Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Jasco Pharmaceuticals Join Forces to Advance Drug Research

Organizations partner on preclinical testing of agent that has shown promise against solid tumors, blood cancers

A new partnership, first of its kind for both organizations, will see Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and Jasco Pharmaceuticals, LLC collaborating to advance development of an investigational pharmacological therapy that shows promise for treating both solid-tumor cancers and hematologic malignancies. The affiliation will see RPCI providing preclinical research infrastructure and services to fast-track development of Jasco’s lead agent and speed its progression to the clinical-trial phase.

That agent, JP_11646, is a PIM inhibitor that targets a class of kinase enzymes that help to regulate cancer cell survival. In preclinical studies, JP_11646 has shown activity against solid tumors including breast, colon, liver, lung and pancreas cancers as well as multiple myeloma.

Through this partnership, Jasco, which operates from Woburn, Mass., and has its headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., and RPCI will jointly pursue further preclinical development of the agent, including pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) analysis to define its efficacy, its toxicity and how cells respond to it. The project is the first to take advantage of the Center for Drug Development at RPCI, a new program uniting Institute resources that previously operated separately.

Kelvin Lee, MD, Jacobs Family Chair in Immunology and Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park, will lead a study into the role PIM kinases play in CD28 signaling pathways, a survival mechanism that is a major cause of resistance to frontline multiple myeloma treatments.

“This collaboration brings Jasco’s unique kinase inhibitor platform together with Roswell Park’s comprehensive expertise in the development of novel therapies for oncology and the treatment of patients,” says Jasco Pharmaceuticals CEO Eugene Baldino. “It’s a great fit, and one that I know will reduce the development timeline of this promising agent, making it available to patients sooner.”

“Our goal is to get the therapy to cancer patients through a phase I clinical study within one year,” notes Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP, Senior Vice President for Clinical Research and Director of the Center for Drug Development at RPCI, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s inaugural Conquer Cancer Foundation Drug Development Professor. “It’s an ambitious but totally realistic goal given the resources for preclinical and clinical research that exist at RPCI and the tremendous progress Jasco has made on this agent so far.”

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716.845.859

American Cancer Society Seeks Participants for Cancer Prevention Study

To better understand ways to prevent cancer, the American Cancer Society is recruiting men and women across the US and Puerto Rico for a landmark new research study – Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). Enrollment is being made possible in partnership with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus on Wednesday, June 19th at Roswell Park’s Gaylord Cary Conference Room from 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Individuals may choose to participate if they are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study (which involves completing follow-up surveys periodically over the next 20-30 years), are between the ages of 30 and 65 years old and have never been diagnosed with cancer. For more information, visit www.cps3buffalo.org, call 1-888-604-5888 or e-mail mcps3@cancer.org.

CANCER

Roswell Park Scientists Advance Findings About Novel, Low-Toxicity Anticancer Agent

New FL118 formulation may prove effective against colon, head/neck, mesothelioma, ovarian and pancreatic cancers

Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have found that a new formulation of a promising anticancer agent, the small chemical molecule FL118, is even more effective in controlling two types of cancer than a version reported in PLOS ONE six months earlier proved to be. Additional evidence also suggests that the agent may successfully treat other solid tumors as well.

In their previous research, a team led by Fengzhi Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology in RPCI’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, demonstrated that FL118 eliminated human colon and head-and-neck tumors in animal models without relapse but was limited in that it could be delivered only by intraperitoneal (IP) administration. This new study, to be published in the April 8 issue of the American Journal of Translational Research, compares the earlier formulation of the agent to a new version that can also be administered intravenously, translating to much wider potential clinical wp-contentlication.

Comparing the antitumor efficacy and therapeutic index, or relative toxicity, of FL118 in its new intravenous (IV) formulation with the earlier form, the researchers found that maximum tolerated dose increased three- to seven-fold, depending on dosing schedule. While the original formulation contained Tween 80 or polysorbate 80, a solvent commonly included in drug formulations, the agent in its new composition is free of Tween 80, resulting in significantly lower toxicity.

FL118 is a targeted therapy that selectively inhibits the expression of four major cancer-survival gene products: survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP and/or cIAP2. While both studies tested the agent’s effectiveness against models of head-and-neck and colon tumors, other research from Dr. Li’s lab suggests that mesothelioma, ovarian and pancreatic cancers, and potentially other solid tumors, may also be good targets for treatment with FL118.

“This work represents a significant move forward,” notes Dr. Li, senior author on the study. “We’re targeting four of the most resilient and pervasive cancer survival mechanisms, and because the findings from preclinical testing have been so striking, we’re anxious to see FL118 tested in the clinical setting.”

Xiang Ling, MD, PhD, a senior scientist in RPCI’s Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, is co-author of the paper, “An intravenous (i.v.) route-compatible formulation of FL118, a survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP, and cIAP2 selective inhibitor, improves FL118 antitumor efficacy and therapeutic index (TI).” The study was e-published today and is available at http://goo.gl/y0oZy.

The work was supported in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense (PC110408), Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, and by shared resources supported by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Center Support Grant to RPCI (P30CA016056).

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716.845.859

SSO 2013 Lineup Includes 5 Talks by Roswell Park Cancer Institute Physicians

Presentations by RPCI surgeons cover issues of biomarker identification, quality improvement, treatment decisions

Five Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) physicians were invited to give oral presentations on cancer research March 8 at the 66th annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology, an international society for cancer surgeons. They were among 10 RPCI physicians who presented at this year’s meeting in National Harbor, MD. The symposium is a major annual meeting where new advances in cancer care are presented.

John M. Kane III, MD, FACS, Chief of the Melanoma/Sarcoma Service within the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “High Risk Soft Tissue Sarcoma Biomarker Expression Patterns and Outcome Following Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation” (abstract 64; session: Sarcoma). Dr. Kane, a member of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) sarcoma working group, presented research performed through his RTOG Translational Research Program grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Because outcomes for patients with “high-risk” soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) — those tumors that are large, deep and high-grade — are often poor, high priority has been placed on identifying biomarkers that might predict response to therapy and survival. Dr. Kane and a multi-institutional team of collaborators created tissue microarrays using pre- and post-treatment STS tumor samples from participants from two clinical research studies, looking to see how treatment impacted levels of seven different biomarkers. They found that two biomarkers, CAIX (carbonic anhydrase IX) and GLUT 1 (glucose transporter 1), decreased following neoadjuvant chemoradiation. The researchers also found that increased post-treatment p53 expression correlated with a higher chance of cancer recurrence.

“We’re always looking for ways to determine which patients might truly benefit from chemotherapy, sparing other patients that do not need it the potential side effects,” notes Dr. Kane. “In addition, these microarrays can also be used to identify new targeted therapies for these often-deadly sarcomas.”

