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Cancer Currents for February 2014

Mark Israel

On January 17, 2014, Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak released the 2014 Surgeon General's Report: (The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress ). Issued 50 years after the 1964 report that first concluded that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, it finds that smoking causes colorectal cancer (the second deadliest cancer after lung cancer) and liver cancer. While not definitely linked, evidence suggests that smoking causes breast cancer, and studies suggest that smokers with prostate cancer may be more likely to die from the disease than nonsmokers. One out of three cancer deaths is caused by smoking.

The report's findings highlight many of the research themes that permeate the work of NCCC investigators. To note just three:

  • Second hand smoke: since 1964, 2.5 million nonsmokers died because they breathed secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke exposure is now known to cause stroke in nonsmokers, and today about half of all the children between ages 3 and 18 years in this country are exposed to cigarette smoke regularly, either at home or in places such as restaurants that still allow smoking.
    Susanne E. Tanski MD, NCCC researcher and Dartmouth-Hitchcock pediatrician, has conducted extensive research on the dangers of second and third-hand smoke. Watch her grand rounds presentation: Eliminating Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
  • Youth at risk:As a result of tobacco industry marketing and other influences, every day in the U.S. more than 3,200 children under 18 smoke their first cigarette. Another 2,100 young "occasional smokers" become daily smokers. Images that make smoking appealing in movies, on TV, in video games, and online influence young people's decision to start smoking.
    James D. Sargent MD is an internationally recognized expert who regularly publishes research on the effects of media exposure on childhood smoking behaviors and comments on the influence of media on adolescent smoking. Watch his grand rounds presentation: Movie Smoking, Adolescent Smoking, and How NCCC Jumpstarted the Research
  • Call for action:The 1964 Surgeon General's Report helped to change public attitudes toward smoking—in 1965, about 43 percent of adults were smokers compared to 18 percent in 2012. However, the decline in smoking has slowed in recent years: 42 million American adults and about 3 million middle and high school students continue to smoke. The Surgeon General's Report calls for renewed prevention and education efforts.
    Robert Gerlach, NCCC's associate director for Administration and Scientific Affairs, is vice chair of the board for the NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration (NHCCC). This partnership of individuals and organizations uses epidemiological data and research to set evidence-based priorities and develop action plans to fight cancer. Researchers and physicians at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center provide NHCCC with short briefs to help the general public understand emerging issues in cancer treatment, like Lung Cancer Screening for smokers, to distribute to the public, providers, and policy makers throughout the state. These Emerging Issues briefs are available as printable pdfs on the NHCC website.

What more exciting way to start a new year than to receive both confirmation and recognition of the impact research being conducted by NCCC investigators is having on national policy!

Mark Israel, Director

NHOH Oncologist to See Patients at Norris Cotton Cancer Center Manchester

Doctor Dan Sims

Danny Sims, MD

Beginning in February 2014, Danny Sims, MD, will develop and maintain a practice two days a week as a Norris Cotton Cancer Center Hematologist-Oncologist in the Manchester office at the Notre Dame Pavilion of Catholic Medical Center.

Sims has been a highly respected member of New Hampshire Oncology Hematology (NHOH) for more than 20 years seeing patients in southern and eastern NH. As a result of a new agreement between Dartmouth-Hitchcock (DH) and NHOH, Sims will now see patients at Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) as a DH physician.

A graduate of Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Sims completed his internship, residency, and Hematology-Oncology fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. He maintains memberships with the American College of Physicians (ACP), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society (NNECOS), and the New Hampshire Medical Society (NHMS). An active member of the local community, Dr. Sims has a long history as a board member of the Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire.

Your Voice Matters: 2014 Employee Engagement Survey (1.27-2.14)

DH employee survey

From David Nalepinski, director, Oncology Service Line & Business Operations: This year's Engagement Survey theme, "Your Voice Matters," could not be more true for those involved in the care of cancer patients. In 2012, NCCC saw better than average participation in the survey. In some areas related to patient care, the NCCC staff had favorable scores significantly above the DHMC mean. However, it was evident that there was a sense of unease related to changing operations and the direction of the organization as a whole. Over the past two years, there has been significant focus on communication, improved operations, and encouraging and empowering employees to engage in improvement efforts. In many areas we have made significant gains. However, there is still much work to do. The timing of the survey could not be better! We need increased participation in this year's survey so we know where we are falling short—so we can work together to move forward.

