical research, cancer prevention and control, epidemiological research, or case review. It will be awarded to the Cancer Center investigator whose paper is considered to have had the greatest impact on their field this year. Applicant must be a current member of the Cancer Center. The science in the publication must be cancer focused. Please submit a PDF of your best publication (publication date from October 2011 to Sept 2012). To be eligible you must be either the first or last author of the publication. Email your publication to Laura Olson.
Yale Cancer Center Award for Clinical Excellence
This award will be given to the physician who best exemplifies excellence in clinical care including superb clinical skills, use of a patient and family centered approach to care, and inclusion of a multi-disciplinary care model. Nominee must be a current member of Yale Cancer Center. Please nominate yourself or a peer and send a brief nomination letter (one page maximum) to Laura Olson.
Yale Cancer Center Lifetime Achievement Award
Yale Cancer Center recognizes the achievements of one of our senior members through our annual Lifetime Achievement award. Please send nomination suggestions for the award to Dan DiMaio.
Holiday Party - December 20
Please join the Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital commnities as we celebrate the holiday season together. We invite you and your family to join us at Yale's Peabody Museum in its Hall of Dinosaurs, on Thursday, December 20 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. This year, we will have the entire first floor of the museum to explore. Come celebrate the holiday season with us and enjoy some food and drink, all while surrounded by one of the nation's finest collections of dinosaur fossils!
Rong Fan, PhD, a member of the Yale Cancer Center Signal Transduction Research Program, has been awarded a 2012 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering. The Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards to be given to early career scientists in the nation, and provides $875,000 in research funding over 5 years. Dr. Fan will use the funding to study genome-scale epigenetic mapping of single cells with the ultimate goal of creating a high-throughput microfluidic chip for genome-scale epigenetic mapping of single tumor cells from patients.
Daniel C. DiMaio, MD, PhD, Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, and Thomas J. Lynch, Jr., MD have all been appointed Honorary Professors of the University College London in the Cancer Institute by Chris Boshoff, Director of the Cancer Institute at UCL.
Andrea Silber, MD and her team at the Smilow Cancer Care Center at the Saint Raphaels Campus were recently applauded by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) for their screening efforts through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the WISEWOMAN Program, both funded by the CDC through the CT DPH. They screened 941 women in the first six months of this year (through July 1) and have screened over 4,000 women since the inception of the programs. The two programs target uninsured and underinsured women in Connecticut who are between 40-65 years old.
Susan Mayne, PhD is presenting the keynote lecture at the Cancer Registrars Association of New England Conference this weekend on "From Cancer Registration to Cancer Etiology to Cancer Prevention." Tamar Taddei, MD and Frank Detterbeck, MD are also presenting lectures at the conference.
Andrea Silber, MD was appointed and elected to the Connecticut Cancer Partnership Board of Directors during their annual meeting. Her term will run for two years. Dr. Silber joins other Yale members on the Board, including Brenda Cartmel and Renee Gaudette.
Michael DiGiovanna, MD, PhD has received a $50,000 grant from the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative to fund his research into Combination Targeting of IGF-1 Receptor and HER2 in Breast Cancer. This is the fourth consecutive year Dr. DiGiovanna has received funding from the CT Breast Health Initiative to support his research.
John Dixon in the Yale-New Haven Hospital Development Office secured a $425,000 gift in September from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The donor was inspired by the care her husband received here at the Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. The donor's intent is that the gift be used for cancer research.
Yale Faculty Participate in ASTRO Annual Meeting
Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven once again have a wonderful presence at the annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting this weekend in Boston. Many Yale faculty members were involved in the abstract review and selection process in preparation for the meeting.
Congratulations to the following faculty members for their participation:
Lynn Wilson is Chair of the Annual Meeting Scientific program.
Roy Decker - Scientific Program Planning Committee
Suzanne Evans - Multidisciplinary Quality Assurance Subcommittee; the American
Association of Physicists in Medicine, Task Group 230: The Development, Implementation, Use and Maintenance of Safety Checklists for Radiation Oncology.
