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Dec. 13, 2011

Forming a global cancer network for research, clinical care, education and prevention.

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SciVal Updates

Initially, when GAP launched SciVal, the intent was to provide an avenue where researchers at MD Anderson and throughout our Sister Institution Network could easily identify collaborators. Today, we are one step closer to that objective with the addition of the following SIs to the SciVal site:

    Barretos Cancer Hospital

    China Medical University Hospital

    Chinese University of Hong Kong

    Clínical Alemana de Santiago

    Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center

    Fundação Antonio Prudente (AC Camargo)

    Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein (HIAE)

    Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplásicas 

    Keio University

    Norwegian Cancer Consortium

    Sheba Medical Center

    Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center

    Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital

    Yonsei University College of Medicine, 
   Yonsei University Health System

Previously, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) had been added. The remaining SIs will be added within the next few months. SciVal’s research profiles allow you to search for collaborators in your field of interest, to see who they routinely collaborate with and the number and types of publications they produce. The aim of SciVal is to enable researchers throughout the Sister Institution Network to connect with each other and not just with MD Anderson faculty.

MD Anderson’s New Institute for Applied Cancer Science

MD Anderson heralded a new era of research and investigation with the announcement in November of the creation of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS). The Institute will continue the work of the Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science at the Dana Farber Cancer Hospital, where current MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho, M.D., was previously the director. Not only has the theory and principle of the Institute been transplanted from Massachusetts to Texas, most of the key personnel have as well. At least 55 scientists from Belfer will now call Houston home and will carry on the work of creating a pharmaceutical incubator within a cancer center.

Perhaps, the most striking aspect about much of the leadership of IACS is not only that they are not from MD Anderson, but that most of them have spent considerable time in the pharmaceutical industry. As described by DePinho, the objective is to take the best of both worlds and try to meld them together. Academia is great at original thought, focus and purpose, while pharmaceutical companies have established effective business practices for selecting only the most promising approaches at each stage of a program. This enables the best candidates to move ahead to trials and the market beyond. The goal of IACS is to take groundbreaking research and technologies and leverage them to discover and validate new and novel drug targets. IACS will then hand-off those nascent trials to pharmaceutical partners, who will have a better chance at completing later stage drug trials and delivering the therapies to the bedside.

The breadth of experience of the leadership at IACS is an impressive collection of time spent in academia, the pharmaceutical industry and as entrepreneurs. The group represents a cosmopolitan background with advanced degrees earned at:

    University of Naples in Italy

    University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom

    University of Copenhagen in Denmark

    Institute of Biophysics in Russia

Postdoctoral training for IACS leadership occurred at leading research facilities and institutions, including:

    Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York

    European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany

    Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York

    Phillipps-Universität of Marburg in Germany

    Novo Nordisk in Denmark

    The Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University

    Karolinska Institute in Sweden

Last week, Ronald DePinho, M.D., MD Anderson’s president, visited New York to continue to recruit leading scientists for IACS and presumably elsewhere in the institution. In the meantime, the group of scientists already assembled in Houston is building a research facility they all hope will accelerate the process of drug discovery and improve the likelihood of patients surviving their cancers.

Calendar of Events

Global Oncology Lecture - Phil Castle, Ph.D.
MD Anderson
Mays Clinic - ACB 1.2325
Jan. 19, 2012

Excellence in Oncology
Istanbul, Turkey
Feb. 23-25, 2012

GAP Annual Conference
Oslo, Norway
May 14-16, 2012


Sino – US Symposium on Head and Neck Cancer

Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center (SYSUCC) will host the symposium from Jan. 6-7, 2012 with co-sponsor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Located in Guangzhou, China, SYSUCC became an MD Anderson Sister Institution in 2003 and the two cancer centers previously hosted the 3rd Annual Sino-US Seminar Series in Clinical Oncology in 2006. This symposium will present information regarding basic, translational and clinical research in head and neck cancer, but will focus on nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Coinciding with the symposium will be the signing of a Sister Institution renewal agreement between MD Anderson and SYSUCC.  Fellow Sister Institutions Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital (TMUCIH), Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center (FUSCC), Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and The Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) will also participate in the symposium. This year, new MD Anderson president, Ronald DePinho, M.D., will be a keynote speaker alongside Yi-Xin Zeng, M.D., Ph.D., president of SYSUCC and three additional MD Anderson faculty members will attend. Read the symposium’s flyer and visit the website for additional information.

Janelle Hail New Member of MD Anderson Board of Visitors

On Nov. 28, 2011, MD Anderson announced the addition of 16 new members to the Board of Visitors (BOV). Janelle Hail, the founder and CEO of the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., will join the ranks of the volunteers who are appointed to the BOV. Started in 1957, the BOV advises and assists MD Anderson in its work to eradicate cancer through philanthropic contributions and the myriad talents of the members who are business, volunteer and non-profit leaders. Hail provided direct support to GAP during the initial round of Sister Institution Network Funding, to which she contributed $100,000 over two years to a project in the area of breast cancer research.

Network News

Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Fellowship

ASCO’s Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe) provides early-career oncologists in low to middle income countries a support opportunity to work with United States or Canadian mentors in clinical training and clinical and laboratory research. The 2012 application is due on Jan. 12, 2012. The fellowship provides $115,000 USD for one year and the host institution is responsible for managing the funds. Read the announcement for a list of eligibility criteria. Key considerations include:

• Must be a full member of International Corresponding member of ASCO, or pending member awaiting acceptance.
• Must be a physician who has completed subspecialty training in an oncology discipline.
• Must not have received more than one academic year of “formal training” in the United States or Canada.
• Must have a mentor who is a full ASCO member.

The application requirements are also detailed in the announcement and require 12 separate components.  The Conquer Cancer Foundation has additional international education opportunities, if this one is not right for you.


AACR Meeting in India Attended by DuBois

Today through the 16th of December, The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is hosting an International Conference in Gurgaon, Delhi. New Horizons in Cancer Research: Biology to Prevention to Therapy, boasts prominent researchers from across India, including MD Anderson’s Sister Institution, Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai and multiple other nations. MD Anderson’s executive vice president and provost, Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D, is acting as one of several co-chairpersons and will discuss how Prostaglandin E2 Promotes Intestinal Tumor Growth Via DNA Methylation in a session on Cancer Prevention and Chemotherapy. In addition to DuBois, Varsha Gandhi, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics and Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Epidemiology will also represent MD Anderson at the meeting.

Fourth International Conference on Translational Cancer Research in India

This conference, organized by several MD Anderson faculty with their Indian counterparts, will take place in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India from Dec. 16-19, 2011. A who’s-who of MD Anderson faculty will present at the meeting, including immediate-past president, John Mendelsohn, M.D., professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics. The conference keynote speaker will be Margaret Foti, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). Begun in 2005, the conference takes place every two years at different locations throughout India. Take a look at the website for more information on the conference speakers and schedule.