Cancer Currents for April 2013

News and Notes from the Director
Photo: Mark Israel, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center

A major responsibility of Norris Cotton Cancer Center is to provide outstanding technology for patient care and research.

Radiation oncology is one modality of cancer treatment that is particularly dependent on advanced technologies, and we are committed to continuously upgrading our facilities so we can deliver the most effective radiation therapy possible. Our most recent addition is the TrueBeam, a linear accelerator from Varian Medical Systems.

With this new technology we can perform real time imaging during dose delivery, so the patient's position can be monitored throughout the treatment. Because of this, sites that require high levels of precision to minimize radiation exposure to adjacent normal tissues (such as cancer in the spinal column near the spinal cord) can now be treated more effectively.

The TrueBeam can be synchronized to respiratory motion, so the beam is allowed to turn on only when the patient has exhaled, lengthening the treatment time. TrueBeam can now deliver doses four times faster than other radiation delivery systems, making it easier for patients to receive therapy, and hopefully increasing patient satisfaction.

In the area of cancer research a major strategy for better understanding how tumors arise and how they will respond to treatment has been to determine the DNA sequence of all genes present in tumor cells.

This strategy originated with the Human Genome Project, which first revealed the DNA sequence of normal cells. This 13-year project, involving hundreds of individuals and costing several billion dollars, will soon be reduced to a technology that provides the complete tumor genome DNA sequence in a matter of hours for several thousand dollars.

Emerging technologies are also transforming cancer research. Norris Cotton Cancer Center has repeatedly upgraded its DNA sequencing technology to support the cutting-edge investigative work being conducted by our faculty. The recent addition of an Ion Torrent platform allows us to sequence entire genomes on a routine basis, so we can identify the changes in gene structure, mutations, and even gene expression that are becoming increasingly important not only in cancer research, but in diagnosing and treating cancer patients.

The availability of cutting edge technology provides both our researchers and our patient care teams with the opportunity to excel and to provide leadership for national efforts to improve the diagnosis and care of cancer patients. In this manner we serve the entire community of cancer patients nationwide, while providing the best care possible for patients at NCCC.

Mark Israel, Director

Budget Cuts and Medical Research Funding

Federally funded medical research could be cut sharply as a result of the sequestration broad budget cuts. Laboratories at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Geisel School of Medicine could see a $4.6 million reduction in their research awards.

With the current federal budget continuing resolution in effect only until March 27th, the specifics of impending cuts through September 30th are not yet known−in October a spokesperson for the National Cancer Center Director's Office predicted funding of current projects would be reduced to 90 percent of award level. NCCC could see a $4.6 million reduction over the next 12 months, and researchers have been told to anticipate an average cut of 8 percent.

More than 80 national organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and American Cancer Society are supporting a public rally in Washington D.C. on Monday, April 8, 2013. Advocates, survivors, researchers, clinicians, business leaders, and members of the general public are encouraged to attend or to write to their Senators and members of Congress. Read more: Sequestration Budget Cuts on Medical Research: Will they Hit Home?

Special Event to Honor Dr. Koop on April 11

Dr. Samuel Kessel, the C. Everett Koop Fellow in Washington, D.C., will honor Dr. C. Everett Koop, founder of the Koop Institute at Dartmouth, on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7 p.m. in the Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall. Dr. Kessel has served five presidential administrations as the Senior Advisor in Health Science in Public Health, eight Assistant Secretaries for Health, and six Surgeons General. His lecture, "Dr. Koop's Legacy: Lessons for All of US About Medicine, Public Health, and Service," is free and open to the public.

The Annual Harold Wade Lectureship is sponsored by a generous gift from the Wade Family to the Koop Institute in order to promote humanism and professionalism in the field of medicine Event hosted by the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth.

ACS Receives $50K for Patient Navigator Program at NCCC Manchester

American Cancer Society to support patient navigator services at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Manchester.

Photo: (l. to r.) NCCC Administrative Director Amy Stansfield; Executive Vice President and New England Division Operating Officer, American Cancer Society, Don Gudaitis; American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Allyson Foor; Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield in NH Plan President Lisa Guertin; NCCC Vice President, Cancer Services, Jeff O'Brien; Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield in New Hampshire Medical Director Dr. Richard Lafleur.

On March 21, 2013, Wellpoint/Anthem presented a $50,000 check to the American Cancer Society to support patient navigator services at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Manchester. The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator program was established to reduce barriers that patients and caregivers may encounter as they deal with diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The patient navigator serves as a personal guide to patients and their family to help them through the cancer journey.

2013 Geisel Leadership Course

Dr. Wiley Souba, dean of the Medical School and vice-president for Health Affairs at Dartmouth, will lead a Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth course called "The Science and Practice of Leading Yourself" June 20 - 24, 2013 at the Hanover Inn.

