Cancer Currents for July 2010

News and Notes from the Director

The Prouty and Prouty Ultimate

Graphic: Prouty Logo

There's still time to sign up - if you're a bicyclist the deadline is July 7 at 5 p.m. Runners and walkers can sign up from now until the morning of the Challenge Walk, July 10. The Prouty is inclusive, too: there's a way for everyone to participate, from the two-day Prouty Ultimate - a bicycle tour through New Hampshire and the Upper Valley, 100 miles each day - to a gentle walk in Hanover. These events raise funds that greatly support research, equipment, education programs, clinical trials, and patient services at the Cancer Center.
Friday and Saturday, July 9 & 10
Hanover, NH

Ardis Olson Named New Hampshire Pediatrician of the Year

Photo: Ardis Olson

Ardis Olson, MD, a researcher at the Cancer Center and a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD), was named Pediatrician of the Year by the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Pediatrics Society. Describing Dr. Olson as a "champion for pediatricians, family practitioners, and their practices," the Chapter called her "a pioneer committed to improving practice quality through enhanced communication." A member of our Cancer Control Research Program, Dr. Olson's interests include helping children and teens avoid cancer risk behaviors. Her community-based "SunSafe" studies have led to new approaches to improving youth sun protection, including a SunSafe Primary Care Practice Manual. This research was disseminated nationally and is also a key part of the Cancer Center's community education and prevention efforts.

A Fond Farewell to Sarah Meyers

Photo: Sarah Meyers

Please join me in bidding best wishes to Sarah Meyers, who is retiring after 16 years of innovative leadership and program development in the administrative office of Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Her passion for the Cancer Center - and its potential to integrate leading research, compassionate patient care, and community outreach and education - has been the seed for many programs and partnerships that enrich the life of the Cancer Center today. Sarah has provided the inspiration for programs from Patient and Family Support Services to our new initiatives in Community Outreach and Education. Importantly, she also has been instrumental in acquiring funding for important projects, not the least of which includes organizing our core grant application for funding as a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center. We will all miss her hard work, dedication and gracious presence but wish her all the best in her new endeavors.

Cancer Center Research Featured at National Conference

Graphic: ASCO logo

Norris Cotton Cancer Center scientists were frequent presenters at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) in June. Cancer Center members and their work included:

  • Karen Skalla, MSN, APRN, AOCN: A Dartmouth-led study describing the physical, psychosocial, psychological, spiritual, and economic challenges faced by cancer survivors;
  • Peter Kaufman, MD: Research following patient-reported outcomes in clinical trials for patients with breast cancer;
  • Marc Ernstoff, MD: An investigation of denileuklin difitox's potential as an immunosuppressant for lymphoma patients;
  • Frederick Lansigan, MD: A pilot study of sorafenib examining biomarkers in lymphoma patients;
  • James Rigas, MD: The results of double-blind studies of ALD518's effectiveness in treating anemia and lean body mass loss in patients with non-small cell lung cancer;
  • Leslie DeMars, MD: A study evaluating the safety and tolerability of intraperitoneal catumaxomab in the consolidation setting for patients with minimal residual ovarian cancer;
  • Virginia Beggs, MDc, BSN, NP: A study on the effects of optimal heart failure regimens on the time course and extent of cardiac recovery of anthracycline-based chemotherapy.

The following work was published in conjunction with ASCO:

  • A Dartmouth-led study by a team including James Rigas, MD, on the use of quantitative proteomics to evaluate substrates and functional modules of the aurora and polo-like kinases;
  • A study by a team that included Frederick Lansigan, MD, on the rate of infection and immunosuppression of denileukin difitox in in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
New Director for the MD-PhD Program

Photo: Dr. James D. Gorham

Please join me in congratulating James D. Gorham, MD, PhD, on his appointment as the new Director of the MD-PhD Program at Dartmouth Medical School. Dr. Gorham joined Dartmouth in 1998 as Assistant Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004. Since 2008, Dr. Gorham has been Associate Director of the MD-PhD Program. He is also a member of the Cancer Center's Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy Research Program. His research interests are in the regulation of tolerance and autoimmunity, particularly in the liver, and he is the recipient of several NIH grants, including a current R01 focusing on autoimmune hepatitis.

New Associate Director for Bioinformatics

Photo: Jason Moore, PhD

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Moore, PhD, as the Associate Director for Bioinformatics at Norris Cotton Cancer Center. This new position was created to emphasize a larger vision for bioinformatics across all our research programs. Dr. Moore will be responsible for integrating bioinformatics into cancer research on complex biomedical questions, and for ensuring coordination of collaborative activities leading to new knowledge and its translation into clinical and public health applications.

Relay for Life in St. Johnsbury

A team from Norris Cotton Cancer Center North participated in another successful Caledonia County Relay for Life team last month, led by co-captains Jane Hatch and Midge Lubot. The American Cancer Society event brought hundreds of participants, including Cancer Center employees, friends, families and cancer survivors, to the St. Johnsbury Academy track to walk for 14 hours, and raised $ 8,500.

Cancer Center Staff Anniversaries

We're grateful for the continuing dedication of these staff members, all celebrating significant anniversaries as employees of Dartmouth College:

  • Omar Armendariz, Office of Clinical Research Specialist, 10 years
  • Mark Carey, Information Technology, 10 years
  • Gerald Collins, Clinical Oncology Group, 10 years
  • Polly Goralski, DES and Melanoma Research Studies, 10 years
  • Jennifer Holmes, Radiation and Oncology Therapy Group, 10 years
  • Daniel Nassau, Cancer Risk Behaviors Group, 10 years
  • Scott Savioli, New Hampshire Mammography Network, 10 years
  • Gary Ward, Flow Cytometry, 25 years

-Mark Israel, MD