I am pleased to announce that the Smilow Cancer Hospital Tumor Profiling Lab is open and accepting patient samples for analysis. This is a major step forward in our ability to provide our physicians and patients with access to personalized medicine with information about predicted tumor response to treatment. The lab is currently capable of high throughput genotyping of tumors for 60 mutations, with an initial focus on EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, NRAS, PIK3CA, and PTEN genes, and will increase the number of genes and mutations analyzed over time. Ultimately, the lab will offer full sequence analysis of tumor genomes for all patients treated at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Led by Jeffrey Sklar, MD, PhD, the lab consists of a senior PhD staff member who is responsible for the daily lab operations, a pathologist to oversee clinical matters associated with the laboratory, and a lab technician who performs most of the test procedures. The technology in the lab uses a TaqMan array system to amplify DNA from tissue samples and simultaneously interrogate that DNA for the presence of mutations, in a single, closed-tube step. New assays now being developed will increase the lab's ability to test for additional mutations in the near future.
The lab is presently concentrating on lung, melanoma, and colon tumor samples and will expand its services to other types of tumors beginning on November 1. Physicians interested in ordering the test for a patient should complete a requisition available through YNHH Pathology Services.
Stacey Stein Joins Yale Cancer Center
Please join me in welcoming Stacey Stein, MD to Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital. Stacey specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies and joins us from NYU Medical Center. She has been appointed as an Assistant Professor in Medical Oncology and will be a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program.
Dosimetry Assessment Now Available for Thyroid Cancer
Patients who require a high dose of Iodine-131 for thyroid cancer treatment are now able to receive a dosimetry assessment to determine the maximum dose they can tolerate in order to avoid potential long-term complications from treatment, such as leukemia or pulmonary fibrosis. Dosimetry assessments improve patient safety and are only available in Connecticut at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Patients at high risk for long-term complications from treatment include those who are scheduled for high-dose therapies (>400 mCi), patients with compromised renal functions or widespread metastatic disease, and elderly patients. David Cheng, MD, PhD, Chief of Nuclear Medicine, directs the program, and patients are seen in the Nuclear Medicine Section on the 2nd floor of Smilow Cancer Hospital. The service also offers a Nuclear Medicine Consultation Clinic on Tuesday afternoons at YPB.
For more information on the Dosimetry Assessment, or to refer a patient for consultation, please contact the Nuclear Medicine Service at (203) 200-5610.
Research in the News
Cancer's 'Addiction' Spurs New Treatment Hopes
Cancer can call upon a bewildering array of genetic tricks to wreak havoc, but Yale researchers, led by Frank Slack, PhD, Director of the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Genetics Research Program, show that the disease can become dependant upon a tiny gene that allows it to adapt and proliferate. The identification of such an "oncogene addiction" within a tumor means that researchers have a potentially new and valuable therapeutic target with the potential to cripple the deadly disease.
Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Palliative Care had Improved Quality of Life, Extended Survival
Integrating palliative care early in the treatment of patients with advanced lung cancer not only improved their mood and quality of life, it also extended their lives. In the August 19 New England Journal of Medicine, investigators report that patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received early palliative care along with standard treatment lived more than two months longer than patients receiving standard care only. Metastatic NSCLC is difficult to treat, and patients typically are expected to survive less than one year. Dr. Thomas Lynch is senior author on the paper, which documents the results of a research study done at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
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Ancient Chinese Herbal Recipe Eases Side Effects of Chemotherapy
A combination of Chinese herbs in use for more than 1,800 years reduced the gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy in mice, while actually enhancing the effects of the cancer treatment, Yale Cancer Center researchers report. The formula used in the experiment consists of four herbs, called PHY906, and is based on a herbal recipe called Huang Qin Tang, used historically to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Yung-Chi Cheng, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Co-Director of the Yale Cancer Center Developmental Therapeutics Program, is a leading expert on Chinese Herbal therapies and senior author on the paper.
Maria Wasko, RN
has been awarded the
Oncology Research Cluster Award for Clinical Excellence at Smilow Cancer Hospital
. Maria was nominated by Jacqueline Dean, along with four of the patients she regularly cares for, for her outstanding preceptor skills, for being a mentor to her colleagues, her collaborative relationship with the care team, and for implementation of evidenced-based care. Her patients praised her clinical skills, compassion, empathy, positive attitude, and great bedside manner. Maria has worked in oncology care for 15 years and has been at Yale since April 2008.