Susan Higgins - Scientific Program Planning Committee; Education Committee
Kenneth Roberts - Government Relations Committee
Lynn Wilson - Scientific Program Planning Committee
James Yu - Education Committee; Health Service Research Committee
Presidential Symposium Presenter:
John Concato, "Medical Evidence Reconsidered - Thinking Beyond the Randomized Clinical Trial."
Education Session Presentations:
Roy Decker, "Stereotactic Body RT: Clinical, Biological, and Physics."
Frank Detterbeck, "Treatment Options for Patients with Early-stage Non-small Cell Lung Cancer."
Meena Moran, "Breast Cancer Management, Early Stage Disease."
James Yu, "Cancer Emergencies."
Program Moderators and Discussants:
Bryan Chang - RT for Hepatic/Biliary/Pancreatic Tumor Session
Joseph Contessa - CNS Primary Brain Tumor Session
Roy Decker - Lung Cancer Scientific Session
Cary Gross - Large Population-based and Decision Analysis Session
Thomas Lynch - Plenary Session Discussant
Sheida Mani - Cervical Cancer Session
Meena Moran - Breast Scientific Session
Kenneth Roberts - Lymphoma Scientific Session
Lynn Wilson - Clinical Trials Session; Plenary Session
Nurses Program Presentation:
Vanna Dest, "Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse in the Radiation Oncology Setting."
Sanjay Aneja, "The Funding of Phase 3 Clinical Trials Examining Radiation Compared With That of Other Modalities."
Bryan Chang, "A Comparison of Three Treatment Strategies for Locally Advanced and Borderline Resectable Pancreatic Cancer."
Cary Gross, "An Assessment of the Collective Efforts of Clinical Trials to Provide Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines in Cancer Care."
Arie Dosoretz, "A Decision Analysis to Assess the Value of Prostate Cancer Screening: A Shift in Focus from Prostate Cancer Specific Mortality to Distant Metastasis Free Survival."
James Hansen, "A Rare Cell-penetrating Anti-DNA Antibody Inhibits DNA Repair, Sensitizes Tumors to DNA-damaging Therapy, and is Synthetically Lethal to BRCA2-deficient Cancer Cells."
Kim Johung, "The Radiosensitivity of Tyrosine Kinase Driven Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer."
Shane Lloyd, "A Comparison of Three Treatment Strategies for Locally Advanced and Borderline Resectable Pancreatic Cancer."
Meena Moran, "Disease Presentation Correlated with Molecular Sub-types of Breast Cancer."
Kenneth Roberts, "Temporal Trends in Radiation Modalities Among Older Women With Favorable Risk Breast Cancer."
Sounok Sen, "Understanding Costs and Value of Newer Radiation Modalities Among Older Women With Breast Cancer."
James Yu, "Proton Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer in the Medicare Population: Patterns of Care and Comparison of Early Toxicity With Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy."
Comparative Analysis of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Multiple Primary Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
B.R. Mancini, B.P. Rowe, B.W. Chang, R.H. Decker
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Patients with Clinically vs. Pathologically Diagnosed Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Comparative Analysis
B.R. Mancini,B.P. Rowe, B.W. Chang, R.H. Decker
TRIC or Tumor:
Regrowing Lesions following Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases- Proposal for a Histopathologic Scale based on Correlation with Survival
S.K. Nath, A.D. Sheridan, P.J. Rauch, J. Contessa, J.B. Yu, F.J. Minja, A.O. Vortmeyer, V.L. Chiang
Adjuvant Carboplatin/Paclitaxel and Vaginal Brachytherapy for Locally Advanced Endometrial Cancer
M. Young, S.A. Higgins, E. Ratner, S. Mani, S.B. Evans, D. Silasi, M. Azodi, T.Rutherford, P. Schwartz, S. Damast
Ras Promotes Non-Autonomous Cell Death in Response to Radiation: Insights from a Novel Drosophila-Based Model of Radiotherapy
T. J. Klein, P. M. Glazer, T. Xu
The Standardized Herbal Formulation PHY906 Decreases the Toxicity of Abdominal Irradiation in Mice
S. Higgins, Y. Liu, Y. Cheng, K. Asselin, C. Booth, S. Rockwell
Survival for Patients with Inflammatory Breast Cancer Receiving Mastectomy is Associated with Radiation Sequence and Race
B.F. Taylor, S.B. Evans, K.B. Roberts, J.B. Yu
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Database Analysis of Verrucous Carcinoma of the Vulva
S.B. Evans, A.P. Dosoretz, S. Damast, J.B. Yu
A 35-Year History of Radiation Therapy Utilization Across the United States
S. Aneja, K.B. Roberts
Research in the News
Genetic switch shuts down lung cancer tumors in mice
Yale researchers manipulated a tiny genetic switch and halted growth of aggressive lung cancer tumors in mice and even prevented tumors from forming.
