Cancer Currents for December 2013

News and Notes from the Director

Mark Israel

Each year the holiday season offers opportunities to pause, to celebrate, and to appreciate time spent with friends and family. It is also a time for reflection—back on one year closing, and ahead to one about to begin.

As I look back over the past year, I think of the exciting scientific retreat, our first, held late in April. That spring weekend the mood was expansive: a gathering of cancer center investigators committed to developing personalized care treatments through genomic analysis, dedicated to the most fundamental of studies to identify the activities of key cancer regulators, and working to develop effective cancer screening programs for our community. It gives me immense pride to know that our cancer focus is unwavering.

Last month I attended Telling our Stories, an annual cancer center event where patients and their loved ones present original art and written work. As one mother read a piece about saying goodbye to her son's care team as they left the hospital for hospice care, knowing that she would not return after years of struggle together, I felt the intensity of this family's experience. The stories shared that night were powerful reminders that our commitment to research and to addressing the many unmet needs of our patients is a calling of great significance.

In the coming year we will address the expectations of health care reform, meet the challenge of funding our academic enterprise with few committed partners, and continue the hard work of renewing the Cancer Center core grant. These challenges will test our mettle, but they are modest compared to those of our patients.

I thank each of you for this year of dedication and hard work, and have great confidence that we will continue to make the noteworthy contributions for which you have a well-deserved reputation.

Mark Israel, Director

FDA Tobacco Director's Concerns: Teen Smokers, E-cigarette Regulation

The FDA finally has the right set of regulatory tools to help reduce tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable cancer deaths in the United States, according to FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitchell Zeller. Zeller presented Norris Cotton Cancer Center's 2013 C. Everett Koop Distinguished Lecture, "Keeping the Koop Vision Alive: Science-Based Tobacco Product Regulation in the 21st Century," on November 19, 2013. Zeller outlined three agency priorities: support for research into nicotine addiction and alternative nicotine-delivery systems, stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting tobacco product sales to minors, and a new education campaign for adolescent and teen smokers.

"We have failed the at-risk, vulnerable 13-18 year olds," said Zeller. "Every day 3,300 kids light up a tobacco product for the first time, and every day more than 700 of these kids move from experimentation to becoming regular smokers. Adolescents are "replacing" most of the adult smokers who die each year."  (read more)

Giving with Compassion: One Employee's Story
Lynn Root, RN

Lynn Root, RN

Lynn Root, RN, Blood and Marrow Transplant nurse coordinator, is exactly the kind of person you'd want on your team if you were a patient at Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Her commitment to her patients is undeniable: "I really enjoy taking care of cancer patients. As cliché as it sounds, I think it has been my life's calling. So many patients have touched my life in the 36 years I've been here. But what is really special is when I can share their stories to help new cancer patients along their journey."

In addition to her work as a nurse, Lynn has been a loyal donor to D-H and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center for almost 20 years. She values being employed by D-H, but her inspiration to give back is deeper than just her loyalty to the institution. "Being present at a meeting between a bone marrow donor and recipient is so deeply moving. This is what we do on a daily basis, and this is why we are here. It's very powerful."

Over the years Lynn has seen many improvements in cancer patients' quality of life thanks to advances in cancer research. "The medications cancer patients receive have less negative side effects than in the past," she says. "Blood typing has become much more advanced, which means fewer complications for our patients undergoing bone marrow transplants." But, Lynn is quick to add, "There is still work to be done." In 2007, after losing her sister to lung cancer, Lynn decided to increase her giving. "I signed up for payroll deduction to the Cancer Research Fund," she says. "Some diagnoses don't have positive outcomes and we really need to invest in researching those cancers."

Loyal donors like Lynn are critical to our work at the Cancer Center. The support of employees, faculty, and community members makes a significant difference in the lives of the patients and families we serve. "I would strongly encourage other people to donate to whatever drives their compassion," Lynn says. "For me it's cancer research. I think that's how we will make a difference."

Choose to support what matters most to you this holiday season, at the Cancer Center, elsewhere at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, or the Geisel School of Medicine. You can give online at To sign up for payroll deduction or for more information on giving opportunities please contact Amy Schrom, director of Annual Giving, at or 603-653-0745. Thank you for your generosity.

Nanotechnology Symposium: Immunotargeting and Delivery

The Dartmouth Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence will sponsor a nanotechnology symposium, Immunotargeting and Delivery, on December 10, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in NCCC's Auditorium G (formally known as the James C. Chilcott Conference Center).

