April 30, 2021
Member/Center Highlights
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Highlights from the NCI Director’s Address at AACR
At the 2021 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting on April 11, National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Dr. Ned Sharpless laid out his vision for building a bridge between where we are and where we need to be in cancer research, addressing the increase of investment and areas that he sees as priorities or areas of promise.
During this address, Dr. Sharpless highlighted the Biden administration’s focus on cancer research and outlined three areas of promise for NCI:
  • Supporting large national trial(s) of multi-cancer early detection tests
  • Devoting significant new resources to government-sponsored clinical trials
  • Committing to advancing drug discovery through accelerated approaches to structural biology and medicinal chemistry

With the administration’s commitment and support, and the progress and enthusiasm from the cancer research community, NCI is hopeful that together we can build a brighter future for those affected by cancer. As Dr. Sharpless said in his talk: “The notion of a bridge that we build together...is a good metaphor of the work before us. When we consider where we need to go in cancer research, it’s clear that the bridge must be complete, must be strong enough, and long enough to connect the present with the future, where we are today, and where we want to go.”
Trainees: Annual Scientific Retreat abstract deadline just 2 weeks away!
All students, postdocs and fellows conducting cancer research are invited to submit abstracts for two opportunities to present their research during the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Scientific Retreat: 1) poster presentation and 2) oral presentation. Cancer Center leadership will review abstracts based on the relationship to cancer, novelty, significance of findings and clarity.

Abstracts must be submitted by Friday, May 14 at 5pm. 
Researchers examine changes in approach to cervical cancer following publication of randomized, controlled trial results
From University Hospitals: In a Correspondence article published in yesterday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from University Hospitals (UH) Cleveland Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, found a substantial reduction in the use of minimally invasive surgery for cervical cancer after publication of the results a major study called the Laparoscopic Approach to Cervical Cancer (LACC) in November 2018.

The earlier study, which compared minimally invasive surgery with open abdominal radical hysterectomy in patients with early-stage cervical cancer, found minimally invasive surgery to be associated with worse disease-free and overall survival than open surgery. As a result of that study and other related studies, many guidelines recommended that surgeons use open surgery rather than minimally invasive surgery.

In the new article, the researchers sought to answer the extent to how practice changed by studying the records of 2,437 patients at 283 medical centers, ultimately finding a dramatic decrease in the use of minimally invasive surgery following the LACC Trial publication.

Jonathan Shoag, MD, senior author of the study, urologic oncologist from the UH Urology Institute and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center said that the odds were still higher for minimally invasive surgery at a non-academic medical center compared with an academic medical center; 0.81 versus 0.27. He said the results of the new study suggest an opportunity to improve outcomes at non-academic medical centers.
Trainee Spotlight: 2021 Doctoral Excellence Award Winners
CWRU SOM logo - png
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) would like to extend congratulations to the following trainees whom each received a School of Medicine 2021 Doctoral Excellence Award for their original scholarly work, significant contribution to the field, and significant service contributions:
Biomedical Engineering
Clinical Translational Science,
Genetics & Genome Sciences,
Molecular Medicine
Arthur F.W. Hughes Award
Tian He
Niha Bieg
Caroline El Sanadi
Zita Hubler
Courtney Hershberger
Daniel Leonard
Xu Han
Chen Weng
Afshin Dowlati, MD
Pallavi Tiwari, PhD
Pallavi Tiwari, PhD
Drew Adams, PhD
Richard Padgett, PhD
Derek Taylor, PhD
Marvin Neiman, PhD
Fulai Jin, PhD
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series: Olof Pearson Lecture
TODAY, Friday, April 30, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Our weekly seminar series today is a special presentation of the Olof Pearson Lecture featuring Karen Knudsen, MBA, PhD presenting, "Novel Strategies for Targeting Advanced Prostate Cancer" at noon via Zoom.

Dr. Knudsen is Executive Vice President of Oncology Services at Jefferson Health, Enterprise Director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Chair & Hilary Koprowski Endowed Professor, in the Department of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson University.

Recently announced, Dr. Knudsen will assume the role of CEO of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network as of June 1, 2021, making her the first woman CEO to lead the 107-year-old organization.
Cancer Center Seminar Series
Friday, May 7, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Our final Cancer Center Seminar for the semester features Christina Curtis, PhD, MSc presenting at noon via Zoom on behalf of the Cancer Data Sciences Group.

