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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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Cancer Currents for March 2014

Mark Israel

The application for renewal of our Cancer Center Support Grant was sent to the NIH—electronically for the first time—on February 10, 2014. We have submitted a strong application, one that we can all be proud of.

The quality of a project like this reflects the hard work and commitment of the team behind it, and our truly exceptional team delivered. The final 1,627 page document included more 70 biosketches and a list of 2,028 cancer-related NCCC member publications. Nearly 100 pdf files were uploaded. On the weekend before the due date Audrey Streeter came in to submit a "trial" document, just to make sure all would go smoothly with the electronic submission.

This complicated application process began a year ago, and on Tuesday following the Monday submission the relief was palpable throughout the center. Our next hurdle will be the NCI team visit on Thursday, June 12, 2014. Bob Gerlach, who deserves special thanks for his organizational skills, deep knowledge of NCI expectations, and commitment to creating a grant that celebrates our accomplishments while realistically portraying our needs, helped me outline the process for the coming months:

  • On Thursday, June 12th, an NCI Initial Review Group (IRG) team will visit our center and collect information to supplement the written application. The team will include expertise across all 21 components of our application, so our site visit team may be nearly that large.
  • In the coming weeks we will be collecting additional documentation for items cited as "on the near horizon" in our application. We will also ask the site visit team to include new work accomplished since the time of the application in their report.
  • In general, June 12 is our chance to convey to the site visitors that the Cancer Center has the importance on campus that we described in our document. We have 5 hours for presentations of our 21 components (reserving at least half the time for questions), so all of our formal presentations must be focused and concise. In May we will be rehearsing these presentations to make sure we attain that brevity, and to anticipate likely questions.
  • We will receive review comments and the team's rating of the overall application (and individual components) after the site visit. The relative ranking of our application will not be determined until the entire IRG meets (typically in August), and we will not know the actual "payline" until the National Cancer Advisory Board confirms recommendations at their fall meeting. If all goes well at each stage, a new award to support the work proposed in the application will be in place on December.

The site visit on June 12 will reinforce our written documentation, and offer us all an opportunity to showcase the outstanding research and deep commitment for improved cancer care that embodies our center. Thank you for the dedication and collaborative team work that has made this possible.

Mark Israel, Director

NCCC Receives NCI Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site Award

Doctor Konstantin Dragnev

Konstantin H. Dragnev, MD, co-director of NCCC’s Cancer Mechanisms Program

NCCC is one of only 30 Cancer Centers nationwide to be receiving a Network Lead Academic Participating Sites (LAPS) award from the NCI Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) program.

"Becoming a Lead Academic Participating Site in the NCTN program is a national recognition of the long-standing commitment of our Cancer Center, our investigators and research teams to be leaders in the cancer cooperative groups. This is a Who’s Who in clinical cancer research," said Konstantin H. Dragnev, MD, Professor of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth and co-director of NCCC’s Cancer Mechanisms Program. Dragnev is the principal investigator on the LAPS grant application.

The goal of the NCTN is to develop and conduct state-of-the-art cancer treatment and advanced imaging clinical trials (especially large, definitive multi-institutional trials) that evaluate new cancer therapies and related clinical approaches for both adult and pediatric patients. As part of a recent restructuring of the program, NCI created the Network Lead Academic Participating Sites (LAPS) award category to help revitalize the role of NCI Comprehensive and Clinical Cancer Centers in NCI clinical trial participation. NCTN Network Lead Academic Participating Sites provide scientific leadership in development and conduct of clinical trials in association with one or more adult Network Groups as well as substantial accrual to clinical trials conducted across the entire NCTN. The New NCTN program is scheduled to start on March 1.

NCCC to Showcase Projects at Patient Safety Week 2014

patient safety at Dartmouth Hitchcock

National Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 2-8, and on Thursday, March 6, poster displays will fill Auditoria A-D and the Fuller Board Room (from 10 am to 3 pm. and the South Mall on Level 3 (in the evening), sharing D-H achievements in Quality and Patient Safety. The poster displays at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Patient Safety Awareness Fair are designed to share practice innovation as well as to provide information and resources about patient and staff safety to employees.

Don't miss the Cancer Center's Quality & Patient Safety Program displays, showcasing efforts to bring an even greater level of efficiency and effectiveness to patient safety and treatment. Displays of NCCC projects include:

  • Chemotherapy Patient Education
  • Intrathecal Chemotherapy Failure Modes & Effects Analysis
  • Radiation Oncology Waiting Room Monitoring
  • HSCU Plan of Care Communication

New Prouty Website: Easier to use, Tablet and Mobile Friendly

The Prouty Web

Forget the ice and snow, it’s time to jumpstart your Prouty game plan: gather teammates, start training, and organize your fundraising. Our new website has tips and tools and all the information you need to get started.