Immuno targeting and delivery mechanisms are a central part of advancing the role of nanotechnology in cancer imaging and therapy, and this will be the focus of speakers for this annual symposium. Invited speakers will cover a range of topics in engineering proteins for targeted delivery and packaging. Immune targeting and modulation will also be discussed as it relates to the eventual role of nanotechnology in cancer. For program, schedule, and registration information:

The Dartmouth Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence includes participants from across the disciplines of engineering, immunology, surgery, and medicine.

Carmen Marsit, PhD Appointed co-director of Cancer Epidemiology Research Program
Carmen Marsit, PhD

Carmen Marsit, PhD

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Carmen Marsit as co-director of the NCCC Cancer Epidemiology Research Program. Carmen received his BS from Lafayette College in 2000 and his PhD in Biological Sciences in Public Health from Harvard in 2004. Carmen is an experienced molecular epidemiologist with unique multidisciplinary training and expertise in molecular biology, genetics, and epidemiology and his research combines these disciplines to powerfully examine the importance of epigenetic regulation in cancer biology and pathology with the use of genomic technologies in population-based studies. He has led pioneering work on the examination of epigenetic mechanisms in human population studies, including work in bladder, lung, and head and neck cancers. He also has a significant research program focused on identifying how environmental exposures linked to carcinogenesis and other health outcomes impact the human epigenome. Carmen has a strong publication and extramural funding record that provide strong evidence of this expertise and skill in molecular epidemiologic studies.

In his new position, Carmen will share responsibility with the current co-director, Margaret Karagas in facilitating population-based research and especially molecular research within defined populations. We are excited by Carmen's commitment to provide outstanding mentorship for NCCC faculty and expand the CE program using it as a unique and powerful platform for building interdisciplinary and translational research bridging modern genomic science and population-based studies of human cancer.

Konstantin Dragnev, MD Appointed co-director of Cancer Mechanisms Research Program
Konstantin Dragnev, MD

Konstantin Dragnev, MD

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Konstantin Dragnev as co-director of the NCCC Cancer Mechanisms Research Program. Dr. Dragnev received his MD degree in 1987 from the Higher Institute of Medicine in Bulgaria, did a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, followed by postgraduate training in internal medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, and completed his Medical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The focus of his research and clinical interest is lung cancer. Dr. Dragnev leads medical oncology participation in the Comprehensive Thoracic Oncology Program serving on NCCC's clinical trial scientific review committee and participating in several DHMC fellowship programs. As the Medical Director of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center Infusion Suite, he is leading efforts to innovate and streamline the delivery of standard and investigational therapies to patients with cancer and blood disorders.

As a co-director of the Cancer Mechanisms Program, he will be well-positioned, in both the scientific and clinical activities of the Cancer Center, to bring together basic and clinical investigators to design trials that are based on Dartmouth science and fulfill unmet needs of specific subsets of our patients. In his new position, Dr. Dragnev will share responsibility with the current co-director, Dr. Patricia Ernst in facilitating the translation of Dartmouth science into clinical trials bringing together basic and clinical investigators to design trials based on Dartmouth science, while fulfilling very important unmet needs of cancer patients.

Patrick Judson, MD

Patrick Judson, MD

Dr. Patrick Judson Joins DH-Keene Hematology/Oncology Department

Dr. Patrick Judson has joined the Hematology/Oncology Department at the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. He received his baccalaureate and medical degrees from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Previous appointments include Medical Director Hematology/Medical Oncology at Augusta Health Care Center in Fishersville, VA and Medical Director Hematology-Medical Oncology at Great Plains Regional Medical Center, North Platte, NE. He served as staff physician at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, PA and held numerous leadership positions in addition to staff physician at Cancer Institute of New Mexico in Santa Fe, NM; Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Aurora, CO; and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, KY.

Sarah Colson, MSN, APRN, NP-C

Sarah Colson, MSN, APRN, NP-C

Sarah Colson Joins Hematology/Oncology Department at CMC/DHK

Sarah Colson, MSN, APRN, NP-C has joined the Hematology/Oncology Department at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. She completed her APRN and MSN degrees at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, has collaborated in numerous research studies, and served on various committees in the topics of: pathology, palliative care, ethics, chemotherapy nursing, bone marrow biopsy and moderate sedation, tumor boards, and a medical literature group.

ACS Institutional Research Grant Applications due January 24, 2014

American Cancer Society (ACS) Institutional Research Grants support studies undertaken by investigators who are early in their careers and need pilot data before submitting individual research grant applications. Eligible applicants must not have received prior R01 support from the NIH (or comparable support from NSF, ACS), unless an initial grant was not renewed. They must not hold an academic rank above Assistant Professor. Research associates, instructors, and postdoctoral fellows also are not eligible.