Co-authors are Qiang Zhang, PhD, Asha George, MS, and William Kraybill, MD, of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Philadelphia, PA; Thomas DeLaney, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; Alex Klimowicz, PhD, of the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Anthony Magliocco, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; and Jeff Simko, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Shicha Kumar, MD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Clinical Impact of Real Time Reporting Using the Commission on Cancer’s Rapid Quality Reporting System: Is It Worthwhile?” (abstract 55; session: Quality Improvement/Clinical Outcomes).

Quality-control measures have been shown to correlate with improved cancer outcomes, yet deviations from desired standards of care often go undetected or are discovered late, limiting or preventing opportunities for effective intervention. The research team set out to assess the clinical impact of the Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS), a tool developed by the Commission on Cancer for alerting providers to wp-contentroaching deviations from predetermined quality measures. They found that while relatively few deviations from standards occurred, RQRS is an easy-to-use tool for proactively identifying and improving delivery and documentation of cancer care.

“Our analysis shows the Rapid Quality Reporting System to be a helpful and reliable safety mechanism for identifying patients at risk for lapses in wp-contentropriate care,” Dr. Kumar says. “The providers we surveyed indicated that the system spurred more effective teamwork and improved documentation, and resulted in reduced concern over insufficient or delayed follow-through.”

Co-authors are Marian Betrus, Jaemi Fitzgerald, Camille Rinaldo, Kassia Delgado, Linda Hauck and Stephen Edge, MD, all of RPCI.

Moshim Kukar, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Fostering Coordinated Survivorship Care in Breast Cancer: Who is ‘Lost to Follow-Up’?” (abstract 57; session: Quality Improvement/Clinical Outcomes).

Patients who stop scheduling or showing up for wp-contentointments are a concern for many oncology providers. They are considered “lost to follow-up” (LTFU) when they stop seeking services or ongoing monitoring from a facility without having a transfer-of-care plan in place. Dr. Kukar and colleagues looked at nearly 13 years of RPCI records for patients treated for breast cancer, classifying them as LTFU if they had a two-year gap in visits to the facility. They then looked at patient, tumor and treatment characteristics to see whether any particular factors were correlated with LTFU status. They identified five characteristics associated with increased incidence of care abandonment: older age, earlier-stage disease, living longer distances from the facility, having no need for additional adjuvant therapies and absence of recurrence.

“We know that many breast cancer patients will self-triage away from oncology care and follow-up,” says Dr. Kukar. “This research shows that we have a real opportunity to prospectively identify who these women are so we can better assist them with the transfer of care to other providers and make sure that continuity of care is maintained.”

Co-authors are Nancy Watroba, MPA, Austin Miller, PhD, Dr. Kumar and Dr. Edge, all of RPCI.

Jacqueline Oxenberg, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, is first author on “Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy to Define Biologic Behavior Prior to Resection of Primary Angiosarcoma” (abstract 71; session: Sarcoma).

In a retrospective review of RPCI patients treated for angiosarcoma, a rare and biologically aggressive tumor, the research team tested their hypothesis that neoadjuvant chemotherapy would provide insights that could help guide treatment decisions, particularly by defining those who would not benefit from more involved, higher-risk surgeries. They found that chemotherapy administered preoperatively was well tolerated and significantly decreased tumor size, decreased the number of surgeries needed to control tumors and was not associated with any increase in complications.

“We now have evidence that giving chemotherapy prior to surgical removal of angiosarcoma tumors allows us to better identify which patients would benefit most from surgery,” Dr. Oxenberg explains. “It’s an wp-contentroach that wp-contentears to be both effective and easy to implement.”

Co-authors are Dr. Kane, Nikhil Khushalani, MD, Kilian Salerno May, MD, and Kristopher Attwood, PhD, all of RPCI.

Timothy Platz, MD, is first author on “The Use of Modified 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography in 100 Consecutive Patients with Primary Hyperparathyroidism: An Argument for the Abandonment of Sestamibi SPECT” (abstract 25; session: Endocrine Cancer).

For many years, the vast majority of providers performing parathyroidectomy have used ultrasound and/or Sestamibi SPECT imaging technologies to help identify abnormalities and guide surgical planning. Looking at patients treated at RPCI between December 2010 and July 2012, Dr. Platz and colleagues performed a comparative analysis to determine whether a newer imaging option, 4-Dimensional Computed Tomography (4D-CT), might be an effective alternative to those standard imaging technologies. The team found that a modified form of 4D-CT, adapted to include volume rendering highlights the parathyroid abnormality in relation to neighboring structures, was superior to sestamibi SPECT and ultrasound, with similar levels of radiation exposure.

“We found that this modified 4D-CT wp-contentroach was much more reliable than the other modalities in providing a preview of the anatomy that we’d encounter when actually performing the surgeries,” notes Dr. Platz. “The distinctions between these wp-contentroaches proved to be so significant that we can present a persuasive case for other providers to consider abandoning sestamibi SPECT for these types of cases.”

Co-authors are Ahmed Abdelhalim, MD, Adrienne Groman and William Cance, MD, all of RPCI.

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

New Biotech Companies Move Into Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Banner Letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 11, 2013

For more information, contact:

Contact Kari Bonaro
kbonaro@bnmc-old.local, 716.218.7157

(BUFFALO, NY) – The Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center is pleased to welcome Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) spin-off companies Tartis Aging, Inc., and OncoTartis, Inc., as its newest tenants. The companies will occupy a combined 5,700 sq. ft. of wet lab and office space on the fourth floor of the building. Approximately half of this space will be built up as the companies continue to grow in size.

OncoTartis and Tartis Aging are discovery-stage biotechnology companies seeking novel anti-cancer and anti-aging drugs. Their proprietary technologies are licensed from the laboratories of Andrei Gudkov, PhD, from RPCI.

Dr. Gudkov was recruited to Buffalo by RPCI and other local partners in 2007. He moved his research lab and his first commercial company, Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. (CBLI), from the Cleveland Clinic to serve as Senior Vice President of Basic Science and Chair of the Department of Cell Stress Biology at Roswell Park.

The laboratory building at 73 High Street, shared with Cleveland BioLabs, Inc., had been the first home for both corporations. With 15 employees and a growing portfolio, the two companies have outgrown the space available on High Street but wanted to remain on the BNMC.

“We are very hwp-contenty to find space in the Innovation Center, which allows us to expand our research and at the same time continue to be close to our colleagues at CBLI and Roswell Park,” said Aleksandra Kotlyarova, Director of Operations for both companies.

“OncoTartis and Tartis Aging are perfect examples of what we need to see more of here in Buffalo,” said Patrick J. Whalen, Chief Operating Officer of the BNMC, Inc., which owns and operates the Innovation Center. “Dr. Gudkov and Cleveland BioLabs moved to the BNMC several years ago to better collaborate with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and thanks to the groundbreaking research at Roswell Park, they continue to grow and spin off companies, creating more jobs and economic-development opportunities in Buffalo as they evolve.”

