Cancer Currents for August 2011

News and Notes from the Director

Photo: Mark Israel, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer CenterThere was something in the air at the Prouty this year reaffirming my hope, my sense of being on the right path, and my commitment to a true camaraderie in addressing a most important cause. I realized this year that the real meaning of the Prouty is told by the yellow ribbons, those short notes of hope and inspiration written on strips of ribbon and tied at the finish line. Like so many poems fluttering in the breeze, the ribbons express why the Prouty is so moving: "Mom, this is for you." "Dad, I love you." "We'll beat this cancer together."

The ribbons echo the resilience and positive outlook of Audrey Prouty, the patient who inspired this event 30 years ago. They reflect love and caring, triumph and tragedy, science and medicine. Each story is unique and undeniably part of our common humanity and of our community. The ribbons express the hope and determination we see in the cancer survivors who attack steep hills and long walks with grit and high spirits, in the patients and staff on One West who take such joy in doing a mini-Prouty at the hospital, and in the volunteers who work so very hard to produce a safe and meaningful event.

As the yellow ribbons so ardently express, cancer is profoundly personal. Each of the 4,900 participants and 1,100 volunteers has a reason for participating. Because of their stories, the Prouty is so much more than fundraising and tradition. I offer my deep gratitude to each participant and every volunteer, recognizing that "doing the Prouty" calls for a great deal of passion, commitment, and heart.

—Mark Israel, Director

Photo: Patricia Ernst, PhDNew Cancer Mechanisms Co-Directors

Congratulations to Patricia Ernst, PhD, and James DiRenzo, PhD, our new Co-Directors of the Cancer Center's Cancer Mechanisms Research Program. We are fortunate to have people of their caliber lead the Cancer Center in promoting communication and interaction to unify cancer research themes.Photo: James DiRenzo, PhD

Dr. Ernst, Associate Professor of Genetics, Microbiology, and Immunology, works with complex animal models of human disease, particularly in the area of stem cell biology and cancer. Since her arrival at Dartmouth in 2004, Patricia has been recognized in national competition as a V Foundation Scholar and a Sydney Kimmel Foundation Scholar.

Dr. DiRenzo, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, focuses on the biology of mammary stem cells and their putative role in breast cancer initiation. Jim also has received national recognition as a V Foundation Scholar, as well as a General Motors Foundation Scholar. He has served the Cancer Center as Scientific Director of its Comprehensive Breast Program since 2004.

Photo: Donna Dubuc, Director of CommunicationsNew Director of Communications and Marketing

Donna Dubuc, MBA, joins the Cancer Center administrative team this month as our new Director of Communications and Marketing. She comes to us with great experience: most recently she was Director of Development at Cheshire Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, and she held a similar position at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, NH. She's also been a PR and marketing executive and TV news producer.

At the Cancer Center, she'll work with the Communications and Marketing Team (Stephanie Beliveau, Steve Bjerklie, and Susan Colm) under Associate Director for Community Affairs Linda Kennedy. Welcome, Donna!

The Numbers Are In!

Logo: The ProutyThe 2011 Prouty and Prouty Ultimate were the most successful Prouty events yet, raising a total of $2.45 million—so far. Contributions continue to come in, and expectations are that the final total will exceed $2.5 million. That's awesome growth from the $4,000 for cancer research and treatment the original four Prouty nurses raised 30 years ago to honor their patient and friend, Audrey Prouty. This year, more than 4,900 people walked, ran, bicycled, and—for the first time—rowed in the Prouty, supported by more than 1,100 volunteers.

Not only has the Prouty become the largest fundraising event in northern New England, it is critically important to the Cancer Center. All of the Prouty funds are discretionary, which means they are used to fund pilot grants and ongoing research as well as to support patient services. It was Prouty seed money that last year alone attracted more than $12 million in federal grants to fund new and continuing research.

Congratulations to our in-house Prouty team—Jean Brown, Rebecca Gray, Bruce Bouchard, Susan Whelihan, Catherine Rentz, and Christine Pariseau-Telge—on a more-than-spectacular job.

Connecting to the Community at The Prouty

One of the great things about the Prouty is that in a very direct and human way it connects the Cancer Center, our staff and researchers, to the community that does so much to support us. The Prouty has become an event that brings out the best in our Upper Valley towns and villages, and it brings out the best in the Cancer Center, too. Many Cancer Center people were among the Prouty participants and volunteers this year—it's a true Cancer Center/community cooperative effort.

Photo: Prouty CentralThere were some unique contributions, too, from Cancer Center members. Harold Swartz, MD, PhD, had his entire research team from the Biodosimetry Center for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation (Dart-Dose CMCR) on hand at Prouty Central at Richmond Middle School to collect data from participants' teeth and nails. Brian Pogue, professor of engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering and a project leader in the joint Thayer-Cancer Center-DMS Dartmouth Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, brought a team of research assistants to the event. And Jack Hoopes, DVM, PhD, who is also a member of the nanotech team, has been a long-time Prouty participant, and this year he rode the two-day, 200-mile Prouty Ultimate in the company of his daughter (who rode in her first Prouty several years ago in utero!).

These are just a few examples; there are dozens more, if not hundreds. Thank you for doing all that you do to help make the institution of the Cancer Center a vital and involved part of the beautiful region we live in—and thank you for all your Prouty efforts.

Logo: eagle-IEagle-I Wants Your Opinion

eagle-I is an NIH-NCRR funded pilot project between nine US institutions aimed to make invisible research resources visible while also facilitating collaboration between investigators. A searchable database of research resources allows investigators to quickly identify tools to help drive their efforts toward population-based public health, clinical medicine, education, and basic science research. The database is still a work in progress but is publically available to the Dartmouth community, and feedback on the database's efficacy is welcome. The Dartmouth team has been meeting with members of Shared Resource Cores as well as research labs in DHMC, NCCC, DMS, and Arts & Sciences of Dartmouth College to collect information on open-share resources so that the eagle-i build team can construct and evaluate the appropriate database infrastructure. These resources are generally not commercially available, and can encompass various instruments, protocols, software, reagents, animal models, and human studies. More information can be found at, where you can also leave feedback.

August 21: Ride the Green Mountains for the Cancer Center

Photo: Two GMMR riders on their motorcylesThe Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride (GMMR) is a friendly, beautiful, relaxing, scenic ride that meanders through Vermont's and New Hampshire's gorgeous rural countryside, all to raise money for cancer research and patient services at the Cancer Center. This year's GMMR will take place on August 21, starting at Granite State Harley-Davidson in Lebanon, NH. More information can be found at

Until the ride date, Andi Gilbert up on the 8th floor of the Rubin Building in Lebanon is selling raffle tickets in support of the GMMR for a beautiful maple-and-mahogany wall mirror made by her husband Robert. Stop by and buy a ticket! The GMMR website's Fundraising page has other raffle items, too.

Grant-Writing Workshop

Photo: Christopher Dant, PhDIn 2010 the NIH released new Enhancing Peer Review guidelines for grant proposal structure and content. This seminar, "Writing the NEW NIH Grant: A Systematic and Proven Approach to Grantsmanship" led by Chris Dant, PhD, explores the NIH research grant with its newly restructured content, and presents a strategy for writing an NIH grant—an approach that many seasoned NIH grant writers are now using to increase their likelihood of success. The strategy is also valuable to investigators writing grants for many of the private foundations that sponsor medical research. Chris will also dissect the new research section and discuss common mistakes investigators make in writing grants, and address grant organization, aesthetics, and aspects of language and writing.

When and where: Friday, August 12, 1:30-3:00 pm, in Auditorium F at DHMC in Lebanon.

No advance registration is required, but if you plan to attend please RSVP to Andi Gilbert at

Job Openings

The Cancer Center has three positions open for qualified candidates. The first, for a Data Management Resource Specialist, involves providing technical guidance, training, and data management support, including software support, to all clinical research staff and faculty members as well as for management of clinical trials. The second, for a grant-funded Spatial Analyst, supports Cancer Center and The Dartmouth Institute researchers with development, implementation, and documentation of spatial analysis techniques including the use of GIS, spatial statistics, and related technology. The third position, temporary and part-time (20 hours a week), is a Research Billing Compliance Specialist, who will ensure compliance with government and third-party payer requirements for clinical services in the context of cancer treatment trials.

More information on these positions can be found on the Dartmouth Employment Opportunities website. Go to the Search Postings page, enter the position number in the Position Number field, and then click Search.

  • Data Management Resource Specialist (position #0545400)
  • Spatial Analyst (position #1010998)
  • Research Billing Compliance Specialist (for this position, use the Approved Title field on the Search Postings page)
Nurses, Hold the Date: Bedell Lecture, September 15

It's not too early to note the date and time on your calendar for this year's Marilyn K. Bedell Distinguished Lecture in Oncology Nursing, part of the Cancer Center's Grand Rounds. This year’s speaker, Ruth McCorkle, PhD, FAAN, will address "Nursing Impacts Patient and Caregiver Outcomes in Cancer Care."

When and where: Thursday, September 15, 12:00 to 1:00 pm, in Auditorium E at DHMC in Lebanon.

Ruth McCorkle is Director of Psychosocial Oncology Research, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Florence S. Wald Professor of Nursing, Yale University School of Nursing. Dr. McCorkle is also Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases), Yale School of Public Health and Interim Specialty Director, Adult Health, Yale University School of Nursing.

For more information about the Bedell Lecture, see our Marilyn K. Bedell Distinguished Lecture in Oncology Nursing page.