February 12, 2021
Message from the Associate Directors
Creating solutions to address cancer disparities
Dear Members of the Cancer Center community,

Next month, on March 4-5, we are hosting the 5th Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium, themed as “Navigating Cancer Disparities: Lessons Learned and How to Move Forward.” This symposium has attracted a diverse audience as we will not only be joined by scientific and community leaders invested in the health of the Greater Cleveland metro area, but also leaders in cancer disparities research from across the country. Thank you to those who have already registered for the event. We look forward to seeing you (virtually)!

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center is committed to cancer disparities research, aiming to eliminate the disproportionate burden of cancer experienced by certain population sub-groups. We believe it is vital that we inform ourselves on these inequalities and come together to establish solutions to promote equity for all persons whose lives are impacted by cancer diagnoses. This event provides the opportunity to do just that, and everyone has a role: researchers, clinicians, health professionals, community outreach groups, patient advocates, trainees, and community-based organizations, local government, private foundations, and commercial businesses. 

The symposium planning committee has assembled an impressive lineup of speakers, including prominent researchers, clinicians and community organizations devoted to the eradication of cancer health disparities. 

Cancer prevention and control expert Otis W. Brawley, MD will deliver the scientific keynote address. Brawley is known for his work on closing racial, economic and social disparities in prevention, detection and treatment of cancer in the United States and worldwide. After 20+ years as Chief Medical Officer at the American Cancer Society, he leads a broad interdisciplinary research effort on cancer health disparities at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kimmel Cancer Center.

Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, MS will deliver the community keynote, sharing her expertise in bringing clinical trials to the community. McCaskill-Stevens is Chief of the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group, which houses the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a community-based clinical trials network launched in 2014. McCaskill-Stevens has been recognized for her leadership, including her role in furthering the advancement of minority investigators in cancer research. 

In addition to the keynotes, a wide spectrum of topics will be addressed from groundbreaking research in COVID-19 infection among cancer patients, to the combined roles of biology and social factors that contribute to cancer outcomes, as well as the impact of clinical trials participation, and the emotional, physical and financial pains of cancer. Each session is capped with a panel discussion and will culminate in a Thought Leaders panel discussion, underscoring the collaborative nature of the event and lending an opportunity for audience questions and answers. 

Our unique academic-community poster session will feature a diverse array of topics related to both addressing broad community needs and those of populations who experience cancer disparities. 
Just Medicine front cover
New this year, we are excited for a session around a common reading: Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care by Dayna Bowen Matthew. Audience members will break into small groups and delve into a facilitated discussion to reflect on the common reading, lessons learned and ways we might move forward to address cancer disparities. We will end the session by coming back together as one group and sharing key discussion points from attendees.

As leaders in cancer disparities research, we are honored to be able to produce such a significant symposium. Don't miss what is sure to be an engaging couple of days of information and collaboration.
Associate Director for Associate Director for Cancer Population Sciences
Co-Director, Cancer Disparities Symposium
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement
Co-Director, Cancer Disparities Symposium
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
From the National Cancer Institute
NCI Begins Commemoration of the National Cancer Act 50th Anniversary
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has officially kicked off commemoration activities for the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971. We are eager for you to join us, along with countless partners across the diverse cancer research and care community, in sharing stories of struggle and discovery, pain and hope, challenges and opportunities, that mark the past 50 years, as we point to the potential advances that will be possible thanks to this work.

The National Cancer Act 50th Anniversary website will be updated throughout the year with new content that highlights progress made and the opportunities to come.
The NCI has also developed a monthly newsletter, National Cancer Act @ 50, designed to foster collaboration, bring the cancer community together and highlight communication efforts around this milestone. If you’d like to be added to the listserv, please email NCINCA50@mail.nih.gov with your name and contact information.