About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) is dedicated to the cultivation of a world-class medical campus for clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship on 120 acres in downtown Buffalo. It is home to the region’s top clinical, research, and medical education institutions, including: the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Olmsted Center for Sight, Kaleida Health, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Buffalo Medical Group, Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Unyts, and the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care. There are over 40 public and private companies on the BNMC. More than 12,000 people come to work at the Medical Campus every day, and BNMC institutions see over one million patients and visitors annually. The Campus has an annual economic impact of $1.5 billion on the region. The Medical Campus consists of more than 6 million square feet of research, clinical, and support space.  bnmc-old.local

About Roswell Park Cancer Institute

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

About the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center

The Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. Innovation Center, located at 640 Ellicott Street in downtown Buffalo, is a LEED-certified research and development space housing life sciences and biotech companies, as well as companies offering support services like IP attorneys, talent acquisition, sales, and marketing. This state-of-the art facility is designed to accommodate small to medium companies seeking office, wet lab and/or research space, on a month-to-month basis or via longer term leases, located in the heart of the thriving Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. There are currently 40 companies located in the building.

The Innovation Center is owned and operated by the BNMC, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, their 12,000 employees, and the community; coordinates activities related to sustainable planning, development and enhancement of its 120-acre space; and works to create a distinct, innovative environment that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and active and healthy living.

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Roswell Park Study Finds Substantial Use of E-Cigarettes by Smokers

Nearly 80% of smokers who use electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, believe the devices are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and authored by a team of scientists led by Richard O’Connor, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology and Director of the Tobacco Research Laboratory at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI).
“This study offers a snapshot in time on the use of e-cigarettes from mid-2010 to mid-2011 and examines awareness, use and product-associated beliefs among current and former cigarette smokers in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom,” said Dr. O’Connor.

Nearly 6,000 adult smokers from the four largest English-speaking countries participated in the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey. Study results include:

  • Overall, 46.6% of those surveyed were aware of e-cigarettes (US: 73%, UK: 54%, Canada: 40%, Australia: 20%)
  • Younger, non-minority, heavy smokers with higher incomes were more likely to be aware of e-cigarettes.
  • Younger, non-daily smokers and those who believe e-cigarettes to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes were four times more likely to try e-cigarettes.
  • E-cigarette use was higher among non-daily smokers and those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.
  • 79.8% of smokers believe using e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.
  • 85% of current e-cigarette users indicate that they are using the devices as a tool to help them quit smoking, yet only 11% had successfully stopped smoking.

“This study provides valuable insights into the use and attitudes surrounding e-cigarettes among smokers,” adds Dr. O’Connor. “However, questions remain regarding the impact of these devices in nonsmokers, such as what potential exists to induce nicotine addiction in non-smokers and/or maintain addiction in current smokers who might otherwise stop smoking.”

Regarding future steps, the researchers suggest that the net impact of e-cigarettes on public health be examined. If evidence shows that e-cigarettes reduce the number of cigarette smokers and do not attract use among nonsmokers, they note, then the net public health effect is likely to be positive.

The study, “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems International Tobacco Control Four-Country Survey,” will be published online today at http://www.ajpmonline.org.

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

 

Roswell Park's Center for Personalized Medicine

center-personalized-medicine-press-conference.2013-01-30-35Roswell Park Cancer Institute‘s (RPCI) new 5,000-square-foot facility, the Center for Personalized Medicine (CPM), will provide individualized therapies for patients through genetic code sequencing (an analysis of genomes – the entire inherited genetic makeup of humans). Using state-of-the-art, next-generation technology, advanced research has led to the identification of unique genetic characteristics that will help determine effective and custom treatments for patients with certain diseases. Utilizing high-throughput screening for drug discovery, personal gene sequence machines and a 1,600-processor supercomputing cluster, the RPCI team will efficiently be able analyze individual genome data.
Located within RPCI’s Center for Genetics & Pharmacology, the Center will also act as a resource for scientists and medical providers to use for national clinical care wp-contentlication. In addition to having a mobile unit, the CPM is the first regional resource for next-generation gene sequencing to have met federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) requirements.

At the end of  last year, RPCI was awarded a $5.1 million grant to begin the pilot phase of the genome project from Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council, established to promote regional economic development. Since then, RPCI has garnered an additional $18.5 million in investments to support the project. From RPCI, $16 million has been invested in equipment and infrastructure, and Computer Task Group (CTG), a Buffalo-based national leader in healthcare IT, has committed to $2.5 million. As a local and nearby partner, CTG will provide its healthcare and bioinformatics expertise to deliver personalized medicine quickly and cost-effectively. The University at Buffalo, IMMCO Diagnostics and Western New York Urology Associates LLC are additional supporters of the project.

Candace Johnson, PhD, Deputy Director of the CPM stated that “We now have the ability to do robust, ‘next-generation’ gene sequencing on blood and tissue samples, with tremendous possibilities in terms of what we can learn diagnostically, prognostically, therapeutically.” Johnson also stated that personalized medicine is the future, not just for oncology patients but for treatments across all diseases.

The CPM is a prime example of the type of support that Cuomo’s Council looks to provide for organizations throughout the region to capitalize on resources and developments that will support the local economy by creating more jobs and economic growth. Recognizing the growth hwp-contentening on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and throughout the region, Cuomo stated that “Western New York has a thriving health and life sciences industry cluster, which the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and Roswell Park Cancer Institute recognized. Through the Regional Council process, they created a custom-tailored plan to take advantage of this opportunity, which will rebuild the regional economy.”

center-personalized-medicine-press-conference-2013-01-30-34RPCI’s President and CEO, Dr. Donald Trump captured the significance of the Center’s presence. He stated that “The doors are wide open in terms of the opportunities for entrepreneurship and technology transfer that will flow from [the Center].” The CPM team, partners and supporters increase RPCI’s menu of services, giving the institution the opportunity to contend with other small circle healthcare organizations providing similar medical services.

Immediately on the agenda, the CPM will undertake its first 3 sequencing projects, clinical research studies that will:

  • Predict on a case-by-case, personalized basis which of the two main types of standard chemotherapy, anthracycline-based or platinum-based, will be most effective in treating a woman’s breast cancer, and with fewest adverse side effects;
  • Develop, in collaboration with Western New York Urology Associates, a diagnostic test for superficial bladder cancer, the ninth most common cancer in the U.S. and the most expensive of all cancers in terms of cost to treat; and
  • Engage 600 healthy volunteers representing the ethnic, racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity of the eight-county Western New York region in an initiative to identify the particular healthcare priorities of this community, aided by a mobile tissue-collection unit that will travel to disparate and underserved areas.
  • In addition, RPCI expects to use the resources of the CPM in planning individualized care for its lung, melanoma and leukemia patients in the near future.