The Smilow Cancer Hospital Infusion Center 7 and Hematology Day Hospital have been recognized with a plaque from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation for having more than 50% of their nursing staff certified in oncology nursing. Certification validates that these nurses possess the specialized knowledge and experience to provide competent oncology care.
Nurses being recognized include:
Diane Dirzius, RN, OCN
Colleen Earley, RN, OCN
Maureen McGlennon, RN, OCN
Rose Mixon, RN, OCN
Joan Moore, APRN, AOCN
Laura Nemec, RN, OCN
Lee Piccirillo, RN, OCN
Erin Schuling, RN, OCN
Outpatient Physical Therapy Now Available
The YNHH Department of Rehabilitation Services is now providing outpatient physical therapy services for a wide range of oncology treatment-related needs, including lymphedema, shoulder problems after surgery for breast cancer, and neck, shoulder, and jaw issues related to surgery for cancers of the head and neck. The staff also assists patients who may be deconditioned from surgery or treatment by providing them with a progressive exercise program to help regain strength and endurance.
Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan after an evaluation, which may include manual therapy, exercise, and instruction on home-based programs. For more information about the physical therapy services, or to refer a patient, please call Lou Friedman, PT or Susan Goszewski at (203) 200-6811.
Leslie H. Warner Postdoctoral Fellowships
Yale Cancer Center announces a competition for The Leslie H. Warner Postdoctoral Fellowships to be awarded for one year commencing November 1, 2010 to fellows conducting cancer research in the laboratory of a Yale Cancer Center member. The Fellowships will support innovative basic, translational, clinical, or population-based cancer research. Preference will be given to applicants in early phases of postdoctoral training. Up to four applications will be funded.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Information and application materials may be obtained by email from Jan Zulkeski.
Connecticut Department of Public Health
The State of Connecticut Department of Public Health is seeking proposals from public and private organizations and community-based agencies to provide cancer survivorship care educational programs for cancer care providers and survivors.
Hope Funds for Cancer Research
The Hope Funds for Cancer Research is pleased to announce a request for research proposals for postdoctoral fellows working in oncology. These 2-3 year fellowships will be awarded to postdoctoral scientists commencing in 2011.
Fellowships will be awarded to scientists who propose to work on highly innovative research projects that challenge the traditional paradigms of understanding the causes, mechanisms, progression, disease markers, or risk factors of the most difficult-to-treat cancers, including pancreatic, lung, liver, sarcomas, esophageal, brain, gastric, and ovarian cancers.
Application Deadline: September 17, 2010 at 5:00 PM
The ASCO Cancer Foundation Improving Cancer Care Grant, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure
The Improving Cancer Care Grant will provide funding for research studies that implement and evaluate new ways to solve major problems in quality of, access to, and delivery of health care. Proposals must be focused on developing solutions to current problems, not just describing disparities in care that currently exist. Project Proposals must be research-focused, with specific aims and hypotheses, not a request for support of a program. Proposals are not required to focus on breast cancer, but the study findings must have general applicability to breast cancer care.
A required letter of intent is due September 1, 2010.
Epidemiological and clinical studies of nutrition.
Gibson TM, Ferrucci LM, Tangrea JA, Schatzkin A.
Semin Oncol. 2010 Jun;37(3):282-96.
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hI-con1, a factor VII-IgGFc chimeric protein targeting tissue factor for immunotherapy of uterine serous papillary carcinoma.
Cocco E, Hu Z, Richter CE, Bellone S, Casagrande F, Bellone M, Todeschini P, Krikun G, Silasi DA, Azodi M, Schwartz PE, Rutherford TJ, Buza N, Pecorelli S, Lockwood CJ, Santin AD.
Br J Cancer. 2010 Aug 10.
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Impact of Biochemical Recurrence in Prostate Cancer Among US Veterans.
Uchio EM, Aslan M, Wells CK, Calderone J, Concato J.
Arch Intern Med. 2010 Aug 9;170(15):1390-5.
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Identification of chemicals and their metabolites from PHY906, a Chinese medicine formulation, in the plasma of a patient treated with irinotecan and PHY906 using liquid chromatography/tandem mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS).
Zhang W, Saif MW, Dutschman GE, Li X, Lam W, Bussom S, Jiang Z, Ye M, Chu E, Cheng YC.
J Chromatogr A. 2010 Jul 21.
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Axitinib: The evidence of its potential in the treatment of advanced thyroid cancer.
Deshpande HA, Gettinger S, Sosa JA.
Core Evid. 2010 Jun 15;4:43-8.
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