Keep Current with NCCC Facebook and Twitter Channels

Norris Cotton Cancer Center's social media is starting 2014 with a surge! Within the past month, the number of users to "like" our Facebook page surpassed 1,000, and our Twitter feed amassed more than 500 followers. If you're not liking or following, you're missing such things as our live tweeting of the Grand Rounds lectures, and the sharing of exclusive video that demonstrates a scientific first. The more you engage with our channels, the more prevalent our social media presence will become.

Paydarfar named Section Chief of Otolaryngology, Audiology & Maxillofacial Surgery

Effective March 1 Joseph Paydarfar will be the new Section Chief of Otolaryngology, Audiology & Maxillofacial Surgery for Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Dr. Cliff Belden to Serve as Interim Sr. Associate Dean and D-H Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. Cliff Belden

Clifford J. Belden, MD

Dr. Cliff Belden, chair of the Department of Radiology, has agreed to serve as Interim Chief Clinical Officer for Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and as the Interim Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Geisel School of Medicine. As Chief Clinical Officer, he will work with D-H Chief Operating Officer Dan Jantzen to oversee and direct operations throughout the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system, as well as furthering national and regional clinical collaborations. He will continue to advance several key initiatives in provider compensation, building "programs of distinction" throughout the system, and coordinate and integrate providers across One D-H. As the interim Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the Geisel School of Medicine, he will serve as the dean's representative to clinical faculty and further forge the alignment between D-H and Geisel. He will assume these roles effective February 18.

Danilov Receives LRF Clinical Investigator Career Development Award

Dr. Danilov

Alexey V. Danilov

Alexey V. Danilov, assistant professor of Medicine, has received a Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF) Clinical Investigator Career Development Award. This three-year program funds training of clinicians who will participate in developing new therapeutic and diagnostic tools for lymphoma. Clinicians will be trained to design and administer clinical studies and to take on primary responsibility for trial design, protocol development, IRB submission, and publication.

"CLL represents one-third of all leukemia cases and despite current therapies, remains a deadly disease," Danilov wrote in a statement about his work. "Patients' lymph nodes provide a niche that renders tumor cells resistant to common therapies. However, this niche may also engage lethal pathways that destroy the tumor. We will study novel approaches to simultaneously neutralize supportive signals and enhance death-promoting signals in CLL. We will initiate a clinical trial of MLN4924, a drug that abolishes the supporting signals. A strategy combining this drug with other novel agents should kill CLL cells in the body's protective environment and ultimately lead to a cure."

New NCCC Staff

Nikki Nash, RN, BSN, OCN has accepted the position of nurse manager for hematology/oncology infusion. She will oversee infusion services in Lebanon for adult and pediatric hematology/oncology, Lebanon clinic LNAs, Claremont nurses, and St. Johnsbury infusion and clinic. Nash brings more than six years experience focusing on hematology/oncology with specialty training in the bone marrow transplant population. She earned a BA in Psychology, BSN from UNH, and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science, Nursing Leadership program at Franklin Pierce University.

New Shared Resources Website

Norris Cotton Cancer Center organizes and manages 12 Shared Resources to provide Dartmouth investigators access to instruments, technologies, services, and expert consultation that can advance their research. Learn more at the new shared resources website, or download the Norris Cotton Cancer Center Life Sciences Shared Resources booklet (PDF)

DeMars Named Interim Chair of Obstetrics/Gynecology at Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Leslie DeMars, MD, has been named interim Chair of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, replacing Richard Reindollar, MD, who had served as chair since 2005 and recently stepped down to become the new Executive Director of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). DeMars, who is currently the division director of gynecologic oncology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Geisel School of Medicine, will serve during the search and transition to a new permanent chair (full release).

Request for Applications: The SYNERGY Pilot Grant Program

The Dartmouth SYNERGY Translational Pilot Program seeks to fund innovative, interdisciplinary research proposals that have clear potential for translation into patient-oriented care and for improving population health. The goal of the SYNERGY Pilot Projects Program is to facilitate collaborative translational research studies within all our institutions and affiliated health centers.

  • mandatory letter of intent due: February 28, 2014
  • invitation for full applications: March 14, 2014
  • applications due: April 18, 2014

For more information regarding eligibility and letter of intent submission guidelines please see the Dartmouth Synergy website.