Read more about the CPM below:

Roswell Launches Center for Personalized Medicine

Groundbreaking Cancer Research Hwp-contentening in Buffalo

Progressive Medicine is Roswell’s Newest Venture

 

Molecule Inhibitor, CFAK-Y15, Could Treat Certain Brain Cancers

Researchers from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have published findings from a preclinical study assessing the effectiveness of a small-molecule inhibitor, CFAK-Y15, in treating some brain cancers. The paper, published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, demonstrates for the first time that inhibiting the protein focal adhesion kinase (FAK) with CFAK-Y15 is an effective wp-contentroach to controlling growth of glioblastoma tumors, especially in combination with the standard chemotherapy agent temozolomide (Temodar).
FAK is overexpressed, or produced in excessive amounts, in tumor cells, and has been shown to play a key role in survival of cancer cells. In this study, a team led by Vita M. Golubovskaya, PhD, an Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Surgical Oncology, found that animal models treated with CFAK-Y15 demonstrated significantly prolonged survival compared to the control group. CFAK-Y15 provides FAK kinase-specific inhibition by upstream targeting of autophosphorylation sites on the FAK protein. It belongs to a class of ‘two for one’ compounds that also inhibit the oncoprotein Src by inhibiting its autophosphorylation.

“We found that CFAK-Y15 significantly decreased the viability of the glioblastoma cells, and in many cases wp-contenteared to cause tumor shrinkage — especially when CFAK-Y15 was given in combination with temozolomide,” noted Dr. Golubovskaya, the paper’s first author. “These compounds target FAK signaling, which is critical for cancer cell and cancer stem cell survival, especially in invasive and metastatic cancers.”

“We’re eager to see this research move to the clinical phase because of the great need for more effective treatments for glioblastoma,” noted senior author William G. Cance, MD, FACS, Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology. “The potential impact is great because glioblastomas are such an aggressive tumor, and because we know they produce FAK in especially high quantities.”

The authors also included researchers from the University of California at San Diego and faculty from the Department of Pathology at RPCI. CFAK-Y15 is being developed by CureFAKtor Pharmaceuticals LLC (www.curefaktor.com). Drs. Cance and Golubovskaya, both of whom also serve on the management team of CureFAKtor, were part of the team that first identified CFAK-Y15, in research published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 2008.

The new abstract and paper, “Pharmacological blockade of FAK autophosphorylation decreases human glioblastoma tumor growth and synergizes with temozolomide,” can be accessed online at http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2012/12/12/1535-7163.MCT-12-0701.

This work was supported by Susan Komen for the Cure Foundation grant BCTR0707148 and three National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants: R01CA065910, R01HL073396, and the NCI’s Cancer Center Support Grant for Roswell Park Cancer Institute (P30CA016056).

Annie Deck-Miller, RPCI Senior Media Relations Manager; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

RPCI Receives Leapfrog Top Hospital Recognition for 3rd Straight Year

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has been named to The Leapfrog Group’s annual Top Hospitals list for a third consecutive year. One of only three National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in New York state, RPCI is the only New York facility to be named a Leapfrog Top Hospital for 2012.
The Leapfrog Top Hospital designation puts RPCI in a class representing less than 8% of eligible hospitals. In all, 67 urban facilities, 13 rural institutions and 12 children’s hospitals earned the designation this year. The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of public and private employers, selects hospitals for the designation based on an annual national survey measuring performance in areas such as error prevention, Intensive Care Unit staffing and complex, high-risk procedures.

“The Leapfrog Top Hospital distinction is by far the most competitive award a hospital can receive. Leapfrog holds hospitals to the highest standards on behalf of our purchaser members and their employees,” said Leah Binder, President & CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “By achieving the Top Hospital accolade, Roswell Park Cancer Institute has demonstrated exemplary performance across all areas of quality and patient safety that are analyzed on the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. This hospital stands out as one consistently providing safe, high quality care, and I would be comfortable sending my family to Roswell Park for care.”

RPCI has frequently been recognized for high-quality care and overall excellence. The Institute was again recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2012-13 Best Hospitals list for Cancer Care and also this year was re-certified for a three-year period by the Joint Commission, an independent accrediting body.

“We are extremely proud to receive the Leapfrog award for the third consecutive year. Roswell Park participates in a number of quality assessment programs every year — many of them, like the annual Leapfrog survey, on a voluntary basis,” said Roswell Park Medical Director Judy Smith, MD. “Through this process we can evaluate the work we do and look for opportunities for further improvement; it is an invaluable opportunity for a thorough, unbiased review by an informed outside organization.”

Annie Deck-Miller; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

November = Lung Cancer Awareness Month

It is natural to think of family, food and the things one is most thankful for when November rolls around. Raising awareness for lung cancer during the month of November is important to think about as well. While only 1 out of every 10 smokers will get lung cancer, it is still the number 1 cancer killer of men and women in the country, killing nearly 150,000 people per year. It is the second-most diagnosed cancer in men and women as well.
Its cause: smoke inhalation. Smoking tobacco or any kind of drug is the highest risk factor for lung cancer. Secondhand smoke causes nearly 50,000 deaths of nonsmokers every year according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Lung cancer has increasingly become a disease that is not just associated with smokers. Other risk factors include exposure to radon, asbestos, polluted air, and an existing lung disease.

According to Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Associate Professor of Oncology and Director of Collaborative Research in the Department of Medicine, Mary Reid, PhD, between 60% and 70% of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed too late, making surgery a non-option. As efforts increase to create more early screening options, the probability of prolonging life increases dramatically.

RPCI Lung Cancer Screening

Through its High-Risk Lung Cancer Program, RPCI offers lung cancer screening for those who meet the criteria below:

  • Previously treated lung, oral, throat and/or esophageal cancer
  • Smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day for at least 20 years or the equivalent
  • Chronic lung disease, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)
  • Occupational-related asbestos disease
  • A family history of lung cancer in a first-degree relative
  • History of substantial secondhand smoke exposure

Tests used to detect lung cancer in its early stages are Bronchoscopy and Low-Dose Chest CT Scan (LDCT).

RPCI Lung Cancer Treatment

The Thoracic Lung Cancer Center at RPCI offers specialized comprehensive care for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. Lung cancer patients treated at the Thoracic Center receive the the latest and most efficient treatment and surgical procedures, including Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS). VATS is a minimally invasive surgery that enables the surgeon to remove tumors in openings no bigger than 1-inch in diameter using a small video camera.