Dr. Curtis is an associate professor of medicine and genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Molecular Tumor Board at Stanford Cancer Institute.

A mini-retreat will be held from 2-4:30 pm ET following Dr. Curtis' presentation. Please contact Kelsey Kirsch at kxk666@case.edu for mini-retreat access.
Clinical Research Retreat
May 5, 2021, 5-7p | Virtual
Please join us for the first Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Retreat of the year! The Spring 2021 retreat focuses on Cancer Imaging and its broad application to clinical trials. This retreat will bring into focus how cutting-edge imaging techniques can be used to:
  • answer fundamental physiological questions essential for assessment
  • optimally apply advances in quantitative imaging and
  • further how AI is changing treatment decisions in patients with cancer. 

We seek to help clinical trialists understand how they can leverage these tools to develop new treatments in a broad range of cancers. The Clinical Research Retreat will begin at 5 pm with a welcome address from Associate Director for Clinical Research, Afshin Dowlati, MD, followed by presentations on advances in imaging and clinical application of imaging.
Anant Madabhushi, PhD will present, "Artificial Intelligence in Radiology: Decision Support tools for the Oncologist."
Nikhil Ramaiya, MD will present, "Role of Imaging in Cancer Clinical Trials and Beyond" during the retreat.
Registration, Call for Abstracts: Annual Scientific Retreat
July 22-23, 2021 | Virtual
The 2021 Annual Scientific Retreat for members and trainees is scheduled for July 22-23! As you may know, this is one of the few times a year our entire center is able to enjoy the company of one another and collaborate.

This year's virtual retreat features an expanded agenda that mirrors our prior in-person retreats, highlighting research across each of our scientific programs.

The retreat will begin Thursday with an address from Director Stan Gerson, MD, followed by TED-style Talks from Diana Bilimoria, PhD, Daniel E. Spratt, MD, and Serpil Erzurum, MD. Registration for the retreat is now open and trainees are encouraged to submit abstracts by Friday, May 14, 2021.
Zihai Li
Zihai Li, MD, PhD will present the retreat keynote on Friday, July 23. Dr. Li is the founding director of the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology and the Klotz Chair in Cancer Research at The Ohio State University.
Register today for VeloSano 8!
Bike to Cure Weekend | September 10-12, 2021

We are looking ahead with optimism to VeloSano 8 with a goal of providing opportunities to reunite our VeloSano community in a variety of safe and meaningful ways!

VeloSano is offering options for anyone to participate in any way they are most comfortable - whether riding with us during "Bike to Cure" weekend September 10-12; riding virtually, or by choosing your own activity to participate anytime, anywhere as a Virtual Fundraiser.

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Team Case CCC, will be joining VeloSano again this year and providing complimentary registration and jerseys for its riders. Please contact team captains Caroline El Sanadi or Mary Wright for the registration waiver or code with any questions!
Save the Date: Great Lakes Breast Cancer Symposium
October 25-26, 2021 | Virtual
Save the date for the Great Lakes Breast Cancer Symposium, to be held virtually October 25-26, 2021!

This annual symposium highlights ongoing basic, translational, clinical and population studies addressing the biological mechanisms, management and prevention of breast cancer. Researchers from participating institutions will share their exciting work with a goal to develop cross-institutional collaborations.

Though this event is happening virtually, attendees will experience the conference using Whova, our official web-based conference app, to view presentations and ask questions in real-time, as well as network with others behind the scenes.
Helen Piwnica Worms
Helen Piwnica-Worms, PhD, will deliver a keynote at the symposium. Dr. Piwnica-Worms is Professor, Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology and Senator AM Aiken Jr. Distinguished Chair at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Registration and call for abstracts for this symposium will open June 2021.
Additional Upcoming Events
AACR Annual Meeting 2021
Part II: May 17-21, 2021 | Virtual
The AACR Annual Meeting program covers the latest discoveries across the spectrum of cancer research—from population science and prevention; to cancer biology, translational, and clinical studies; to survivorship and advocacy—and highlights the work of the best minds in research and medicine from institutions all over the world.
Cell-Based Therapies and Tissue Engineering Short Course
May 19-20, 2021
The Skeletal Research Center and the Department of Biology of Case Western Reserve University are pleased to present the twentieth annual short course entitled: “Cell-Based Therapies and Tissue Engineering”, running from May 19 through May 20, 2021.

