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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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Cancer Currents for January 2014

Mark Israel

Because of the scale of our peer-reviewed cancer research, the significance of our contributions to the field, and the value added by our center activity to the work of our investigators, NCCC is one of 41 NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers. All NCI cancer centers are reviewed every five years and, as you know, we have been busy preparing for our 2014 NCI Cancer Center Support Grant submission.

Past NCI reviews were a two-step process: approval, and then comprehensive designation. Last January NCI implemented a new one-step flow. After receiving our written proposal in late January, NCI visitors will do an on-site review in June. Also new this year is the electronic application submission process.

While review criteria in the past emphasized quality and volume of research, the new criteria will also measure the impact of findings translated into clinical and catchment area settings.

We are proposing renewal of our currently approved six research programs, but our faculty membership has increased more than 20 percent since the last submission. Because of the growth in our population science research we are proposing new shared services for trace element analysis and geospatial mapping. To maximize cost efficiencies of NCI funding, which could be awarded effective December 1, 2014, we are consolidating our current 11 shared resources into 9 cores.

Though a distraction from our day-to-day work, preparing the core grant application is an important aspect of our strategic planning. It marks the beginning of the next five year cycle of our intensive research focus and continuous care improvement.

Thank you for all the work you have contributed to this process. I hope you can see it as I do: an opportunity for recognition of the outstanding research and deep commitment for improved cancer care that embodies our center.

Mark Israel, Director

3rd Annual Nanotechnology Symposium

Nanotechnology Symposium

Among the invited speakers at the recent nanotechnology symposium was Tillman Gerngross, Professor of Engineering and Associate Provost of Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer at the Thayer School at Dartmouth. Gerngross is co-founder and entrepreneur of five biotech companies related to immune targeting and therapeutics.

NCCC welcomed 104 participants from major research universities and federally-funded cancer centers for "Immuno Targeting and Delivery," a cancer nanotechnology symposium held on December 10, 2013. This was the 3rd symposium sponsored by the Dartmouth Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (DCCNE). A different topic relative to magnetic nanoparticle therapy, targeting, and imaging is explored each year.

Rakesh Jain, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, gave a keynote presentation that was combined with NCCC Grand Rounds (view his presentation: Normalizing Tumor Microenvironment to Treat Cancer: Bench to Bedside to Biomarkers).

Poster awards were given to participating graduate students and post-doctoral fellows: Seiko Brown, graduate student (1st place), Jonathan Elliott, post-doctoral fellow (2nd place), and Kristian Sexton, graduate student (3rd place).

New Upgrades to NCC's Varian TrueBeam system

Varian Trubeam and Patient

Craig B. Hansen, chief radiation therapist in NCCC Radiation Oncology, monitors a patient on the Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator.

A new treatment table for NCCC's Varian TrueBeam system, the six-degree-of-comfort couch, has brought increased precision and efficiency to radiation treatments, especially in delicate areas of the body where millimeter accuracy is essential. "Major areas where we envision this being very important include tumors of the brain, the head-and-neck, the prostate, and the vertebral bodies of the spine," says radiation oncologist Alan Hartford, MD, PhD, interim chief of the Section of Radiation Oncology and associate professor of medicine at Geisel School of Medicine. Read the Focus story, "Next Generation Radiation Technology," to learn more.

NCCC partners with Honduran Cancer Center

Honduran Cancer Center

Women from villages in the remote mountains of Honduras wait to register for a NCCC-sponsored, two day cervical cancer screening and breast education clinic.

In October, NCCC Director of Community Affairs Linda Kennedy worked with village leaders and oncologists from La Liga Contra el Cancer in Honduras to organize a two-day cervical cancer screening and breast education clinic for women from villages in the remote mountains of Honduras.

Researchers and physicians from NCCC and La Liga Contra el Cancer in Honduras screened 472 women for cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), led information sessions on preventing HPV and how to do a breast self-exam, and guided the women through an 8-minute survey about their background and education. The NCCC team will share an analysis of the information gathered there with physicians from La Liga, who are creating a comprehensive national plan to fight cervical cancer in Honduras.

New NCCC Staff

Kirk Cassels will join NCCC as web producer on Monday, January 6, 2014. Kirk comes to us from Dartmouth College's Office of Public Affairs where he has served as a multimedia specialist for three years. Previously, he served as managing web editor and writer for a range of sports, entertainment, and news outlets. He has a master's in journalism from Temple University and a bachelor's in English from Skidmore College.

Octoberfest Run Raises $28,200 for NCCC


Organizers of the Harpoon Octoberfest Run presented NCCC with a check for $28,200, money raised through the event held on October 13, 2013. The funds included money raised by Harpoon Brewery, Downs Rachlin Martin, and the Friends of NCCC Team. Left to right (back row): Jean Brown, and Bob Gerlach (NCCC), Beth Rattigan (DRM), Charlie Storey (Harpoon), Tom Csatari (DRM), Bruce Bouchard (NCCC); front row: Merrill Maloney, Jessica Cox, and Marly Ashworth (Harpoon).

New "Culture of Caring" Section on DH-Intranet

Read about your colleagues and community volunteers who are making a difference. A new section of the DH Intranet is now devoted to stories about Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Culture of Caring.

Meditation for the New Year

Starting January 6, 2014, all patients, visitors, and staff are welcome to come to the DHMC Chapel on Mondays from 12:30 to 1 pm to meditate. No experience is necessary. Gendo Allyn Field, DHMC Chaplain Intern and Zen Monk

Other Happenings

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

  • Dartmouth Employee Arts Festival
    Submit art for the eighth annual ArtWorks, Dartmouth's employee arts festival (March 19-20, 2014). The deadline for submitting is Monday, February 3, 2014. Additional details, including guidelines, submission forms, FAQs, and exhibitions from previous years, are available at You can contact ArtWorks at
  • Needed: XC Ski Instructors!
    OPO Nordic Ski Program seeks instructors for XC skiing PE. One or multiple classes, January 14 through March 1. Racing background (at any level) or previous experience teaching preferred. Preference for expertise in both classic and skate. Driver cert. Preferred. Pay rate negotiable with experience level; free season ski pass to Dartmouth XC ski center. Contact Lindsay Putnam,; 802-649-1668.
  • Radical Jewelry Makeover: Creating Treasure from Junk
    Wondering what to do with the tangled chains, broken brooches, mate-less earrings and other items cluttering your jewelry box? Give them to Radical Jewelry Makeover! The first project of the Hop's new Community Venture Initiative (CVI), Radical Jewelry Makeover reuses junk jewelry, promotes sustainable mining practices, and invites members of the public to try jewelry making. Info:

Other information links: Geisel Insider ; DH-Today

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.