Rotating Art Exhibits in NCCC Waiting Rooms

Healing with Art

Porch Light by Ellen Griffin is displayed in the "Healing with Art" exhibit.

The rotating Healing with Art exhibits in the waiting rooms and infusions suites of the Lebanon, Manchester, and Nashua NCCC centers offer patients, their caregivers, and staff members a contemplative refuge in stressful times. Read about the story behind these exhibits: Art Offers a Refuge to Cancer Patients.

Upper Valley Hostel

The Upper Valley Hostel provides home-like overnight accommodations for adults (and their caregiver/family members) receiving outpatient treatment at Upper Valley medical centers. The three-floor house has sixteen twin beds in eight bedrooms. Each floor has its own bathroom. There is a common kitchen, sunroom/eating area, and living room. The first floor bedrooms and bathroom are handicap accessible. Rates are $15 per person per night, cash or checks (no credit cards). Upper Valley Hostel, 17 South Street, Hanover NH; 603-643-3277,

Sign-Up for Community Supported Agriculture at D-H Lebanon

Starting Jan. 20, employees at the DHMC campus and at the Heater Road clinic can purchase a seasonal share in a local farm and receive a season's worth of fresh local produce delivered to the worksite.


Are the below zero temperatures and dark winter days getting you down? Check out d2u for listings like these on classes and events around campus:

  • Have lunch in Dartmouth's tropical paradise: The multi-purpose room in The Life Sciences Greenhouse is used for meetings, lunches, and studying. It's open to everyone to enjoy and experience a bit of summer in winter. Look here:
  • Start thinking about Spring: Leave the gray days of winter behind, hop on the motor coach, and enjoy a day at the largest flower and garden show in New England. On Sunday, March 16, After Hours has planned an all-day bus trip to the Boston Flower Show ( $50 per person (which includes the round-trip bus trip and show admittance). Sign up by going to or
  • Winter Public Astronomical Observing: The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers free viewing through their campus astronomical telescope to the Dartmouth Community and the public.
    Weather permitting, observation of the moon, planets and stars is available on Friday nights at Shattuck Observatory from 8:00pm to 10:00pm, January 10th through March 7th. Call 646-9100 to confirm the status of a session.
  • Howl at the Moon February 15th: The Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center brings you the annual "Howl at the Moon," a progressive dinner out on the golf course lit by torches and fire pits and catered by our local merchants. Fun for all and a limited number of tickets sold. Please purchase tickets ($10/person; free for ages 5 and under) at the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center at the DOC House on Occom Pond. Great live music in the

Other information links: Geisel Insider; DH-Today

NCCC in the Media: January 2014

Researchers developing new approach for imaging dense breasts for abnormalities (NCCC), 1/24/14

Dartmouth researchers working on ways to better detect breast cancer (NCCC) NH Union Leader, 1/27/14

"A scientific first: Physicists, physicians, engineers photograph radiation beams in the human body through the Cherenkov effect" (Dr. Lesley Jarvis, Dr. David Gladstone, Dr. Brian Pogue); Science Codex, 1/23/14

New tools to increase precision and safety of radiation treatment in cancer patients (Dr. Leslie Jarvis); News Medical, 1/23/14

NCCC physicians use new gene sequencing equipment for testing abnormal DNA in cancerous tumor cells (Dr. Gregory Tsongalis); News Medical, 1/23/14

Colonoscopies: The Longer the Better (Dr. Lynn Butterly); MedPage Today, 1/9/14

NH study: Cancer victories masked by other successes (Dr. Samir Soneji); NH Union Leader, 1/16/14

New analysis shows fewer years of life lost to cancer (Dr. Samir Soneji);, 1/16/14

'War on Cancer' success examined (Dr. Samir Soneji); Oncology Nurse Advisor, 1/27/14

"A Better Way to Detect Cancer?" (NCCC, Thayer); WCAX news 1/30/14

Dates to note

New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration 9th Annual Conference
Stepping Up to Reduce Cancer Risk Where We Live, Learn, Work, and Play
March 27, 2014
Grappone Conference Center/Courtyard by Marriott
Concord, NH

7th annual Dartmouth Integrative Biology Symposium: Global Health
April 22nd and 23rd
Dartmouth College's Alumni Hall

Grand Rounds

Norris Cotton Cancer Center typically holds Grand Rounds lectures on Tuesdays from 12 to 1 pm 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.