Registration is now open. The 2021 program is here. To download a flyer, please click here.

Who Should Attend:
This course is intended for graduate students, post-graduate students and health science professionals who are interested in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches with emphasis on translational research principles and protocols used or being modeled for direct clinical use.
2021 Race for the Place
June 6, 2021 | Virtual
Race for the Place in support of The Gathering Place, takes place the first Sunday in June on National Cancer Survivors Day. The Race, a 5K and 1 Mile walk, is a wonderful celebration of cancer survivors and an opportunity to raise money to support the free programs and services provided at The Gathering Place to help children, teens, adults, individuals, families and friends cope while on the cancer journey.

Registration is now open!
NCCN Policy Summit
June 15, 2021 | Virtual
Save the date for the next National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) policy summit: Defining the "New Normal" - 2021 and the State of Cancer Care in America Following 2020, held virtually Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

NCCN has also scheduled policy summits for September and December of this year. NCCN's recording of their February webinar, "Elevating Cancer Equity: Recommendations to Reduce Racial Disparities in Access to Guideline Adherent Cancer Care" is also now available for public viewing.
AACI Clinical Research Innovation 13th Annual Meeting
July 13-15, 2021 | Virtual
Registration is now open for the 13th Annual AACI CRI Meeting, Adapting Clinical Trials Offices for 2021 and Beyond which will be held virtually July 13-15. The program will provide panel discussions with content experts and breakout sessions for our members and abstract winners and runners-up will be acknowledged in poster sessions.

More information, including the program and registration, is now available on the CRI meeting website.
Funding Opportunities
Deadlines vary by award
Available award: $50,000
Deadline: May 15, 2021

Available award: $50,000
Deadline: May 15, 2021

Available award: $25,000 for one year
Applications accepted and awarded on a rolling basis

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis subject to fund availability

Available award: up to $150,000
Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis
Deadline: April 30, 2021

The CWRU Translational Fellow Program (TFP) seeks to train individuals in entrepreneurship and the translation of innovation into commercial ventures by connecting them to programs and workshops around campus while protecting time for their entrepreneurial activities.

Applications are sought from individuals who are employed by CWRU or its hospital partners, or who are students at CWRU who are interested in a career in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. Applications are especially encouraged from doctoral students, post-docs, and/or research staff. Applicants will commit to work through the process of developing a technology for commercialization either from their own laboratory or agree to be assigned a technology. This fellowship will run from 7/1/2021 through 6/30/2022.
The Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award is designed to provide support for the next generation of exceptionally creative thinkers with “high-risk/high-reward” ideas that have the potential to significantly impact our understanding of and/or approaches to the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer.

The Innovation Award is specifically designed to provide funding to extraordinary early career researchers who have an innovative new idea but lack sufficient preliminary data to obtain traditional funding. It is not designed to fund incremental advances. The research supported by the award must be novel, exceptionally creative and, if successful, have the strong potential for high impact in the cancer field.

The Stage 1 award will be for two years, $200,000 per year ($400,000 total) with the opportunity for up to two additional years of funding (up to four years total for $800,000). Stage 2 support for years three and four will be granted to those awardees who demonstrate progress on their proposed research during years one and two of the award.
CDMRP logo
The Department of Defense and its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) have announced program details and application instructions for the following FY2021 programs:

  • Concept Award
  • Idea Development Award
  • Postdoctoral and Clinical Fellowship Award
  • Translational Research Partnership Award

  • Breakthrough Award Levels 1 and 2
  • Breakthrough Award Level 3
  • Breakthrough Award Level 4
  • Era of Hope Scholar Award
  • Innovator Award
  • Transformative Breast Cancer Consortium Award
In The News
DevCount.com - April 19, 2021
Anant Madabhushi, PhD offered his expert prediction on how artificial intelligence would impact health care in 2021. Dr. Madabhushi is the Donnell Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Director of the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics, and member, Case CCC.
Science Magazine - April 2021
Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and pathology and director of the Digestive Health Research Institute at Case Western Reserve University will join a panel of speakers for a webinar on June 3, 2021. Dr. Cominelli is chief scientific officer of the Digestive Health Institute at University Hospitals and a member of the Case CCC's GI Cancer Genetics Program.
From The NIH
Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
COVID-19 Funding Opportunities and Notices
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