John Roberts Named Director of Sickle Cell Program at Smilow
I am happy to announce that Dr. John Roberts has accepted a position to lead the Adult Sickle Cell Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital; he will be a member of the medical oncology faculty. Dr. Roberts will also care for patients in the Prostate and Urologic Cancers Program. Dr. Roberts is a highly experienced clinical/translational investigator who will be wonderful addition to the section of medical oncology as we expand our offering of personalized clinical studies.
Dr. Roberts joins us from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is past interim chair of the division of hematology, oncology, and palliative care and past co-director of the VCU Adult Sickle Cell Program. At VCU's Massey Cancer Center, Dr. Roberts was Associate Director for Clinical Research and Director of the Clinical Protocol and Data Management Shared Resource. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his Medical Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Patient Satisfaction in Smilow
Catherine Lyons, Clinical Program Director and Director of Oncology Nursing at Smilow Cancer Hospital, gave an update on the Press Ganey patient satisfaction survey scores at our semi-annual Town Hall Meeting in February. Cathy reported that our outpatient oncology patient satisfaction scores remain at greater than 90%, with nearly 7,000 patient visits to Smilow Cancer Hospital per month.
Our HCAHPS scores are at 79% overall for the inpatient units at Smilow and we will continue to work on improving on the measures, including maintaining a quiet environment for our patients, responsiveness of staff, and communication with nurses and doctors. For the first quarter, NP 11 and 15 our overall Press Ganey scores were in the 99th percentile, when compared to our peers, and NP 14 followed closely behind at 96th percentile. NP 12 was in the 83rd percentile.
It is important to note, the Press Ganey Outpatient Priority Index for the last quarter of 2011 highlighted the following concerns from patients as most important:
Emotional needs addressed
Information we shared with you to manage
Sensitivity to difficulty/inconvenience
Explanations regarding managing radiation therapy side effects
Inclusion in treatment decisions
Kept family informed as to what to expect
Explanations what to expect during radiation therapy
Community resources information
Staff explained roles in care
James Watson to Give Lecture on Tuesday
Please join Yale Cancer Center and the Molecular Virology Program for a special lecture by James Watson, PhD on Tuesday, March 20 at 5:30 PM in Harkness Auditorium. Dr. Watson will present Curing Incurable Cancer.
I hope that many of you are planning to attend the annual American Association for Cancer Research meeting from March 31 - April 4 in Chicago. If you have an abstract or poster accepted for presentation and will be attending the meeting, please contact Renee Gaudette with the title and type of presentation you will be making.
The Yale-Gilead Proposal for Research Support
On behalf of Yossi Schlessinger, Rick Lifton, and myself, members of the Steering Committee that manages the Yale-Gilead collaboration, I am pleased to invite you to propose research ideas for consideration for funding under the Yale-Gilead collaboration.
We would like to invite transformative ideas in the following areas of cancer biology:
- Identification of new targets in cancer therapy based on sequencing of tumor DNA
- Novel siRNA screening for cancer 'driver' genes
- Synthetic lethal analysis
- Other transformative ideas
Applicants must provide a one-paragraph description of the proposed study. Ideas that align with the mission of the collaboration will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal with a budget. The final date for submission is March 31, 2012.
I hope you will join my family and me at this year's Closer to Free Bike Ride on September 8, 2012. Riders will have the option of a 25, 65, or 100 mile route - all starting and ending at the Yale Bowl. Last year's event was a lot of fun, and we hope to make this year's even bigger and better. The fundraising commitment is $500.
Anti-smoking campaigns have saved over 800,000 lives
More than 800,000 lives were saved in the United States between 1975 and 2000 thanks to anti-smoking measures, according to a new study that used a Yale mathematical model to quantify for the first time the impact of anti-smoking measures on lung cancer. The authors also note that 2.5 million people who died from smoking-related lung cancer in this same period might have survived if stricter tobacco control measures had been in effect. The study appears online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Led by Yale Cancer Center member, Theodore Holford, PhD, Professor of Biostatistics at Yale School of Public Health, researchers from more than a dozen universities and institutes formed the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) consortium and used various mathematical models, including one developed at Yale, to analyze trends in cigarette smoking and quantify the impact of various tobacco control measures. Detailed cigarette smoking histories were recreated for generations dating back to 1890, and significant events, such as the U.S. surgeon general's landmark report on the dangers of tobacco use in the mid 1960s, were factored in.
Using Yale's mathematical model to calculate smoking rates, the researchers found that this gradual reduction in smoking over a 25-year period beginning in 1975 resulted in approximately 824,000 fewer lung cancer deaths, 603,000 of which were among men. Models used by other teams produced similar results, showing tobacco control averted about one-third of potentially avoidable lung cancer deaths.
Assistant Professor of Pathology and a member of the Yale Cancer Center Signal Transduction Research Program, has been awarded a 2012-2014 Young Investigator Award from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) to support his research on metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. Dr. Nguyen will receive $80,000 over two years.
Seth Herzon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and a member of the Yale Cancer Center Developmental Therapeutics Research Program, has been awarded a 2012 Sloan Research Fellowship, given to early career scientists whose achievements identify them as rising stars. Dr. Herzon will receive a $50,000 grant to further his research.