Cessation Programs

The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is free and confidential. Services include telephone counseling, a starter kit of free nicotine replacement, medications for eligible smokers, access and referrals to local smoking cessation programs and more.

RPCI offers a smoking cessation program, Just Breathe, helping smokers to quit using customized plans, in addition to providing behavioral counseling,  and pharmacotherapy.

Learn more about lung cancer on RPCI’s website.

RPCI’s Mary Reid, PhD

WCHOB and RPCI Partner to Create New Pediatric Hematology Oncology Center

Continuing efforts to create a multifaceted children’s hospital, Kaleida Health‘s Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB) and Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have partnered to build a pediatric hematology oncology center in the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.
Signing a memorandum of understanding to plan the new center today, the WCHOB and RPCI have begun the planning process for this physician-led initiative to combine their services, creating a single center of excellence for pediatric inpatient/outpatient care. The proposed Center will incorporate inpatient beds, an outpatient clinic, isolation beds for blood and bone marrow transplant/high-dose therapy patients, and infusion facilities for chemotherapy and blood products, all in a protected environment on the top floor of the new hospital.

Both institutions are two of the most prominent healthcare institutions in WNY, providing pediatric hematology-oncology services for more than forty years. Currently, WCHOB provides specialty pediatric services essential to the care of these children including surgery, anesthesia, intensive care, and diagnostic imaging. RPCI provides oncology clinical leadership and services including radiation therapy, certain highly-specialized diagnostic services, blood and marrow transplants and clinical trials. RPCI is expected hold a long-term lease for the Center and will be responsible for its medical direction. The planned Center will continue to capitalize on the unique expertise of both institutions.

“This partnership between the two organizations is an excellent example of the many opportunities the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is granting,” said Teresa Quattrin, MD, Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Pediatrics, SUNY at Buffalo, and Pediatrician-in-Chief, Chief, Division of Endocrinology-Diabetes, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. “We look forward to continuing to create this integrated Hematology & Oncology Unit to further enhance the care provided to patients and their families throughout Western New York and beyond.”

WCHOB is submitting its Certificate of Need wp-contentlication for the new hospital to the New York State Department of Health on November 2nd. RPCI anticipates to submit the Certificate of Need for the Pediatric Hematology Oncology Center by the end of the year.

“Each institution contributes unique expertise and services to children and young adults with cancer and blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, hemophilia and anemia. The new hospital presents a great opportunity to develop a true pediatric Center of Excellence,” said Martin L. Brecher, MD, Chair of Pediatrics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Chief of Hematology Oncology at Women & Children’s Hospital and Chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics at the University at Buffalo.

James R. Kaskie, President and CEO of Kaleida Health stated that “Together, and in conjunction with the University at Buffalo academic programs, we will jointly operate a center of excellence for children with cancer and blood diseases where expert clinical services are provided, innovative and pioneering research is advanced to find a cure and improve treatment options, and current and future health care professionals are trained and educated.”

“Management of cancer is best provided in facilities where hospital inpatient beds and outpatient facilities are in close proximity. The relocation of the children’s hospital to the medical campus provides the opportunity to pull together what have been two physically separate outpatient and inpatient units into a single, expanded service comprehensive facility to serve the needs of children of all ages with blood diseases and cancer,” said Donald L. Trump, MD, President and CEO of RPCI.

Each institution’s respective Board of Directors recognizes that the relocation of the WCHOB to the BNMC presents a unique opportunity to take an excellent pediatric hematology oncology program and make it extraordinary by bringing all the services together in a new state-of-the-art hospital. Philanthropic support for the hospital and for the pediatric hematology oncology center will be required to make the program consolidation a reality.

The 12-story, 430,000 sq. ft. John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital is scheduled to open in 2016.

Research Shows Effectiveness of New Biomarker to Measure Prostate Tumors

New Research Uncovers Promising New Biomarker for Aggressiveness of Prostate CancerRoswell Park-led effort found increased levels of serum glutamate in both primary and metastatic prostate tumors

Research out of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) supports the adoption of a new biomarker to measure the aggressiveness of primary prostate tumors. A team of investigators from three institutions, led by Shahriar Koochekpour, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Cancer Genetics, Urology and Oncology in RPCI’s Department of Cancer Genetics, has for the first time produced data showing that levels of serum glutamate, a naturally occurring nonessential amino acid that plays a key role in cancer metabolism, are increased in patients with primary and metastatic prostate cancer.

Collaborators included James L. Mohler, MD, Gissou Azabdaftari, MD, and Kristopher Attwood, PhD, from RPCI; Robert L. Vessella, PhD, from the University of Washington School of Medicine; and Oliver Sartor, MD, from Tulane Cancer Center and the Tulane University School of Medicine. In a study involving 366 men, the team measured serum glutamate levels in 60 healthy adult males, 197 with primary prostate cancer and 109 with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer — cancer that progresses following androgen depletion therapy.

“Comparing normal, primary and metastatic prostate cancer tissues, we discovered that glutamate receptor is expressed at very high levels in primary and metastatic tumors, but at very weak or undetectable levels in benign prostate tissues,” notes Dr. Koochekpour. “And serum glutamate was detected at increased levels proportional to Gleason score, the standard index for rating prostate cancer aggressiveness and prognosis in patients with primary tumors.”

The researchers also demonstrated, for the first time, that glutamate deprivation significantly decreases the growth, migration and invasiveness of prostate cancer cell lines, suggesting potential clinical wp-contentlications. They also report that the glutamate antagonist riluzole (Rilutek), a well-tolerated oral medicine used for mood and anxiety disorders, depression and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), induces cell death while inhibiting the progression and motility of human prostate cancer cells.

“We detected one major difference between African-Americans and Caucasians in the study,” Dr. Koochekpour notes. “In African-Americans, serum glutamate levels were higher among those men with metastatic disease than in those with primary prostate cancer, and we didn’t see that trend in Caucasian men. This finding may implicate a role for glutamate metabolism in inter-racial disparities of prostate cancer.”

Dr. Koochekpour and colleagues are currently conducting a preclinical study assessing the effectiveness of riluzole in preventing growth of human prostate cancer cells in animal models, and hope to build on these results in the clinical setting within the next 12-18 months. The paper, “Serum Glutamate Levels Correlate with Gleason Score and Glutamate Blockade Decreases Proliferation, Migration, and Invasion and Induces Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells,” was published October 16 in Clinical Cancer Research and can be accessed at http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2012/10/10/1078-0432.CCR-12-1308.

Annie Deck-Miller; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org; 716-845-8593

'Know Your Stats' Promotes Prostate Cancer Screening for 2nd Year

Roswell Park, Buffalo Bills Team up on ‘Know Your Stats’ Awareness Campaign for Second YearAmerica’s first cancer center, Bills partner to host prostate cancer screening clinic at Ralph Wilson Stadium

One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but with early detection, about 90 percent of these cancers will be cured. Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the Buffalo Bills are encouraging men over 50, or those 40 and over with risk factors such as a family history of the disease, to get informed about prostate cancer and talk with their doctor about whether early detection is right for them.