Increase in 2014 Geisel Applications more than Triple the National Average

Applications to the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth for the 2014 MD entering class have risen 27 percent compared to the previous year. The medical school experienced an increase of 1,104 secondary (complete) applications, pushing that total to 5,241 applications from prospective students vying for fewer than 90 seats this year (read more).

NCCC Quality and Patient Safety Update

Providing the highest quality of care and service to each patient is everyone's responsibility at the Cancer Center, and the NCCC Quality and Patient Safety Department (QPS) supports these efforts. This support can take on a number of different forms, from facilitating a process improvement project to abstracting and reporting clinical/operational data for analyses by teams. Please feel free to contact QPS director Evelyn Schlosser, with any comments, suggestions and/or questions. Recent (Oct-Dec 2013) QPS accomplishments and activities include:

  • Preparations for The Joint Commission (TJC) on-site survey: We are in the “open window” season for random survey by TJC, which will last through November 2014. Nurse Managers/Supervisors and Practice Managers are conducting routine ‘tracers’ (audits) in each clinical setting to assess for compliance with standards and to identify areas in need of improvement. Audit reports are compiled monthly and available to leadership to share with staff.
  • The NCCC Patient and Family Advisory Committee was launched in the fall. This committee, co-led by Ginny Reed (Patient and Family Advisor) and Linda Metcalf (director, Radiation Oncology), promotes and enhances patient and family-centered oncology care and services to support the mission of NCCC.
  • Cancer Center leaders have sponsored many staff members for Value Institute Green Belt and Yellow Belt training in the past few months, and many new ‘belts’ have gone on to initiate/complete important improvement projects. Below is a recap of some of these projects:

    1 West Advance Directives Project – Leader: Tina Bowers, Yellow Belt
    HSCU Nurse Plan of Care/Rounding Project – Leaders: Lisa Wesinger, Ginny Bayliss, Yellow Belts
    1 West Outpatient to Inpatient Elective Transfer Project – Leaders: Megan Howe, Alyssa Olson, and Greg DeMatteo, Yellow Belts
    1 West Sexuality during Cancer Treatment Project – Leaders: Susan Eichholz, Elizabeth McGrath, Yellow Belts
    NCCC Quality and Patient Safety (QPS) Data Request Project – Leader: Jennifer Snide, Green Belt
    Targeting Optimization for Autologous Stem Cell Transplant (TOAST) Project – Leader: Joshua Hickman, Green Belt
    Radiation Oncology Coding for Radiation Oncology Pathways (CROP) Project – Leader: Markes Wilson, Green Belt

Other projects currently taking place within the Cancer Center include: Care Path Development & Implementation (Radiation Oncology); Reliable Operation of Clinic – ROC (Hematology/Oncology – Lebanon); Neuro-oncology Pathway Development, Phase 2; Head & Neck Pathway Development (Rad Onc & Hem Onc); and IT Chemotherapy Procedure Implementation.

Geisel Medical Students Explore issues in Compassionate Care

First year medical students gathered in January to discuss compassionate care. After viewing a video of patient interviews created by Shelsea Weinstein, a 2nd year medical student at Geisel, the students explored the topic in a discussion led by Mary Chamberlin (MD, comprehensive breast program) and Konstantin Dragnev (MD lung cancer, compassionate care award winner).

C4QI (Comprehensive Cancer Center Consortium for Quality Improvement) News

The Comprehensive Cancer Center Consortium for Quality Improvement (C4QI) is partnering with University Healthsystem Consortium (UHC) to enhance NCCC’s ability to benchmark performance on national quality indicators and obtain greater value from the analytic tools that UHC offers. We are early in the process, but we have made great strides; a number of additional cancer centers have signed on to UHC including Roswell Park and Fox Chase, and UHC is in negotiations with others include Memorial Sloan Kettering, Sylvester and Moffitt.

C4QI has asked Senior Value Measurement Analyst Jen Snide to join in their efforts to integrate current benchmarking data into the UHC tools and prioritize future enhancement to UHC resources that would aid in analyses related to patients with cancer. Some of the efforts include the integration of tumor registry data into the UHC Clinical Database and patient level flags to track BMT and other characteristics of interest. Given D-H’s experience with the UHC tools, Snide has been asked to co-chair a UHC User Group of C4QI members along with Denise Morse from City of Hope. This group will help with on-boarding new UHC members, discuss and propose enhancements to the UHC tools and recommend benchmarking and improvement activities to the C4QI membership.

