8,000 Riders Support the 2013 Ride for Roswell

Ride for RoswellThe Ride for Roswell weekend began on June 21 at the University at Buffalo (UB) football stadium on North Campus with its 2nd annual Opening Ceremony. The weekend culminated with The Ride on June 22, raising more than $3.8 million, with 8,000 cyclists registered, 2,000 volunteers and more than 700 teams all supporting the 18th annual fundraiser to fight and eradicate cancer.
The funds raised will fund cutting-edge research and patient care programs, and a portion of the funds, $1 million, will be used to advance pediatric cancer care. In collaboration with Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Roswell Park is enhancing its specialized Pediatric Cancer Care Program to provide the very best care for families whose lives are touched by childhood cancer or blood disease.

In 2012, 7,491 riders from 475 teams helped to raise $3.8 million and more than 10,000 people came out to support the annual Roswell Park fundraiser to help advance life-saving cancer programs and research.

The Opening Ceremony kicked off with 200 Peloton riders entering the UB stadium after making the 12-mile journey through Buffalo, beginning at Carlton Street. Activities commenced for the riders, ride volunteers, survivors, VIP guests, and Extra Mile Club members (those who raised $1,000 or more) as they also were able to learn about the work being done at Roswell Park to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Clinicians, staff, and survivors from 12 Roswell Park departments were present.

Motivational speaker, Dave Dravecky, a former MLB professional who battled cancer, gave an inspirational talk to the crowd with his amazing story of hope and perseverance. Dravecky was forced to retire from his professional career as a baseball player, and ultimately, ended up losing his left pitching arm after finding out he had cancer. Grammy award-winning country singer, LeAnn Rimes  performed during the concert portion of the celebration.

On Saturday, various routes for The Ride opened, full of riders. Other routes ranging in distance started at 3 miles, going all the way up to 104 miles. Many cancer survivors and patients participated, ranging in ages and abilities, including virtual riders (a fundraiser who enjoys the same perks as riders but do not physically ride a bike).

“The Ride For Roswell supports the quest to find cures and save lives, and the money raised is so important to the funding of vital research and patient care programs that are critical to the thousands of people we treat every year,” said Donald L. Trump, MD, FACP, President and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “But its meaning goes much deeper than that for our patients, survivors, families, employees and volunteers.  It’s a chance to honor a loved one, to take action, to make a difference, to bring hope and healing to so many people whose lives have been touched by this terrible disease. We are honored that so many people in our community and beyond have chosen to stand behind Roswell Park Cancer Institute and support the important and pioneering work we do right here in Buffalo.”

For more information about the Ride and the 2013 results, visit www.rideforroswell.org.

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

RPCI Becomes Associate Member of the New York Genome Center

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) has joined the New York Genome Center (NYGC) as an Association Member to collaborate to design clinical wp-contentlications for genome sequencing in oncology.

As a leading, comprehensive national and international center for cancer research, clinical care and education, RPCI provides basic and translational research, educational programs, and multidisciplinary and compassionate patient care. RPCI also brings additional resources such as its Genomics Shared Resource, a Pathology Resource Network, Bioinformatics Shared Resource, and Data Bank and BioRepository (DBBR).

“Its unique, specialized focus on cancer research, prevention and treatment will contribute significantly toward our knowledge of disease, furthering our mission of achieving personalized medicine,” said Robert B. Darnell, President and Scientific Director of NYGC.

Offering resources like the bio banking facility, RPCI will be able to assist the NYGC in learning about genetic origins and new treatments for cancer patients. The collaboration will also serve as a catalyst for important large-scale cancer genomic studies to be conducted at NYGC with other members.

Donald Trump, MD, President and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute stated that “This partnership enhances our opportunities to extend collaborations with our colleagues throughout New York, including the New York City cancer centers, thus allowing us to bring the latest discoveries in genome science to our work to understand, prevent and cure cancer and other diseases.”

The collaboration opportunities that will come from this recent partnership will lead to resourceful and impactful research opportunities and clinical breakthroughs which will result in decreased health disparities of New York residents.