This course was developed to provide participants with greater access to being effective as a leader, whether they already hold a major leadership position or have had little or no leadership experience. This course is not about medicine per se; it is about what it is to be a leader and enact effective leadership, and anyone may register (more information about this course).

Lead by Example: Complete Your Advance Care Directive

The 6th annual National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) is April 16, 2013, and the theme this year is "Leading by Example."

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is proud to participate in NHDD, and our goal is to encourage all D-H employees to complete their own advance directive. By doing this we will be better equipped to answer questions and help patients complete their advance directives.

All adults can benefit from thinking about what their health care choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves. These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are. Advance directives come in two main forms: a "healthcare power of attorney" (or "proxy" or "agent" or "surrogate") documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself, or a "living will" documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

  • NH Advance Directives: The New Hampshire Foundation for Healthy Communities offers an array of health-related community initiatives for the state. Download their Advance Care Planning Guide for all the necessary documents.
  • VT Advance Directives: Put It in Writing: Maintained by the American Hospital Association, this comprehensive site about advance care planning offers forms to download, reference information, a glossary of terms related to the process, as well as Spanish language content

More information is available at the Office of Care Management.

Creative Arts Program on NHPR

New Hampshire Public Radio recently aired a feature, "Soothing Cancer with the Arts,"  about the creative arts program at NCCC.

NCCC Featured in Dartmouth Medicine

The Winter 2013 issue of Dartmouth Medicine has several articles about Norris Cotton Cancer Center, including:

Presentations and Accomplishments
Three NCCC Scientists to Present at AACR Annual Meeting

The AACR 2013 Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. April 6-10. These annual meetings highlight the latest discoveries in every area of cancer research and provide a unique opportunity for investigators from all over the world to meet and forge collaborations. The theme for this year is "Personalizing Cancer Care through Discovery Science." NCCC presenters:

Ethan Dmitrovsky, MD, co-director of NCCC Cancer Epidemiology and Chemoprevention Research Program; "Spontaneous formation of sarcomas in Usp18 knockout mice."

Carmen J. Marsit, PhD, NCCC and Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; "Epigenomic Epidemiology of Cancer."

Charles Sentman, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology , Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth; "Altering the tumor microenvironment and host immunity with CAR T cells."

13 NCCC Physicians on New Hampshire Magazine's "Top Doctors 2013" List

Thirteen NCCC physicians are among the 52 Dartmouth-Hitchcock physicians included inNew Hampshire Magazine's annual "Top Doc" survey.

Each year the magazine distributes surveys to every physician licensed to practice in the Granite State, asking them to nominate specialists that they would recommend to friends and family (read the whole listing here).

NCCC Physicians are: Rocco R. Addante, DMD, MD, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Perry A. Ball, MD, Neurosurgery; Ira R. Byock, MD, End of Life Care; M. Shane Chapman, MD, Dermatology; Richard J. Comi, MD Endocrinology; Leslie DeMars, MD, Gynecological Surgery; Stuart R. Gordon, MD, Gastroenterology;  John J. Murray, MD, Colon/Rectal Surgery; Joseph A. Paydarfar, MD, Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery; David W. Roberts, MD, Neurosurgery; Kari M. Rosenkranz, MD, Breast Surgery; Alan R. Schned, MD, Pathology; Bassem I. Zaki, MD, Radiation Oncology; Kathryn A. Zug, MD, Dermatology.

Clifford J. Belden New Chair of Radiology

Clifford J. Belden, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Radiology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He has served as interim chair since June of 2011, following the retirement of Peter Spiegel, MD, who had led the department for 38 years.

Dr. Belden joined the D-H staff in 2008 after five years as a neuroradiologist and as the director of cardiovascular imaging and as an associate professor of radiology at Albany (NY) Medical College. He also served as vice chair of radiology for three years at Albany. He is board-certified in diagnostic radiology and neuroradiology, and specializes in head and neck cancer.

Dr. Elizabeth Anne Gormely Receives Continence Care Champion Award

The National Association for Continence (NAFC) presented Elizabeth Anne Gormley, MD, with its Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion Award at the Society of Urodynamics Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction's (SUFU) 2013 Winter Meeting in Las Vegas, NV on March 1, 2013.

Dr. Gormley is professor of surgery in the Urology Department at Dartmouth Medical School where she also serves as the director of the Urology Residency Program. She is recognized as a leading contributor to frequently cited research in continence care.

Dionne-Odom Receives Critical Care Grant

James N. Dionne-Odom's proposal, "Generating a Theoretical Model of the Psychological Processes of Surrogate Decision Making at Adult End of Life in the ICU Using Cognitive Task Analysis" (#20101), has been selected to receive the 2013 AACN-Sigma Theta Tau Critical Care Grant.

