Cancer Currents for June 2009

News and Notes from the Director
Graphic: NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center Logo

NCI Renews Norris Cotton Cancer Center's Comprehensive Designation

We are pleased to announce that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed Norris Cotton Cancer Center's designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Many cancer treatment facilities call themselves comprehensive cancer centers based on their self-assessment of their prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services. However, the term "Comprehensive," as used by the NCI, requires more than state-of-the-art care and services and includes a strong research base interactive with a wide spectrum of prevention, care, education, information, and dissemination activities that broadly serve communities, regions of the country, and often the Nation.

The Comprehensive designation is the second step in the Cancer Center Support Grant process of the NCI. Once Norris Cotton Cancer Center was approved and funded as an NCI center based on its scientific excellence, we submitted a summary of our programs in lay and professional outreach and education, and were awarded the Comprehensive designation based on both our education/training and community service/outreach activities.

American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting

The 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting runs May 29 - June 2 in Orlando, Florida. A forum for cutting-edge scientific and educational developments in oncology, Dartmouth is well represented with posters and abstracts including first author posters by Konstantin Dragnev, MD, and Lionel Lewis, MB, MD, and a first author abstract by Brendan Slagle, CRC.

View a complete listing of Dartmouth contributors with session titles.

Konstantin Dragnev Named CALGB PI
Photo: Konstantin H. Dragnev, MD

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Konstatin Dragnev, MD, as Principal Investigator for CALGB studies at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center/Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Dr. Dragnev succeeds Marc Ernstoff, MD, who has stepped down after many years of dedicated service. Dr. Dragnev joined the Dartmouth Pharmacology faculty in 1998 and the Dartmouth Oncology faculty in 2000. Dr. Dragnev is a physician-scientist specializing in thoracic oncology, with extensive experience in clinical research, including participation in more than 60 published manuscripts and 90 abstracts. We extend our gratitude to Dr. Ernstoff for his commitment to clinical research at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and our full support to Dr. Dragnev as he takes on the role of CALGB PI.

First-Ever Kingsbury Pavilion Blood Drive Exceeds Goal
Photo: Bags of Blood

Sherry Milano, CMA, with help from Medical Oncology receptionists Hannah Dunn and Kim Sevigny, organized Norris Cotton Cancer Center Kingsbury Pavilion's first blood drive. Patients with cancer utilize 80% of all the blood transfused in the United States. This particular blood drive, which took place on March 27 in Keene, encouraged friends and families of cancer patients to donate in recognition of the care their loved ones have received. The turnout was great, and the Red Cross collected 47 units of blood, which exceeded the initial goal of 30 units.

Cancer Resource Volunteers
Graphic: American Cancer Society Logo

A new partnership with the American Cancer Society has brought Cancer Resource Volunteers to Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Cancer Resource Volunteers help patients and their families connect to support services and information at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, in their local communities, and through national resources. Services may include transportation, support groups, wig banks, and peer support.

Volunteers are available in the Flatow Library on One West on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and in the waiting areas of Hematology/Oncology (3K) and Radiation Oncology (2K) on Wednesdays and Thursdays. For more information, email Deb Steele (, Mollie White ( or Sonia Parra (

Cancer Education and Screening Events for the Public or Patients

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center administration office can help plan and host cancer education and/or screening events for the public and/or patients, and is beginning to plan for events to be held between January and June 2010. If your group is interested in planning a public/patient education and/or screening event for that time period, please contact Beth Wood (, Conference & Events Coordinator, for more information on how we can help. A description of the event purpose and audience will need to be submitted by June 12, 2009.

Kingsbury Pavilion's Bald is Beautiful Event Raises $25,000
Photo: Bald Man Smiling, "Bald is Beautiful"

On April 25, 72 individuals who gathered more than $25,000 in charitable donations had their heads shaved at Kingsbury Pavilion's Bald is Beautiful event to honor and support those living with cancer. Many decided to go bald as a tribute to a family member or friend who had lost their hair, and maybe even their battle, to the illness. The proceeds from the event support the Kingsbury Patient Relief Fund, which grants financial support to cancer patients experiencing financial crises related to their illness.

-Mark Israel, MD