Debra Reynolds has been hired as a new Clinical Operations Supervisor for the 4th floor multispecialty care centers in Smilow Cancer Hospital. Debra will report to Michelle Wilson.
The nursing team at Smilow Cancer Hospital will have two abstracts highlighted at the annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress in New Orleans in May. Marianne Davies and Monica Fradkin will present a poster presentation titled, "
Smilow Society - An Oncology Nursing Journal Club to Promote Research Dissemination" and Eileen Dehm will present "From Clinical Trials to Commercial Use: New Oncology Drugs and the Oncology Nurse Coordinator Role in an Outpatient Clinic Setting."
Nicholas Theodosakis, a third year MD/PhD student in the lab of Marcus Bosenberg, has received a $10,000 scholarship award from the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation.
TOP Retreat a Success
On Saturday, March 3, members of the Thoracic Oncology Program gathered at the Maurice R. Greenberg Conference Center for a retreat organized by Drs. Detterbeck, Tanoue, Herbst, and Boyer. The morning session featured presentations summarizing clinical, basic, and translational research programs, including the lung cancer screening program, the lung cancer biorepository, and the recently-awarded T-TARE program. The afternoon session was dedicated to strategic planning with a focus on three-year goals. More than 50 members, including representatives from the YNHH administration, attended this productive meeting, which provided momentum for new initiatives in the coming months.
Melanoma CME Symposium
Members of the Melanoma Program presented a CME dinner symposium last night in the 4th floor conference rooms of Smilow Cancer Hospital. Yale faculty welcomed over 75 physicians and healthcare providers from around the region and reviewed the latest information on surgical options, immunotherapies, genetics, and new clinical trials for the treatment of melanoma. This was the second in a four-part Oncology CME Series in 2012 hosted by Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. The next symposium will be on May 10th and will highlight advances from the Thoracic Oncology Program.
Employee Profile: Mary Crooks
The Employee Profile recognizes the diverse contributions made by Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital staff have to meet our patient care, research, education, and outreach goals. The staff profiled are examples of the great work being done here, and the dedication and values we possess. To suggest someone to be profiled, please contact Emily Fenton.
Clinical Social Worker, Mary Crooks, MSW, LCSW, is assigned to the Stem Cell Transplant Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital and works with patients, and their families, undergoing autologous or allogeneic transplants. Her role is to assess psychosocial needs, and based on that assessment, provide the appropriate interventions.
"I follow a continuity of care model," commented Mary. "I see patients from the moment their physician decides that a stem cell transplant is the best treatment option for them, until they no longer need my support. Sometimes a patient's condition can become chronic, for example if they develop Graft-Versus-Host Disease, and in that case I am there to work with them for an extended period of time."
Mary has been an oncology social worker at Yale for 9 years, but has been in the field of medical/oncology social work since 1984. Personal family experience guided her towards wanting to help patients with a serious illness. She explained that she is very fortunate to be working with such a dedicated and compassionate team. Although her work can be challenging at times, Mary is amazed every day at the strength and resilience of her patients.
Bonnie Indeck, LCSW, Manager of Oncology Social Work at Smilow Cancer Hospital commented, "People undergoing transplant and their families feel safe in Mary's hands, knowing that she is taking care of them throughout the continuum of their treatment. Mary assists with varying needs, whether it is counseling for the patient and family, facilitating open communication, advocacy and / or connecting them to appropriate community resources. They feel able to go to her at any point and are grateful for her caring, knowledge and skill, as I am."
Avon Foundation 2012 GrantsScientific Research
The current research priority areas for the Avon Foundation are:
Understanding causes of breast cancer and research to develop new preventative strategies
Understanding the role of endogenous and exogenous environmental factors in the development of breast cancer
Understanding whether viruses or infectious agents play a role in breast cancer
Validation of biomarkers of breast cancer risk
Development or validation of clinically applicable assays or diagnostic tests that are predictive of breast cancer risk or that can be used to monitor changes in breast health over time
Please note that LOIs are due no later than April 2.
Safety Net Program/Access to Diagnostics and Care
The Avon Foundation Safety Net Program supports community hospitals to enable medically underserved women to access post-screening diagnostics and care.
In 2012 there will be a two-stage process requiring all applicants to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). Following LOI review, a small subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal.
Receipt dates are determined by the institution's geographic location and are the dates by which the electronic copies must be received in the online grant submission system.
Breast Cancer Alliance Young Investigator Grant Program
The Breast Cancer Alliance invites clinical doctors and research scientists who have been appointed to a position equivalent to Assistant Professor within three years of the appointment, and whose primary focus is breast cancer research, to apply for funding for the Young Investigator Grant.
Grant applications will be available on the BCA website on May 4, 2012.
Breast Cancer Alliance Education/Outreach Grant Program
The Breast Cancer Alliance offers grants to support programs directly related to outreach and case managerial breast cancer services, including education, counseling and mammograms for the uninsured/underserved. The programs must be located in mid to southern Connecticut and/or Westchester County, New York.
Grant applications will be available on the BCA website on May 4, 2012.
Application Deadline: July 31, 2012
Reversible Leukoencephalopathy With Stroke-Like Presentation in a Patient With 5-Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase Deficiency Treated With Continuous 5-Fluorouracil Infusion.Li J, Lee JJ, Chu E, Baehring JM.