The activation of a single microRNA managed to neutralize the effects of two of the most notorious genes in cancer's arsenal, suggesting it may have a role treating several forms of cancer, the researchers report in the Nov. 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.
"This is pretty much the best pre-clinical data that show microRNAs can be effective in lung cancer treatment," explained Frank Slack.
Antibody found in lupus may protect against certain types of cancers
Yale Cancer Center researchers report that an antibody associated with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus may actually offer a treatment for certain cancers. The study appears online in the Oct. 24 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
One unusual cell-penetrating lupus autoantibody that is not harmful to normal cells or tissues is known as 3E10. Yale researchers studied whether 3E10 could be used as a drug-delivery vehicle. But they discovered to their surprise that the antibody already had the ability to sensitize cancer cells to radiation and chemotherapy and interfere with their ability to sustain themselves through DNA repair.
With the discovery of this cancer cell susceptibility, the researchers further found that 3E10, when used alone, could selectively kill cancer cells with DNA repair deficiencies such as those with mutations in the BRCA2 gene.
Yale team finds way to save blood from ravages of chemo treatment
Chemotherapy kills blood cells as well as cancer cells, often with fatal results. Now Yale stem cell researchers have identified a method they hope one day will help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy maintain a healthy blood supply, they report in the Oct. 18 issue of the journal Cell Reports.
The team, under the direction of Jun Lu studies how blood cells regenerate. Lu is particularly interested in roles played by tiny bits of genetic material called microRNAs in the production of blood and the function of blood stem and progenitor cells, which help determine the type of blood cell created.
Older breast cancer patients see more complications with brachytherapy
The breast cancer treatment brachytherapy - heralded for its low complication rates - actually results in more complications than whole-breast radiation one year after treatment, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The standard treatment for older women with early stage breast cancer includes breast-conserving surgery, typically followed by radiation therapy to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Rather than irradiating larger areas of the breast, as in whole breast irradiation, brachytherapy temporarily implants radiation sources in catheters within the surgical site.
"This treatment method seems ideal in theory, but we found it concerning that such an important clinical decision that affects so many women was being made on the basis of theory, rather than scientific evidence," said Dr. Cary P. Gross.
Fitweek was held from October 1 through October 5, 2012. Dr. Anees Chagpar was one of five community leaders who walked 10,000 steps each day during Fitweek. Fitweek pledged a $5000 contribution to breast cancer research at the successful conclusion of the week. Pictured here is Shana Schneider, Chief Executive Officer of Fitweek, presenting the donation to Dr. Anees Chagpar.
In an effort to raise awareness for men's health, including prostate and testicular cancer, the Prostate and Urologic Cancers Program at Smilow is participating in "Movember." The men are growing in moustaches and the women are drawing or wearing them. Every time someone stops and asks why, it is a great chance to spread the word of Movember and men's health.
The Employee Profile recognizes the diverse contributions made by Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital staff have to meet our patient care, research, education, and outreach goals. The staff profiled are examples of the great work being done here, and the dedication and values we possess. To suggest someone to be profiled, please contact Emily Fenton.
Griserl Nieves, Secretary for the Smoking Cessation Service at Smilow, considers herself to be a "Jack of all trades." In her role, she works with many of the programs at Smilow Cancer Hospital, including the Thoracic Oncology Program, the Breast Center, the Gynecologic Oncology Program, the Infusion Centers, and the Winchester Chest Clinic.
Developed by Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Benjamin Toll, PhD, the Smoking Cessation Service at Smilow aims to help patients quit smoking by combining counseling and drug treatment. Griserl is responsible for scheduling patients, whether they are referred to her by a nurse, or identified in the 'Tobacco Assessment' form that all patients fill out at their first visit. The key is to make them an appointment as soon as possible, while their motivation is high, and to schedule around their other appointments, so they do not have to make an extra visit to the hospital.