ACS Funding

2011 ACS grant recipients: (l to r): Anna M. Adachi-Mejia, PhD, Brock C. Christensen, PhD; Nancy B. Kuemmerle, D.O., Ph.D; Samir Soneji, PhD

Applications are due no later than January 24, 2014, and will be reviewed for funding priority by the local ACS/IRG Review Committee. Download the application (DOC), complete it, and then email it to You will receive a return e-mail stating that your application has been received. If you have any questions, contact Richard Lucius at or (603) 653-3636.

NCCC and New Hampshire Oncology Hematology Associates Collaboration

NCCC has announced the creation of a new business relationship with New Hampshire Oncology Hematology Associates (NHOH). The goal of the relationship is to foster clinical collaboration and learning between the organizations. Through this agreement, NHOH will provide part time physician services to NCCC in the Notre Dame Pavilion at Catholic Medical Center. NHOH's Dr. Danny Sims, will join NPs, Gloria Drouin and Beth Goddard beginning January 2014. Dr. Sims will see patients two full days per week.

Collaboration between Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Elliot Health System

Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Elliot will work together to improve health in the Manchester community and reduce the overall cost of care for patients, local employers and those offering various health/health care products. (read the complete message from Dr. Jim Weinstein, CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock)

Budget Improvement Website – Central Resource for Budget Improvement Process

The new Budget Improvement SharePoint site is a central resource for information about the budget improvement process at Geisel, including updates on progress, FAQs, as well as forms and related documents. It is a protected site, so you will need to use your NetID name and password for access. The site is directly accessible from our Hanover and Lebanon (DHMC) campuses, as well as from any location via VPN.

Your input is important to the success of the Budget Improvement process. If you have suggestions for ways Geisel could save money or generate new revenues, please share them with the Budget Improvement Committee by visiting the Budget Improvement website. Your suggestions will be anonymous and will not be shared with anyone outside the committee without your consent. We value your input.

Geisel School of Medicine Receives Full Eight-Year Accreditation

The nation's sole medical school accrediting body, the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) has granted the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine a full eight-year term of accreditation—the longest available from the LCME. (read more)

Biomedical Libraries' eJournals on your iPad

Would you like to easily access the current issues of the Biomedical Libraries' subscriptions to eJournals without trolling through databases? After all, databases are designed for searching, not reading. Now Dartmouth's subscription to the full features of BrowZine, an application that allows you to easily create your own Newsstand, browse & store, and access thousands of Dartmouth's eJournals collection. One of BrowZine's nice features is your ability to have the articles you need at your fingertips and be able to access them anywhere, anytime! You can save articles to DropBox, iBooks, Notability, and other services. As of right now, BrowZine doesn't offer printing, but articles can be opened in other apps that allow printing depending which you have installed on your iPad (learn more).

Be Part of Audrey's Ribbon Brigade to the Top

Last year Reach for the Peaks founder Wes Chapman carried a yellow ribbon up Mt. Kilimanjaro to honor Prouty participant and former FNCCC Board Director Mark Green

We conceived the Reach for the Peaks mountaineering program with a very simple premise: to honor those fighting the disease, those providing care, and those who have passed on.

Mountains are special places – particularly very high mountains. The beauty, isolation, and the simple elevation combine into a unique spiritual experience. If you have someone you'd like us to honor at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, please sign up to support the Ribbon Brigade. On December 26 a yellow ribbon with your honoree's name on it will start the climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro, and your donation of $100 will take it to the top of Africa. Plus, you'll receive a digital photo of it there! More information can be found at .

Other Happenings

Check out d2u for listings like these about news around campus:

  • Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Passes are at an Early Bird price. Check it out at along with some of the winter activities we are planning with more to come.
  • iPad in Stock Special: Purchase any IN Stock Apple iPad and receive HP Wireless 3520 Printer Free at the Computer Store - McNutt Hall Monday - Friday 8:30 - 6:00 (personal purchases only).
  • The Christmas Revels: An Appalachian Celebration of the Winter Solstice: Join Revels North in celebrating the shortest day of the year with a joyous journey to Southern Appalachia, where Native American, African and European traditions combine in astonishing music, dance and folktales.

Other information links: Geisel Insider ; DH-Today

Dates to note

Cancer Nanotechnology Symposium
December 10, 2013
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Auditorium G (formally known as the James C. Chilcott Conference Center

Grand Rounds
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.