For the second consecutive year, RPCI and the Bills are hosting the Prostate Cancer Early Diagnosis Outreach Clinic, a free prostate cancer education and screening event, in connection with the American Urological Association Foundation’s Know Your Stats about Prostate Cancer® campaign. RPCI doctors will be performing free screenings that will include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and digital rectal exams (DRE) for eligible men at the event on Tuesday, October 23rd from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ralph Wilson Stadium located at 1 Bills Drive in Orchard Park.

Special wp-contentearances will be made throughout the event by the Buffalo Jills, Buffalo Bills alumni and Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver David Nelson. Tours of Ralph Wilson Stadium will be offered for attendees, who will also be eligible to win raffle prizes.

Men planning to attend the clinic should call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or complete the online registration form at http://www.roswellpark.org/knowyourstats. From that site, visitors can also access ads featuring Bills wide receiver David Nelson, whose father is a prostate cancer survivor.

On-the-Spot Mammograms and Breast Cancer Education at Patient Voices Network Event

Free wellness event and walk are sponsored by Patient Voices Network, a network of patient action teams, established by UB Family Medicine and Jericho Road Ministries
A free breast cancer awareness walk and wellness event will be held Saturday, October 13 at 10 a.m. in Masten Park by the Patient Voices Network. The network is a patient empowerment partnership between the University at Buffalo Department of Family Medicine, and patients from UBMD Family Medicine at Jefferson and Jericho Road Family Practice.

The 1.6 mile walk will start at 10 a.m. at the Best Street entrance to Masten Park, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. The wellness event begins at 11 a.m. in Masten Park. Health care providers will be available to talk to participants and there will also be information on breast health, breast cancer and screening. Healthy snacks and free T-shirts will be distributed.

On-site screening mammograms will be available for women who have a prescription and who pre-register by calling WNY Breast Health at 1-855-464-7465, prior to the event.   Free services through the Cancer Services Program are available for the uninsured. Those who are unable to get screened on Oct. 13 will be provided with an wp-contentointment for another day.

The idea for the event originated with members of the Patient Voices Network, which was formed by the UB Primary Care Research Institute of the Department of Family Medicine and Jericho Road Ministries. In the network, patients living with chronic illness work together to improve primary care and to boost the rate of cancer screenings at the network’s practice partners, Jericho Road Family Practice and UBMD Family Medicine at Jefferson, which is operated by the UB Department of Family Medicine.

“We were talking about how everyone knows what the pink ribbon means, but to really reach people on Buffalo’s East Side, we would need to put on an event right in the community,” says Laurene Tumiel-Berhalter, PhD, associate professor of family medicine and director of community translational research at the Primary Care Research Institute in UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “We started talking about walking right down Jefferson Avenue, bringing people out of their homes to join us and to get screened for breast cancer.”

According to Tumiel-Berhalter, patients and providers were committed to making sure that both the walk and the event be free in order to ensure the highest possible participation rate. Those who want to donate to breast cancer research will be able to do so; gift bags for participants will include information on how to donate.

“This is not a fundraiser,” she stresses. “This is an event we are holding to educate people on the East Side about breast cancer and to screen them for it.”

The free walk and event are being made possible by grants to the Patient Voices Network from the Western New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and from the New York State Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

During the event, women who have pre-registered will be screened at the WNY Breast Health’s Mobile Mammography Unit, which will be stationed in Masten Park.  Additional screenings will take place on Oct. 18, when the unit will be stationed in front of UBMD Family Medicine at Jefferson and UBMD Gynecology Obstetrics, 1315 Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo.

Throughout the rest of the fall, women will have additional opportunities to receive mammograms. The unit will be stationed at Jericho Road Family Practice, 184 Barton St., Buffalo, on the fourth Tuesday of every month and at Jericho Road Family Practice, 1609 Genesee St. on the third Tuesday of every month. To pre-register, call 1-855-464-7465.

“By stationing the mammography machines in such convenient and visible locations, we hope that as many people as possible in the community will get screened,” says Tumiel-Berhalter.

If a screening indicates that further tests are necessary, patients will be referred to an wp-contentropriate health care provider if they do not already have one.

The need for breast cancer education in minority communities is urgent, says Tumiel-Berhalter, because:

–Among African-American women, breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of death;

–African-American women have a higher incidence rate of breast cancer before age 40 and are more likely to die from it at every age than are non-Hispanic, white women;

–While mortality rates decreased for white breast cancer patients from 1975 to 2003, they actually increased for African-American women.

The Patient Voices Network began with a grant Tumiel-Berhalter received from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health. She used the grant to develop an organization in which patients could promote ways to improve primary care in their community by helping one another. The response from patients was so enthusiastic that the group, which began meeting monthly, now meets on a weekly basis. The network provides education and assistance in the community for patients with diabetes and, with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, has promoted colorectal cancer events and screenings.  More information on the network is here: http://www.fammed.buffalo.edu/patientvoices.

Ellen Goldbaum (UB); goldbaum@buffalo.edu; 716.645.4605; @egoldbaum

Investigational Brain Cancer Vaccine to Be Tested in Phase I Roswell Park Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 27, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org

Investigational Brain Cancer Vaccine to Be Tested in Phase I Roswell Park Study
Peptide vaccine targets cancer survival protein, putting tumor cells in a Catch 22

BUFFALO — A new clinical research study at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) will test a first-of-its-kind cancer “vaccine” that may prove effective against many forms of solid-tumor cancers. The vaccine, to be investigated in a trial involving patients with brain cancer, generates an immune response that wp-contentears to put the target molecule, the cancer survival protein survivin, into a bind it can’t escape.

The peptide vaccine, developed at Roswell Park by Robert Fenstermaker, MD, and Michael Ciesielski, PhD, is based upon a specially engineered small protein molecule called a “peptide mimic.” Dr. Fenstermaker is principal investigator of the phase I clinical research study, which will test the safety and immunological effects of the vaccine in patients with two types of brain cancer: glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and anaplastic glioma. Called SurVaxM, the injectable vaccine will initially be given in four doses to nine patients.

Survivin, produced by at least 80% of cancers, is a protein that helps cancer cells to survive under stressful conditions. It is present only in diseased cells, which are caught in an unwinnable situation when exposed to the vaccine.

“SurVaxM puts cancer cells in a Catch 22,” says Dr. Fenstermaker, who is Chair of RPCI’s Department of Neurosurgery and Director of the Institute’s Neuro-Oncology Program. “The vaccine kills tumor cells that express survivin. If the cells turn survivin off to escape the vaccine, they’re essentially committing suicide.”

