Cancer Currents for November 2009

News and Notes from the Director
Dietrich Named James J. Carroll Chair of Oncology
Photo: Allen J. Dietrich, MD

Please join me in congratulating Allen J. Dietrich, MD, on his appointment to the James J. Carroll Chair of Oncology at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Dartmouth Medical School. This Chair is awarded to a faculty member with an outstanding professional history as an inspiring educator, a supportive mentor, a productive scientist, a respected senior scholar of national academic stature, and a judicious institutional leader. Dr. Dietrich, Professor of Community and Family Health and a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, has played a pivotal role in the continuing development of Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and has brought discernment and insight to his leadership of Dartmouth's cancer-related population sciences. Dr. Dietrich will present a Norris Cotton Cancer Center Distinguished Lecture in early 2010. Read more.

Meyers Is New Administrative Director for Community Outreach

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Meyers as Norris Cotton Cancer Center's Administrative Director for Community Outreach. This newly established leadership position reflects the emerging National Cancer Institute focus on community engagement and is responsive to a central goal of the NCCC Strategic Plan: to raise public understanding of cancer prevention and awareness of the Cancer Center regionally and nationally. It also responds to the DHMC strategic vision: to achieve the healthiest population possible. Ms. Meyers will lead planning and integration across Cancer Center programs in the community, communications / marketing and development, and a recent new initiative in education and prevention. Read more.

Funding for Comparative Effectiveness Research
Photo: Anna N. A. Tosteson, ScD

Anna N. A. Tosteson, ScD, and colleagues at Norris Cotton Cancer Center and The Dartmouth Institute (TDI) have been awarded two years of funding to evaluate imaging technology in cancer detection and treatment determination, using comparative effectiveness research (CER). Emerging imaging technologies in cancer are an important component of efforts to effectively detect and treat cancer. Sometimes these technologies lead to unexpected findings, but how these change patient care is not well understood. This funding will allow researchers to define new approaches to understanding the best uses of advanced imaging in cancer. The NCCC/TDI collaboration will establish a multi-institutional Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research in Cancer Imaging, creating the infrastructure and methodologies to promote and facilitate CER planning for future trials through the American College of Radiology Imaging Network and the Tufts Evidence-Based Practice Center. It also will undertake specific CER projects for positron emission tomograph (PET) that utilize the National Oncologic PET registry and Medicare administrative claims data, and extend an NCI-funded National Lung Screening Trial. Dr. Tosteson has also received NCI funding through a supplement to the NCCC Core Grant to establish a CER shared resource.

Butterly to Lead NH Colorectal Cancer Screening Program
Photo: Lynn F. Butterly, MD

New Hampshire has been awarded $3.5 million over five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase colorectal cancer screening for residents age 50 and older. Lynn F. Butterly, MD, Director of Colorectal Cancer Screening at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Community Liaison for Norris Cotton Cancer Center, is the Principal Investigator for the grant and Medical Director of the new Colorectal Cancer Screening Program funded by the grant. The Program will partner with New Hampshire's Division of Public Health Services of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration to advance its aims. Read more.

Upcoming Norris Cotton Cancer Center Distinguished Lectures

Mark your calendars now for this fall's series of Norris Cotton Cancer Center Distinguished Lectures, which include:

  • Thursday, November 5: Inaugural Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center Distinguished Lecture in Cancer Science: "Molecular Markers for Personalized Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy," with David Sidransky, MD
  • Thursday, November 12: 2009 Marilyn K. Bedell Distinguished Lecture in Oncology Nursing: "Unrelieved Symptoms During Cancer Treatment: Is Clinical Inertia a Factor?" with Kathi Mooney, PhD, RN, FAAN, AOCN
  • Thursday, December 17: 32nd David B. Kaner Memorial Lecture: "Biology and the Management of Germ Cell Tumors" with George J. Bosl, MD
NCI Launches Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers to Develop New Fields of Cancer Research

On behalf of the NCI, I would like to share the news that the NCI has awarded multiple institutional grants to establish twelve Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) as part of its Physical Sciences in Oncology initiative to better understand the physical laws and principles that shape and govern the emergence and behavior of cancer. The goal of the five-year initiative is to engage transdisciplinary scientific teams from the fields of physics, mathematics, chemistry, and engineering to examine new, non-traditional approaches to cancer research. Researchers will explore the physical laws and principles of cancer; evolution and evolutionary theory of cancer; information coding, decoding, transfer, and translation in cancer; and de-convoluting cancer's complexity. Visit the NCI's Physical Sciences in Oncology website to learn more.

-Mark Israel, MD