RPCI Groundbreaking for Clinical Sciences Center

Construction of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) Clinical Sciences Center kicked off today with a groundbreaking ceremony for the 11-story, 142,000-square-foot, $40 million state-of-the-art facility that will house enhanced clinical care resources to help RPCI save lives and find cures for cancer.
The Clinical Sciences Center will be located at Michigan and Carlton Streets. It is the first construction project for RPCI since 2007. It is also the first clinical expansion project underway for RPCI since 15 years ago.

The center will offer a breast center; an expanded mammography center (the capacity to conduct annual mammogram screening will increase to 10,000); a new chemo-infusion clinic; an adolescent and young adult clinic; patient education and survivorship programs to reach patients, caregivers and family members; and state-of-the-art office facilities and space for clinician-scientists to analyze data from clinical studies.

Out of the $40 million raised for the facility, $25 million was raised through the Making Room to Save Lives: The Campaign to Build a Greater Roswell Park – a Roswell Park Alliance Foundation initiative that also received $10 million from the Circle of Ten (a group of 10 Western New York business and philanthropic leaders). There were 425 donors that contributed to Phase I of the fundraising efforts, including Roswell Park employees who collectively donated more than $1 million and a $1.5 million donation from New Era Cap in November 2012.

RPCI Clinical Sciences Center Groundbreaking-1

The groundbreaking is said to put RPCI right on schedule to meet the needs of the growing number of patients served. Within the last 5 years, RPCI has experienced a 39% patient increase and a 58% rise in outpatient wp-contentointments over the last 10 years. Nationally known for its care for cancer patients, the increase is due to a number of factors including an aging population and growth in translational research breakthroughs.

In addition to being able to help patients in the future, the center will presently boost the economy by way of a Project Labor Agreement that has been wp-contentroved by 18 different local trades. This will lead to the use of  local contractors and labor for the shell, core and 4 clinical floors within the center. The Clinical Sciences Center will be responsible for the creation of more than 200 construction and 340 long-term full-time jobs.

The building, which will also be connected to the adjacent main RPCI hospital, is expected to be completed in 2015.

*Pictures from retrieved from RPCI Web site

Light Smokers Benefit from Nicotine-Replacement Medications

75% of smokers in Roswell Park-led study said offer of free cessation medication ‘very important’ to quit effort

Light daily smokers, those who smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, have greater success quitting when provided stop-smoking medications and assisted by counselors. Those are the key conclusions of research conducted by scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the Medical University of South Carolina and published in the latest issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

While the number of light smokers is increasing, most studies have focused on the benefits of counseling and nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) for moderate and heavy smokers. This study found that light smokers who contacted a telephone quitline are typically interested in using NRT and achieve higher quit rates than those who were not offered NRT.

“While many studies have demonstrated the efficacy of nicotine medications for smoking cessation, very few have examined these questions in lighter smokers, as we have done,” says Martin Mahoney, PhD, MD, Associate Professor in the departments of Health Behavior and Medicine at RPCI and senior study author. “A unique strength of this study is the use of an experimental design implemented in a real world community setting of a state quitline.”

The study evaluated long-term quitting success among 1,365 adult tobacco users who smoked less than 10 cigarettes daily and who contacted the New York State Smokers’ Quitline for assistance between January and July 2010. All smokers received two calls from trained stop-smoking counselors, and about half of the smokers were provided with stop-smoking medications.

Nearly all the light smokers offered the free nicotine medications wanted the medications, and 75% of smokers rated the offer of a free supply of NRT as very important to their quit effort. The quit rates measured at seven months were 20% higher in the group offered the NRT (33%) compared with those who received only counseling (27.2%).

“These findings demonstrate that low-level daily smokers are interested in and benefit from using NRT when they make a quit attempt,” said Laurie Krupski, first author on the study and a Training and Development Coordinator in the Department of Health Behavior at RPCI.

“Smoking cessation is a highly cost-effective intervention because the health consequences of smoking are enormously expensive and compound over time. This study demonstrates that quitline counseling in combination with NRT is a good return on investment,” said K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH, Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina.

This work was supported in part by the New York State Department of Health and by the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Center Support Grant to RPCI (P30CA016056).

The study, “Nicotine Replacement Therapy Distribution to Light Daily Smokers Calling a Quitline,” is available at http://goo.gl/dUiio.

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

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

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