The engineered peptide used in the vaccine is able to stimulate an immune response because the cancer recognizes it as a foreign molecule.

“We arrived at this peptide through reverse immunology,” notes Dr. Ciesielski. “We knew we wanted to target survivin because it is expressed by so many tumors. We looked at many survivin peptides trying to find the best one to use as our vaccine. Once we identified one that looked promising, we engineered it to be more potent and produce a better response by enlisting multiple arms of the immune system.”

In preclinical studies, the vaccine was effective against several cancers, including gliomas and prostate, ovarian, breast and kidney tumors that produce survivin. Studies in which human glioma, lymphoma and leukemia cells were exposed to the vaccine outside the body also produced a strong response. “In those earlier studies, the response was persistent,” Dr. Ciesielski says. “It wp-contentears that the vaccine continues to provide lasting immunity after the tumor has been eliminated.”

Roughly 15,000 people are newly diagnosed with glioblastomas and anaplastic gliomas in the U.S. every year. These cancers are very difficult to treat, and are often fatal.

“Survival rates for malignant gliomas have improved modestly over the last two decades, but better therapies are desperately needed,” Dr. Fenstermaker says. “We’re anxious to move ahead with this study and, hopefully, go on to larger studies in the years ahead, but we first have to show that this is a safe and well-tolerated drug for a group of terrible diseases.”

Because they enlist the body’s own cells to fight cancer, immune-based therapies generally have few adverse side effects. The trial is the fourth clinical research study launched through RPCI’s Center for Immunotherapy this year.

The study is National Cancer Institute trial no. NCT01250470. For more information about SurVaxM and this new phase I research study, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

Ciesielski and Fenstermaker credit early seed funding from donations with helping to move their research forward and generating additional dollars in new grant funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (R21 NS049309-01) and the American Cancer Society. Additional support from The Jayne and Phil Hubbell Family was instrumental in advancing the team’s research.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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Editor’s note: Photo caption: Robert Fenstermaker, MD, left, and Michael Ciesielski, PhD. Video interview with Drs. Fenstermaker and Ciesielski available at https://vimeo.com/48443468. For additional photos and multimedia, including B-roll video, send request to: annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org.

RPCI Scientists Publish Findings About Novel Anticancer Agent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2012
Contact: Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org

RPCI Scientists Publish Findings About Novel Anticancer Agent
Camptothecin analog FL118 shown to inhibit production of key cancer survival genes

BUFFALO — Some 500,000 people die of cancer in the United States each year, often because their cancers have become resistant to wp-contentroved therapies. Scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) have made headway in the effort to overcome resistance to treatment, publishing findings about a novel cancer drug that has been shown to inhibit several genes associated with the ability of cancer cells to survive and reproduce.

A team led by Fengzhi Li, PhD, Associate Professor of Oncology in RPCI’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, assessed the antitumor effects of FL118, a camptothecin analog that is structurally similar to irinotecan and topotecan, in preclinical studies.

The ability of cancers to resist treatment with chemotherapy or radiation is rooted in the tendency of tumor cells to overproduce key genes that enable cancer cells to survive, such as survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP and cIAP2. Dr. Li and his colleagues found that FL118 inhibits expression of these genes in cancer cells and ultimately causes those tumor cells to die.

They also found that cancer cells die in the presence of FL118 even when the cells contained no p53, a key tumor-suppressing gene product. Because this protein is functionally eliminated in many cancers, it is important that cancer cells are sensitive to FL118 regardless of their p53 function. Preclinical studies showed a complete loss of detectable tumor mass in animal models following treatment with FL118, even for tumors that did not express “wild-type” p53 — a level of efficacy rarely seen with standard cancer therapies.

Importantly, FL118 was equally effective against tumor cells that are not normally considered to be resistant to therapy, and showed no wp-contentarent toxicity at these therapeutic levels.

“Our studies show that FL118 may become a superior option for effective control of both early and late-stage cancer, with or without metastasis,” said Dr. Li. “We still need to identify the exact biochemical targets as well as the pharmacokinetic and toxicological profile for FL118 before it goes into clinical studies, but we are encouraged by the implications of these compelling preclinical findings.”

The paper, “A Novel Small Molecule FL118 That Selectively Inhibits Survivin, Mcl-1, XIAP and cIAP2 in a p53-Independent Manner, Shows Superior Antitumor Activity,” published September 19 in PLOS ONE, is available at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045571.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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Medications Can Help with Smoking Cessation

A new study conducted by researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) shows that FDA-wp-contentroved stop-smoking medications can help smokers who desire to quit. By using the stop-smoking medications, the chances of quitting successfully increase.
The study was published online in the British journal Addiction. Clinical trials have shown that medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion and varenicline have been effective even though population-based studies have produced mixed results on effectiveness when medications are used outside the confines of a research study.

The International Tobacco Control (ITC) research collaboration has administered one of the largest real-world evaluations of medication effectiveness conducted to-date. They are also the first to comprehensively control biases in participants’ recall of quit attempts. The study tracked the smoking behaviors of more than 2,500 adult smokers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States who reported making a quit attempt between 2006 and 2009. The participants were asked how recently they had attempted to quit and whether they used any type of stop-smoking medication. Six-month continuous abstinence among those who recalled making a very recent quit attempt was assessed at the next follow-up interview. The results showed that those who used varenicline, bupropion or the nicotine patch had much higher quit success at six months compared to those who tried to quit without using medication.

“By restricting our analyses to those who made very recent quit attempts, we reduced the extent to which differences in quit-attempt recall could bias the estimates of medication effectiveness. Consistent with the strong evidence from clinical trials, our findings show that medications are indeed effective in increasing smokers’ chances of quitting when used in the real world,” said Karin Kasza, MA, statistician in the Division of Cancer Prevention & Population Sciences at RPCI and lead author of the study.

Ron Borland, PhD, Nigel Gray Distinguished Fellow in Cancer Prevention at the Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, Australia and a co-author of the study, added, “The major advance of this study is that we have been able to show that greater forgetting of unassisted failed attempts is the most likely reason other studies have not found a benefit for medication in population-based settings. This finding should reassure clinicians and public health workers to continue to encourage the widespread use of medications.”

“Despite the benefit of using medications, many smokers still try to quit without help. And even when medications are used, quitting smoking is hard, and relapses are common. Continued efforts are needed to develop and deliver more effective treatments to help smokers who want to quit,” said Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of the Department of Health Behavior at RPCI.

