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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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Cancer Currents for March 2015

Mark Israel

In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the launch of a "Precision Medicine Initiative" and the White House posted a Fact Sheet to explain the plan. Most significantly, it contains $70 million for the National Cancer Institute to "scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge in the development of more effective approaches to cancer treatment." This is welcome and much needed funding to move genomics forward and we look forward to opportunities to participate in the work. National Cancer Institute Director Harold Varmus, MD, called these "financially austere times," and from basic science to clinical research that certainly has been the experience of even the most seasoned investigators.

At the Cancer Center ongoing work in genomics and precision medicine provides opportunities for patients and faculty available at very few institutions within the United States. Mary Chamberlin, MD, in the Department of Medicine, chairs our molecular tumor board, one of just a few molecular tumor boards in the country. Greg Tsongalis, PhD, in the Department of Pathology, is regularly sequencing genes with a 50-gene panel to identify opportunities for the use of targeted therapies and, unlike most centers, doing in-house testing of tumors in a CLIA-approved laboratory. The goal is to match patients with targeted therapies, and at the Cancer Center our pharmacopeia stocks the key FDA-approved drugs used in precision oncology.

In this case, the future is bright, but the amount of work needed to realize the potential power of medicine is vast. If you are not familiar with the issues of genomics and precision medicine, I encourage you to read the recent article by Francis Collins, MD, PhD and Harold Varmus in the New England Journal of Medicine, "A New Initiative on Precision Medicine," which puts the commitment of $70 million in perspective vis a vis the vast amount of investigation needed to make faster headway toward actionable uses for more targeted therapies.

Mark Israel, Director

New Hires

We are pleased to announce the hire of Joanne McCourt, BSc, CPHQ, CPPS, CLSSS, who joined us as the Director of Quality and Patient Safety for NCCC on December 22, 2014. Joanne is a healthcare quality professional and most recently led the quality improvement, data, and reporting programs at Littleton Regional Healthcare where she implemented many performance improvement programs using LEAN techniques, trained faculty and staff in LEAN systems, redesigned work flows for efficiencies and safety, helped implement the organization's EMR and CPOE and overall institutional Quality Plan.

Cancer Imaging & Radiobiology
Scott D. Davis, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Engineering Sciences, Thayer School of Engineering

Shudong Jiang, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Thayer School of Engineering

Stephen Chad Kanick, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Thayer School of Engeering

John X.J. Zhang, PhD
Professor, Thayer School of Engineering

Molecular Therapeutics
Michael J. Ragusa, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry

Other Happenings

Northeastern Breast Cancer Symposium

Friday, May 8, 2015, 8:00 am—5:00 pm
Auditorium E, Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Cancer Nanotechnology Symposium: Targeting, Diagnostics & Therapy

Friday, March 27, 2015, 7:45 am–4:00 pm
Auditorium G, Norris Cotton Cancer Center
The symposium is free and open to the public, participants are encouraged to register and contribute posters to be viewed at a lunch-time reception.
For more information, click here.

Grand Rounds

NCCC holds Grand Rounds lectures on most Tuesdays from 12 to 1 pm in the Barbara E. Rubin Building at D-H, Lebanon. Our Events for Cancer Professionals listing shows our upcoming lectures. Most lectures can be viewed live or archived.

Friends of NCCC Events

Manchester Prouty Kick Off!
March 19, 2015

Boston Prouty Kick Off!
April 2, 2015

Hanover Prouty Kick Off!
April 21, 2015

Seeds of Hope- Fashion Fundraiser for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center
May 2, 2015

Lake Sunapee Prouty Kick Off!
May 9, 2015

The Prouty Ultimate
July 10, 2015

The Prouty
July 11, 2015

Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride
August 16, 2015

Friends Fighting Cancer 5K
September 6, 2015