New Staff

Ellen Johnson will join NCCC as Senior Programmer in the Information Technology group Monday, April 22, 2013. She will report to Mark Carey, Director, NCCC Information Technology.

Kristie LeBlanc has joined NCCC as administrative assistant to the Communications Office and the Office of Community Education and Prevention at NCCC. Since 2008 Kristie has served as an operations assistant in the Investment Office at Dartmouth College.

NCCC is currently accepting applications for: (

  • Administrative Assistant II to provide administrative support to the NCCC administrative office.
  • Director of Community Education and Prevention to respond to the shared Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock goal of the healthiest population possible. His or she will serve as a leader in formulating goals, and implementing tactics and strategies, to educate the public about how to prevent and control cancer. The Director will be the connection between cancer researchers and service providers and the population, particularly in our rural catchment area.
  • Senior Programmer/Analyst to serve as a senior member and technical lead of a professional clinical and research team that is developing computer programs for the collection, integration, management and analysis of cancer-related data for research, quality improvements and clinical care.
New Booking Tool for College Business Travel

As of March 18, 2013, Concur Travel has replaced Compass as the online booking tool for Dartmouth College business travelers (more info).

The new tool is easy to use and in addition to enhanced features and services, provides an innovative mobile application for booking anytime/anywhere. Travel Leaders has configured the new site with all the current company policy and program information and individual travel profiles have been transferred to the new site. We ask all travelers and travel arrangers to take the time to review their new profile for accuracy and updates. Secure data such as credit card numbers and passport information will not be transferred to the new site and end users will be required to enter this data in the new profile.

Your Username / Log In will change to a new format – and a new Password will be required to log in to the Concur site.

Supplemental Benefit Programs for Dartmouth Employees

Dartmouth College is offering benefits-eligible employees the opportunity to enroll in various supplemental benefit programs between April 1, 2013 and April 19, 2013.The College has selected Winston Benefits, a leading provider of employment-based benefit programs, to offer these supplemental benefits.Eligible employees are now offered: Aflac Hospital Indemnity Insurance, Aflac Personal Accident Insurance, Boston Mutual Personal Accident Insurance, Transamerica Critical Illness/Cancer Insurance, Transamerica Universal Life Insurance with Long-Term Care.

Representatives from Winston Benefits will be on campus beginning April 1st to conduct group and one-on-one information sessions and to enroll interested employees (meeting schedule). Employees who are unable to attend a meeting can contact Winston Benefits' Customer Service Center, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. (EST) at 855-805-5840.

Performance Evaluations

Performance evaluations for Dartmouth College should be completed by end of March. If you have outstanding evaluations they need to be conducted immediately.

Interior Window Washing

Housekeeping Services has contracted Aslan's Maintenance to wash all interior windows (they started on Monday March 18th). 

A housekeeper will leave a note in your office 1-2 days in advance of the cleaning. When you are notified, please pass the word on to other office workers with windows in your area and remove any plants or personal items from your window sills. The window cleaners will leave a bright fluorescent sticky note on your window when it is cleaned. Until you see that sticky note please assume your window has not been cleaned and keep your sill clear.

BJ''s Wholsale Club Donates $32K to Friends of NCCC

BJ's Community Affairs Assistant Manager Danielle Salvetti (center), with Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center team (l. to.r.) Jean Brown, Linda Kennedy, Bruce Bouchard, Christine Pariseau-Telge, Susan Whelihan, and Rebecca Gray.

BJ's Wholesale Club donated $32,815 to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center through specially marked "Pink Ribbon" merchandise sold throughout BJ's 15-state footprint during the month of October. Every product sold during the month with the BJ's Charitable Foundation Pink Ribbon Logo generated donations which were divided among National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers along the East Coast, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Center.

Prouty Kick-Off Party at Hanover Inn on April 4

Joint the Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center for a Prouty kick-off party in the Ballroom of the newly renovated Hanover in on Thursday, April 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

  • Nationally-famous guest entertainers: The Dartmouth Aires (!)
  • Delish dishes and drinks (everyone over 21 gets one free drink ticket for beer or wine to toast the 2013 Prouty!)
  • Team captains' tables for recruiting teammates
  • Information on each Prouty event−cycling, walking, rowing, and golf!
  • RSVP here (we need to know how much food to order)
  • Please note that this party is compliments of our generous corporate sponsor, The Hanover Inn. So double your Prouty pleasure and bring a friend to the kickoff of the 2013 Prouty! 
Upcoming Events to Note
Sixth Annual Integrative Biology Symposium: Register now!