The study, “Effectiveness of Stop-Smoking Medications: Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Four Country Survey,” can be accessed at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.04009.x/abstract

Ride for Roswell Raises $3.7 Million

In its 17th year, the 2012 Ride for Roswell annual fundraiser held on June 23rd raised $3.7 million, which is $500,000 more than the amount raised for 2011’s Ride. The event which began at the University at Buffalo’s North Campus had over 10,000 supporters. With more than 8,000 cyclists who took one of the ten route options, participants had a great time at the event. Pictures from The Ride show a range of cyclists showing their support.
Over time, millions of dollars have been raised to support cancer research and patient care at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). This year’s funds will support 25 lifesaving cancer research studies and 30 patient care programs, bringing RPCI closer to its goal to fully fund a new building that will house a new breast center and chemotherapy clinic.

For the first time, an opening ceremony kicked off the event on June 22nd. The opening ceremony honored and celebrated cancer patients, survivors and those who have lost a battle with cancer. The event featured remarks by cancer research advocate and former Buffalo Bills linebacker Chris Spielman and a live concert by Grammy winner Rick Springfield.

 

Roswell Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology to Speak at BUILD of Buffalo Convention

Dr. Kunle Odunsi will give the opening address at the BUILD (Build Unity, Independence, Liberty & Dignity) of Buffalo Convention. The convention will take place June 1-2. The theme for the event is “Closing the Gap: Healthcare is a Civil Right…Not a Privilege” which will explore access to health care, employment, education, economic development.  He is the Chair of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Director of the Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Dr. Odunisi earned his medical degree from the University of Ife in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He completed his postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. After completing a research fellowship in molecular oncology, he earned a doctoral degree at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories overseas from the University of Oxford. He also completed a residency at the Yale University School of Medicine, and a clinical fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Roswell.

BUILD of Buffalo’s two-day event will mark its 18th annual convention. The address will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, June 1, at the Friends Inc. Center located at 118 East Utica Street. Dr. Odunsi will discuss his path toward a career as a physician and researcher working to develop vaccine therapies to treat cancer, and give perspectives on how to close the gap on healthcare disparities.

Having partnered with Roswell before to promote health and improve the quality of life for the region’s residents, BUILD now looks to tackle another joint initiative that supports responsible tobacco retailing by limiting the advertising of tobacco products in delis and convenience stores. BUILD has also partnered with Roswell Park’s Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research to bring awareness of cancer screening and treatment programs to the minority community.

Additional 2-day event speakers:

LaVonne Ansari, PhD, of the Community Health Center of Buffalo

Rev. George Franklin Nicholas of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church

Charley H. Fisher III, BUILD President.

For more information and to register, call 716-650-8889.

Registration (breakfast included): $20 for individual attendees, $50 for families (up to five people) and $100 for groups of six or more.

 

BNMC Becomes a Tobacco-Free Zone

As the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus continues to promote healthy lifestyles and sustainable environments, on July 4 the Medical Campus will officially be declared a tobacco-free zone across its 120 acre footprint which spans from Goodell Street to North Street and east-west from Michigan Avenue to Main Street. The tobacco-free adoption wp-contentlies to all of the BNMC’s employees, visitors, patients, vendors, contractors and will not be permitted on any of the BNMC properties.
Many of the member institutions such as the Buffalo Medical Group, Kaleida Health, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the University at Buffalo have already declared that their sites are tobacco-free zones. Working with the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, BNMC created a tobacco-free plan that included data from campus employees about their receptiveness for creating a tobacco-free campus. There was a great deal of support from many of the employees who took the survey since a major reason mentioned for choosing to work at one of the medical and research institutions was to help create healthier environments.

This adoption will affect more than 1 million patients and visitors, as well as the 12,000 employees and students. Secondhand smoke is a dangerous contributor to tobacco-related health issues. Residents that live near the BNMC will be influenced by this change as well, ceasing the litter that builds up on neighboring properties. To continue to show dedication to becoming a good neighbor promoting healthy communities, a detailed implementation strategy will be established in order to promote and enforce the initiative.

For information about tobacco cessation resources, please visit the NYS Department of Health Tobacco Control Program and the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition websites.

Read coverage about the adoption below:

City Hall Looks to Broaden New Tobacco Ban on Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is Now Smoke Free

Medical Corridor Snuffs Out Smoking

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Going Tobacco-free

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to Ban Smoking

Medical Campus Wants to Expand Smoking Ban

Smoking Banned at Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Roswell Park Cancer Institute Unveils New ICU

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) unveiled its new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that fuses state-of-the-art technology with patient-centered design to provide optimal care for patients with the most sensitive medical needs.
The ICU is 8,000 sq. ft. and is located on the eighth floor of RPCI’s main building. It is 40% larger than the already-existing ICU, created for the specific purpose of anticipating future growth. The design of the relocated unit was based on industry best practices and extensive input from RPCI’s clinical-operations team. Laura Shoemaker, a Senior Planner from RPCI’s Facilities and Planning Department, incorporated warm, soothing earth tones, with circle and arc themes in order to help convey connectedness and comfort to the patients and visitors. An included  feature in the patient rooms is the large windows which help provide natural lighting in accordance with New York State Department of Health requirements in addition to breathtaking views of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and downtown Buffalo.

The floor plan allows staff to work more efficiently, promoting safety and adaptability as patient monitoring is enhanced through the multifunctional modular boom units, automated lifts and zoned lighting.

For  more information, please visit the RPCI’s Web site.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute Honors Dedicated Volunteers at Annual Recognition Event

President and CEO, Dr. Donald Trump, with three volunteers who were honored for longstanding service as RPCI volunteers.

For more than half a century, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has recognized its volunteers who have given numerous hours of service to the efforts toRPCI’s mission to understand, prevent and cure cancer. At the 56th Annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon volunteers were shown wp-contentreciation at the luncheon through an awards ceremony on April 24 at the Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga.

More than 100 volunteers were honored, including those who have reached milestones of giving 100 hours to 30 years of service. The loyal and dedicated volunteers make up a wide-range age demographic and offer their skills at various events throughout the year.

In 2011, 704 volunteers gave nearly 85,000 hours of service to RPCI. Many of the volunteers perform more than one act of service offering their time and talents. Some can be found greeting patients and visitors as they enter RPCI, while others can be found answering questions at the information desk. They provide comfort amenities to people sitting in the waiting room and provide “helping hands” wherever needed.

Roswell Park Cancer Institute Receives Grant from Lance Armstrong Foundation

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) was recognized for its efforts to fight cancer. As a LIVESTRONG® Community Impact Project finalist and award recipient, RPCI will use the $10, 000 grant that comes with the award for the improvement of its Palliative Care services that the center provides.
RPCI and the University at Buffalo invited Lance Armstrong to be a speaker for the 25th Anniversary University at Buffalo Distinguished Speaker Series. For more information about the event, click here.

Read more about the LIVESTRONG® Community Impact Project and RPCI.

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