Cancer Core Grant Acknowledgement Language

All publications supported by the Cancer Center Core Grant should be acknowledged. This may include direct support from the Cancer Center (e.g., Developmental Funds, Early Phase Trial support), or indirect support (e.g., if the author used a Cancer Center Shared Resource in his/her research). Please use this language:

"Research reported in this [publication/press release] was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under award number P30CA023108 to the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health."

Important NIH Public Access Policy Compliance Information

The NIH Public Access Policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication. The policy requires that papers are accessible to the public on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication. For non-competing continuation grant awards with a start date of July 1, 2013, or beyond, NIH is delaying processing an award when publications arising from it are not in compliance. Investigators need to use My NCBI to enter papers onto PHS 2590 Progress Reports. Papers are associated using a My NCIB-generated PDF report.

To comply, Cancer Center members are encouraged to designate their NCCC administrative support person as a delegate for their myNCBI page. Delegates are persons who are granted permission by My Bibliography owners to view and manage their bibliographies.

Delegates can add and remove citations, check whether a manuscript is complaint with the NIH Public Access policy, advise investigators on journals that will submit publications directly to NIH, and/or assist you in submitting a manuscript into myNCBI for processing.

To designate a delegate, Cancer Center members can go to the following website for directions:

Contact a NCCC administrative support person for assistance:

Cancer Control:
Cancer Epidemiology:
Molecular Therapeutics:
Cancer Mechanisms:
Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy:
Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology:

Prouty Kick-off Parties in March

Get into the swing of it at one of our Prouty/Ultimate Kick-Off parties. Great location, delicious food and drink, terrific door prizes, lots of fellow Prouty-ers. Learn more about The Prouty.

  • Thursday, March 20, 5:30 to 7 pm: Milly’s Tavern, Manchester, NH
  • Thursday, March 27, 5:30 to 7 pm: Temazcal Tequila Tavern, Boston, Massachusetts

Other Happenings

Check out d2u for listings like these on classes and events around campus:

  • ArtWorks Opening Reception March 19: This year ArtWorks, Dartmouth's annual employee art show, will be on March 19 and 20, 2014. The opening reception is on Wednesday, March 19 at the Top of the Hop, with performances and works displayed Thursday, March 20 in Alumni Hall.
  • Free Ski Day at Sugarbush Ski Area March 16: College and DHMC employees, their spouses, and up to 2 dependent children ages 7-18 (kids 6 and under ski free) are invited to try the Sugarbush Ski Area for FREE on Sunday, March 16. Located just 90 minutes from Dartmouth in Warren, VT, Sugarbush offers 111 trails, 20 wooded areas and 16 lifts spread across 6 peaks and 2 mountain areas. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center/College and matching government-issued identification required at time of redemption. Don’t’ wait in long ticket lines—registration and ticket redemption will be at the outside ticket window of the Gate House Lodge, Lincoln Peak Base Area.

There will also be an Apres Ski/Ride reception in Timbers with a cash bar and complimentary hors d'oeuvres from 330PM - 5pm.

  • Radical Jewelry Makeover: Did you know it takes hundreds of tons of earth & rock to mine just one ounce of gold? Donate your unwanted jewelry at Hop Box Office & UV sites, and community members and local artists will transform it into new, wearable creations.

Other information links: Geisel Insider; DH-Today

NCCC in the Media: February 2014

Colonoscopy withdrawal times linked to polyp detection rates (Dr. Lynn Butterly) Oncology Nurse Advisor, 2/10/14

An aspirin a day could lower ovarian cancer risk (Dr. Jennifer Doherty) Science Recorder, 2/10/14; NH Union Leader, 2/18/14

NCCC offers new heart sparing treatment for left breast cancer (Dr. Lesley Jarvis); News Medical, 2/14/14

Dartmouth-Hitchcock doctors use new treatment options for prostate cancer (Dr. Thomas Sroka); NH Union Leader, 2/16/14

Near-IR Spectroscopy Performs Challenging Breast Imaging Novus Light Technologies, 2/18/14

Dartmouth tests new breast cancer detection technique Rutland Herald, 2/20/14

Dates to note

March 31, 2014
26th Presidential Faculty Lecture: Bioinformatics: 25 years of Integrating the Biological Sciences
Professor Jason Moore, Third Century Professor, Professor of Genetics and Community and Family Medicine at Geisel
Time: 4 to 5 pm
Location: Alumni Hall

April 17, 2014
Registration Begins for AACI CCAF Annual Meeting
Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Organization: Norris Cotton Cancer Center
Location: Chicago

April 22, 2014
7th annual Dartmouth Integrative Biology Symposium
Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Organization: Norris Cotton Cancer
Location: Hanover Inn, Hanover, NH

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.