"A lot of people are hesitant and give me a reason why they don't want to quit smoking. A lot of them say that they have tried before and nothing works. My response to them is, 'you haven't tried us yet.' The next step is to set-up a meet-and-greet with Dr. Toll or one of our nurse practitioners, Helena Chmielowicz, APRN or Lisa Hoffer, APRN, and that usually captures their attention enough to try the program out," Griserl said. "We especially try and work with patients before they undergo chemotherapy, radiation, or an infusion, because success rates are higher. Also, if they quit smoking before surgery, it has been shown that there is less infection, and they heal faster. When I see someone I have worked with quit smoking and go on to successfully finish treatment, it's a wonderful feeling."
In the two years the program has been in operation, Griserl, who is also responsible for the data analysis, has seen the number of patients that have quit smoking grow, as well as the number of patients involved in the program. Dr. Toll commented, "Griserl really cares about our patients and has embraced the need for smoking cessation. Patients have commented that they like her disposition and appreciate her phone calls and reminders for appointments. She has a positive outlook which works well with our "gain-framed" outlook on our work."
Yale SPORE in Skin Cancer Developmental Research Program Pilot Project Grants
Developmental Research Program Awards are intended to support a broad spectrum of innovative pilot projects applicable to human skin cancer risk, prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment. To be funded, DRP projects must have promising translational research potential, i.e., direct application to human skin cancer, and there must be the expectation that they can evolve into, or be incorporated into, full projects with an unequivocal translational component funded either within this SPORE or as independent R01 (or equivalent) grants.
Yale Cancer Center announces a competition for The Leslie H. Warner Postdoctoral Fellowships,to be awarded for one year commencing January 1, 2013, to fellows conducting cancer research with a Cancer Center member. The Fellowships will support innovative basic, translational, clinical, or population-based cancer research. Candidates who began postdoctoral studies prior to January 1, 2010 are not eligible for this award. Up to two applications will be funded.
Uniting Against Lung Cancer and the National Lung Cancer Partnership Announce Impact Award
Uniting Against Lung Cancer and the National Lung Cancer Partnership have announced that they will be jointly sponsoring the Impact Award, a new $200,000 research grant designed to accelerate the movement of promising ideas in lung cancer research into clinical application. The award is intended to rapidly bring new advances to the clinic and positively impact patient care.
The award is intended to support clinical translational research that will promote significant improvements over current approaches in lung cancer prevention, detection, or therapy. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an ability to produce significant progress for lung cancer patients in the near term. Applicants must present a strategic plan and timeline for clinical implementation within five years of the start of the two-year award period.
Application Deadline: November 12, 2012
2013 Connecticut Stem Cell Research Grant
The Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, in consultation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Connecticut Innovations, is pleased to announce the availability of the 2013 RFP to support the advancement of embryonic and/or human adult stem cell research in Connecticut.
Any non-profit, tax-exempt academic institution of higher education, any hospital that conducts biomedical research or any entity that conducts biomedical research or embryonic or human adult stem cell research may apply for grants from the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Fund.
The CV library is a new resource available to our members, with CVs of post-docs and others looking for positions at Yale. Please browse the listings if you have openings, and send the CVs you receive to share.
Hyperglycosylated hCG: The Root Molecule of Placental Invasion and Growth in Pregnancy Implantation, Cause of Spontaneous Abortion and Preeclampsia, and the Promoter of Choriocarcinoma and Most Other Malignancies
We seek your assistance in the recruitment of qualified Oncology Research Nurses to join the Cancer Center for full time research opportunities. Positions traditionally require a minimum of BSN and 4 years of research nursing experience with a strong preference within oncology.
In lieu of research experience, trained oncology nurses with little or no research experience are considered for positions of the same level. Should you know of any potential candidates, please encourage them to go on-line to www.yale.edu/jobs and navigate to the STARS employment website in search of positions 18343BR and 18943BR, upload the resume and apply. They may also contact Sandra Greer for further information.
Please submit your recent publication and grant announcements to: