Cancer Currents for August 2013

News and Notes from the Director
Mark Israel, Director

Each year after The Prouty I'm always struck by the scale of the event. The size and logistical challenges are huge; the scope of communities involved (now worldwide) is ever expanding; and the spirit of festive empowerment makes anything seem possible.

It is an amazing experience to stand by the tents at the Richmond School to watch more than five thousand people in Prouty T-shirts and brightly colored spandex—all doing something to advance cancer research.

Participating in the Prouty can change your life. There are so many afflictions in the world today that we can do nothing about. But individuals can make a difference in the fight against cancer, and that is part of this event's power.

You recognize the community you are part of: all of us in some way have been touched by cancer. And you realize that people want to give back: the bike-filled racks and crowded food tents and massage tables at the finish line are tangible proof that people want to stand up and be counted in the fight against cancer.

The 32nd Annual Prouty on July 12 and 13 raised $2.6 million for cancer research and patient services (donations still coming in will add to this record-setting total). Friends of NCCC staff members Bruce Bouchard, Don Cutter, Rebecca Gray, Catherine Rentz, Christine Telge, and Susan Whelihan, led by Jean Brown, worked hard all year to plan the event and organized the 1,300 volunteers who helped make it happen. Many other NCCC staff participated as athletes, volunteers, or contributed to fundraising efforts. I can't tell you how much I value these contributions. Thank you.

Mark Israel, Director

2013 Prouty at a Glance

2013 Prouty

  • 5800 registered participants (a record)
  • 3240 Bikers (a record)
  • 1906 Walkers (a record)
  • 1300 Volunteers (a record)
  • 183 Rowers (a record)
  • 109 Prouty Ultimate Riders (tied the record)
  • 141 Golfers (new event)
  • 215 Virtuals
  • Money raised to date: $2,650,000
Scientists from 14 Countries Gather for International ISOTT and EPR Conferences

2013 International EPR Conference participants: First Row (from left): Steven Swarts, Bernard Gallez, Martyna Elas, Harold Swartz, Ann Flood, Periannan Kuppusamy, Fabienne Peryot, Tatyana Karogodina, Malou Friederich Persson, Ichiro Yamaguchi. Back Row (from left): Hideo Utsumi, Philippe Leveque, Benjamin Williams, Murali Krishna, Fraser Robb, Kahina Abbas, Alexander Ivannikov, Firouz Darroudi, Patrik Persson, Minoru Miyake

The EPR Center of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in association with the Department of Radiology and Norris Cotton Cancer Center recently hosted two international conferences, back-to-back for the first time, in Hanover NH. The conferences brought together scientists, engineers, clinicians, and mathematicians in a unique international forum for the exchange of information, updating participants on the latest developments and techniques within the field of biological oxygen transport to tissue and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy.

A record number of participants from abroad—210 scientists from 14 countries—gathered for the two days of overlapping sessions exclusively focusing on oxygen and EPR spectroscopy. The 41st Meeting of the Internal Society on Oxygen Transport to Tissue (ISOTT) ran from June 22 to 26, and the International EPR Conference ran from June 24 to 28.

A major focus of the combined meeting was to discuss the clinical aspects of oxygen and methods related to its measurement, and the presentation format was planned to facilitate and promote discussions, with extensive discussion time allocated for oral presentations. There were more than 180 lectures on a variety of topics. The conference also featured a full day of clinical focus with presentations of clinical relevance related to tissue oxygenation in cerebral, cardiovascular, muscular, and renal pathophysiology and treatment. A final day-long session was on EPR dosimetry, in which the EPR Center at Dartmouth is a leader. Participants also enjoyed local hospitality and visits to the Dartmouth campus, including the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the EPR Center.

Knights of the York Cross of Honour Donate $75K to NCCC
Knights of the York

Geisel Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Toxicology Dr. Chris Lowrey, Grand Master-General of Knights of York Cross of Honour John Stracener, and NCCC Director Mark Israel

Members of the Knights of the York Cross of Honour (KYCH), a leadership group of the Masonic Fraternity, traveled from across the country in May to deliver a $75,000 donation to the NCCC. The group toured the center and met with Chris Lowrey, MD, for an update on the leukemia research and current projects in Dr. Lowrey's laboratory funded by the KYCH.

Lowrey's relationship with the Knights started when then NCCC Director Robert Greenberg brought him to the KYCH annual conclave in 1999. "I was doing basic hardcore science at the time but working with the Knights changed my whole direction," he says. His work shifted toward translational research that that would more directly benefit patients. Today Lowrey's lab focuses on developing new therapies for leukemia and sickle-cell disease.

The KYCH Convent General Medical Research Foundation's initial donation to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center nearly 25 years ago was $300 and has grown to a total of more than $1.1 million. In 2012 the organization donated $75,000 to research at the Cancer Center, and for the past several years the Knights' contributions have been supplemented by $25,000 from the Royal Order of Scotland of the United States, another Masonic group. Half of this money goes to support Lowrey's research; the rest supports other cancer research projects. Read more about this unique researcher and research benefactor relationship in Knights at the Research Table.

Jason Moore selected as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences
Jason Moore

Jason H. Moore

Professor Jason H. Moore of Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine has been selected as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for 2013. The Kavli program honors young scientists who are considered leaders in their fields and have made significant contributions to science. Moore was selected this year for his expertise in translational bioinformatics and personalized medicine. Fellows are invited to attend, present, and network at U.S. and international Kavli Frontiers of Science symposia, at which some of the world's brightest young scientists convene to share the exciting research taking place in their fields.

Moore presented his work, "Exploiting interestingness in a computational evolution system for the genome-wide genetic analysis of Alzheimer's disease" at the Third Indonesian-American Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium in Bali, Indonesia in June 2013. Unlike many scientific conferences that have a narrow technical focus in a single field, the Frontiers symposia aim to bring together the world's thought leaders in a broad range of disciplines to communicate, share ideas, and foster future collaborative research.

The NAS and Kavli foundation advisory board selects Kavli fellows from among scientists who received prestigious fellowships, awards, and other honors, or who are nominated by NAS members and previous fellows. Eighteen percent of those elected to the National Academy of Sciences have been Kavli fellows. One hundred and thirty-six Kavli fellows have been elected to the NAS since the program's inception in 1989 and eight have won Nobel Prizes.

Jason H. Moore is Third Century Professor, Professor of Genetics and Community and Family Medicine at Geisel, Director of the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences, Associate Director for Bioinformatics at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and Associate Director of SYNERGY.

Dartmouth Names Richard G. Mills Executive Vice President
Richard G. Mills

Richard G. Mills

Richard G. Mills, executive dean for administration at Harvard Medical School, has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer at Dartmouth. Mills brings more than two decades of experience in higher education, institutional finance and internal audit, human resources, facilities and operations, and business litigation to the institution's third-highest-ranked administrative position. He will report directly to President Philip J. Hanlon and will be a key member of the senior leadership team at Dartmouth. Mills will assume his new role in mid-August (read more).

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Names Terry Carroll as Chief Innovation Officer
Terry Carroll

Terry Carroll

Terry Carroll has joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock as chief innovation officer. Carroll will be responsible for all of the information management processes associated with Dartmouth-Hitchcock's integrated health care delivery system, defining technological support for the strategic direction of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

His portfolio will include strategic planning, the support of innovation, new business development and management, information design, technology evaluation and acquisition, information integrity and security, medical informatics, clinical use of data, and telecommunications. Carroll will begin his duties at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in September (read more).

New myD-H Mobile App Launched

Patients of Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, Manchester, and Nashua can now access and manage their health information at the touch of a screen on their Apple® and Android™ mobile devices anytime, anywhere with the newly developed myD-H mobile app. The app is a portable version of MyChart that contains a set of select features, which are available in the full web-based version of myD-H (read more).

Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Centers Adds Radiation Oncologist and Expands Treatment Room
Vermon Matthew

Dr. Matthew Vernon

The Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center (SVRCC) welcomed radiation oncologist Dr. Matthew Vernon at the end of July. An employee of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, Vernon will practice at SVRCC, but also will work closely with his colleagues in radiation oncology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's cancer program at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

He has an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, received his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and completed his residency in radiation oncology at the University of Minnesota's Department of Therapeutic Radiology.

In addition to adding Dr. Vernon, SVRCC has doubled the number of chemotherapy treatment rooms, added a new CT scanner for radiation simulation, and remodeled and renovated nurses' stations and its pharmacy. Dr. Orion Howard, medical director of SVRCC, says that building a closer relationship with the cancer program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a cornerstone of the cancer program in Bennington. All of the oncologists at SVRCC attend tumor conferences as well regular clinical meetings at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and specialists from Dartmouth-Hitchcock routinely visit Bennington to work with staff and provide ongoing discussion on quality and best practices.

NCCC Wins Readers Choice Award for NH Cancer Care
Union Leader Reader's Choice

Congratulations to the providers and staff at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center for winning the Union Leader Readers' Choice Award for Cancer Care in New Hampshire. More than 1,700 readers voted through print or on-line for their favorites in 195 different categories. NCCC received top honor in Cancer Care and Dartmouth-Hitchcock received an honorable mention in the Doctor's Office category.

Recent Quality and Safety Accomplishments within NCCC

As we enter the beginning of FY 2014, Evelyn Schlosser, director for Quality and Patient Safety, provides a brief update about a few of the FY 13 accomplishments and quality improvement and patient safety work planned for FY 14

  1. The Infusion System-wide Improvement Initiative is in its final stages of completion, as PRISM (Pharmacy Reliability Improvement and Safety Mission) plans to wrap up at the end of July. This will mark the successful completion of three discrete project teams (VOICE, ICE and PRISM) aimed at improving the reception, laboratory, clinic, pharmacy, and infusion operations within Lebanon 3K since January 2012. On-going efforts to continue the learning and improvements, to include spread to other NCCC sites, are being planned at this time.
  2. Scheduled bone marrow biopsy procedures performed by ARNPs have officially transitioned to the OSC (Outpatient Surgery Center) from the Infusion Suite (3K). For more details about this process, please contact Chris Lowrey, Susan Brighton, or Josh Hickman.
  3. Radiation Oncology has completed and submitted its application for ACR (American College of Radiology) certification. Certification visit is expected during FY 14.
  4. Congratulations to the following for completing the requirements for Value Institute Green Belt certification: Deb Scribner, Sara Simeone, and Sara Roebuck.

Thanks to everyone who completed the quality and safety priorities survey earlier this year! Topics that ranked high on your list include: patient education, clinical pathway development work, throughput and efficiency, referrals and coordination of care, and IT/IV/IP chemotherapy safety

Quality & Safety Projects Planned in Conjunction with Nursing, Medical and Operational Leaders for FY 2014:

  1. Chemotherapy Safety (IV, IP, IT): Institute consistent assessment, administration, monitoring and documentation standards across NCCC
  2. Radiation Safety: Continue with safety checks 24 hours in advance of new starts
  3. Clinic/Infusion/Pharmacy System Efficiency: Continued work in 3K, to include Lab Order Readiness and Clinic Scheduling.
  4. Evidence-based Care: Continued work on Advance Directives, Distress Thermometer, Chemotherapy Patient Education, and Clinical Pathway Development. New initiatives in Palliative Care Referrals, Survivorship Program, NCCC Patient and Family Advisory Committee, and Chemotherapy Consents for non-research patient.
  5. Ongoing work in the following areas: Cancer Staging in the eDH Problem List, ACR for Radiation Oncology, and Quality & Safety Dashboard development and maintenance.
  6. Performance Improvement skill development: Continue to grow the number and skills of current and future Value Institute trained Yellow, Green and Black Belts to accommodate all of the Cancer Center project work.
NCCC Staff Members Honored with Dartmouth Annual Service Awards

On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, Dartmouth College honored staff who have worked for the College for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, or 45-years at the annual Service Awards Banquet. Fourteen NCCC staff received awards:

  • Lydia Bos 10
  • John DeLong 10
  • Rebecca Gray 10
  • Samantha Shipman 10
  • Peisheng Zhang 10
  • Dorie McKenna 20
  • Sandra Tacy 20
  • Paula Therrien 20
  • Laura Sims-Larabee 26+
  • Gary Ward 26+
  • Brenda Berube 26+
  • Linda Kennedy 26+
  • Kenneth Orndorff 26+
  • Betty Wilson 30
New NCCC Staff
Laleh Talebian Selected for Director of Community Education and Prevention
Laleh Talebian

Laleh Talebian

Laleh Talebian has been selected as director of Community Education and Prevention.

In the past six months she has worked in the position on a temporary basis and has done an outstanding job connecting with the local communities to leverage Cancer Center research findings about prevention in our catchment area.

New Registry Shared Resource Senior Programmer and Project Director

John Higgins, M.S. has been hired as the senior programmer and project director of the newly forming Registry Shared Resource. John will be part of Amar Das', MD, PhD group (the Collaboratory for Healthcare and Biomedical Informatics) and comes with a wealth of experience in clinical database development, quality measurement analysis, and programming. He has Clarity database training, and has worked with a number of physicians at DHMC to develop clinical and research databases.

You Can't Get There from Here…Anymore

During the extended construction phase of our new Williamson Translational Research Building, all staff based in Rubin and Borwell buildings should avoid passing through 3K and 2K treatment areas and avoid using the connector hallway between 3K and 3E. Soon the entire glass hallway from the main Rotunda to Borwell will be closed. All traffic must be converted to accommodate this closure. Get in the habit now of finding an alternative route to your building and floor.

The 2K and 3K areas cannot support detour traffic because of confidentiality and infection control issues. Please bear with the inconvenience of altering your normal route to your work station. Our new facility is well worth this temporary detour. Thank you for compassionate support of patient care.

View our hallway sign (PDF)

Dr. Patel's Pink Warriors: Top Fundraising Team at 2013 Relay for Life

Congratulations to Dr. Patel's Pink Warriors for raising $21,004 at this year's Relay for Life of Greater Manchester. The Pink Warriors were the top fundraising team at this year's event, which raised $121,000 in the fight against cancer. There were 621 participants registered and 150 survivors on-site.

Call for 2013 Cancer Center Developmental Funds (Pilot Projects) Applications

In 2013 NCCC again will fund pilot projects that advance meritorious cancer research. The purpose of developmental funds is to support preliminary studies that demonstrate novel approaches and provide preliminary data necessary for planned grant applications. Letters of Intent are due Tuesday, September 3, 2013, and applications must be received by Monday, September 30th, 2013. Applications should be sent to the attention of Robert Gerlach, NCCC Research Administrator.

Day Trip to NYC September 14

New York! New York! Explore New York City in the fall! Come spend the day in NYC on September 14, 2013, 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 5 am and arrive home at 12 am.

Dates to Note:

September 10, 2013
The Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Organization: Norris Cotton Cancer Center

September 29, 2013
AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Organization: Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Location: Washington, DC