This year's Integrative Biology Symposium, "Obesity and Human Health," will be on April 23 and 24, 2013, in Alumni Hall, Dartmouth College. These annual events raise awareness of the exciting advances in integrative biology at Dartmouth and make the research and medical communities aware of the latest cutting-edge ideas and progress in rapidly evolving areas of biology and translational medicine.

The symposium will be of interest to anyone with training in basic biology and an interest in how the microbial world influences human biology. We expect a broad range of attendees from high school students through professional microbiologists and there is no doubt that it will be a very exciting symposium (more information).

The keynote speaker is Joel Hirschhorn, MD, PhD, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Invited Speakers include: David Allison, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Pam Goodwin, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital; Ruth Loos, PhD, Mount Sinai Hospital; Cecilia Lindgren, PhD, University of Oxford; and Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital. Poster Session and reception will be on Tuesday, April 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.; speakers and reception on Wednesday, April 24, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Day trip to NYC
  • Saturday, May 11, 2013; 5 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Location: Lot 9 (near Jesse's)
  • New York! New York! Explore New York City in the springtime! Come spend the day in NYC doing whatever you wish!
  • This is always a popular trip, so sign up early by emailing Cost: $55 per person. All trips depart from DHMC Lot 9 at 5am and return at 12 a.m.
American Cancer Society 2013 Relay for Life Schedule

Start planning your teams and involvement now for those communities where we have cancer centers. We hope to have a great presence at each of the following events (more information).

Dartmouth Biomedical Libraries Workshops

Check out the complete Workshop Calendar and Descriptions−all DHMC and Dartmouth employees, students, and volunteers are welcome. Here are the April offerings:

  • PubMed (MEDLINE): Beyond the Basics
    Wednesday, April 10, 2013
  • Mead's Mashup: Finding Published Articles Using MEDLINE, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Summon
    Friday, April 12, 2013
  • UpToDate, DynaMed, and Beyond: Finding Clinical Answers at the Point of Care
    Wednesday, April 17, 2013
  • EndNote: Managing Citations and Bibliographies
    Friday, April 26, 2013
  • PowerPoint Presentations: Getting Started
    Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Dartmouth Employees: Newly Discounted Gym Rates

As of March 1st, discounted membership rates are offered for the remainder of the membership term, which ends June 30, 2013. The current Dartmouth employee rate for a Basic level membership is $105 and the Plus level is $140. For more information or additional rates for spouse or children, please contact us at 646-8106.

D-H One Notes Singing Group

Are you stuck in the winter doldrums and looking for a way to lift your spirits? Then join us as we sing our way into spring!

The D-H One Notes, a newly formed singing group, is seeking members with an enthusiastic spirit and a desire to create community connection through singing (no experience necessary). What better way to connect with each other and our patients than through raising our voices in song? Please contact Chelsea Nolan for further information and/or to sign up.

Earn up to $300 in DHMC 2013 Wellness Rewards

Wellness Rewards provide an opportunity for D-H benefit-eligible employees to earn up to $300 for participation in wellness activities to support a healthy lifestyle.  

  • Complete the online HWA by May 31
    • Enter your numbers (including blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose measures) in the Health and Wellness Assessment (HWA). Free screenings are offered by Live Well/Work Well (if you have your numbers a health screening is NOT required to earn your Wellness Rewards).
    • Once your completed HWA has been confirmed by Health Media, and if you are a benefit-eligible active employee on July 7 (bi-weekly) or July 1 (monthly), you will earn a $200 taxable credit that will be paid in your July 26 (bi-weekly) or July 31 (monthly) paycheck.
  • Participate in Wellness Actions by August 31
    • Following completion of the HWA, you can earn up to $100 in additional Wellness Rewards (each Wellness Action earns $50).
    • Wellness actions completed between June 1 and August 31 will be verified and paid to Dartmouth-Hitchcock benefit-eligible active employees on October 4 (biweekly) or 31 (monthly). You must be a benefit-eligible active employee as of September 15 (biweekly) or October 1 (monthly) to receive your reward credit for Wellness Actions completed between June 1 and August 31 (more information).
Norris Cotton Cancer Center Grand Rounds

The first Grand Rounds in April will be on Tuesday, April 2, from noon to 1 p.m. Ira Byock, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, Professor of Community and Family Medicine, Professor of Medicine and Claire Pace, MSN, APRN, Instructor of Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine will present "A Fresh Look at Advance Directives & Advance Care Planning - From Chore to Key Quality Improvement Strategy."

Norris Cotton Cancer Center typically holds Grand Rounds lectures on Tuesdays from 12 to 1 p.m. in the Barbara E. Rubin Building at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Our Events for Cancer Professionals listing shows our upcoming lectures. Most lectures can also be viewed live online. In addition, you can view recorded webcasts, or listen to recorded podcasts.