We look forward to joining the National Cancer Institute in this commemorative effort throughout the year and encourage you to participate as well using #NothingWillStopUs on social media.
Member/Center Highlights
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Colorectal cancer research funded by the National Cancer Institute investigates new potential immunotherapy targets
A team of researchers from CWRU and UH is investigating the role of Erbb3 in the development of colorectal cancer. To put it simply, says lead investigator Zhenghe John Wang, PhD, the team is attempting to discover the pathways that can switch the cold tumors to hot tumors, and activate immune checkpoints. The research is supported by a grant of $2.1M over five years from the National Cancer Institute. The study builds upon previous work where Wang and his team showed that Erbb3 made cancer cells sensitive to PD-1 inhibitors. Project co-investigators include Alex Huang, MD, PhD; Joseph Willis, MD; Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD; Eva Selfridge, MD, PhD.
Study Shows Machine Learning’s Potential to Predict Cancer Therapy-Related Cardiac Risk
From Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute: Machine learning-based approaches to risk assessment can be highly effective in predicting various types of cardiac dysfunction among cancer survivors who have received cardiotoxic cancer therapies, according to a new retrospective longitudinal study by researchers from Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute; Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute; and Taussig Cancer Institute.
Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study represents the first reported large-scale use of a machine learning-based approach for evaluating complications from cancer therapies that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. The research team, led by Feixiong Cheng, PhD, assistant staff in the Genomic Medicine Institute, and Patrick Collier, MD, PhD, co-director of Cleveland Clinic’s Cardio-Oncology Center, developed and evaluated risk assessment machine learning models for six forms of CTRCD: heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, stroke and de novo CTRCD (CTRCD developed after cancer therapy).
Chakraborty awarded 2020 V Scholar Grant
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center extends congratulations to Cleveland Clinic's Abhishek Chakraborty, PhD as he was awarded a 2020 V Scholar Grant from the V Foundation for Cancer Research for his proposal, "Chromatin Dysfunction Identifies Metabolic Regulators as Potential Therapeutic Targets in Renal Cancer."

Dr. Chakraborty, an assistant professor of molecular medicine, is a member of the GU Malignancies Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. His lab studies chromatin biology in the context of dysregulated activity of oxygen-dependent enzymes, the physiological implications of which are relevant in kidney cancer.
Recommended Reading from the Committee on Disparities in Clinical Research
The mission of the Committee on Disparities in Clinical Research is to provide an equitable environment for participation in clinical trials in order to better serve the catchment area of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. The committee seeks to increase awareness, provide support, and offer feedback to the membership of the Cancer Center with the goal to reduce the socio-economic, educational and cultural barriers to address disparities of participation of minorities in clinical trials.

The committee would like to regularly share relevant articles with our community, beginning with this month's recommended reading, "COVID-19, Social Justice, and Clinical Cancer Research," recently published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The article is co-authored by several investigators from the National Cancer Institute including Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, keynote speaker at the upcoming Cancer Disparities Symposium.
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series
TODAY, February 12, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Today's Cancer Center Seminar features Michael Evans, PhD presenting, "Studying Oncogene Signaling In Vivo with PET: Uncovering Tumor Biology to Enable New Treatment Strategies for Cancer" on behalf of the Cancer Imaging Program at noon via Zoom.

Dr. Evans is an associate professor in residence in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and a Member of the Helen Diller Family Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Major themes of research in the Evans lab include: 1) developing radiotracers to measure the activity of central oncogenes, 2) applying proteomics and phage display to discover new targets for radioligand therapy, 3) measuring iron metabolism with PET to identify diseases susceptible to therapies targeting the labile iron pool (“ferronostics”), and 4) imaging glucocorticoid receptor expression in normal tissues and disease (e.g. cancer, depression).

Dr. Evans has published over 65 peer-reviewed articles, 40 meeting abstracts and is a co-inventor on 5 patents. He was named a 2013 Young Investigator Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation, a 2017 Research Scholar by the American Cancer Society, and was appointed a member of the 2020 class of the Council of Distinguished Investigators by the Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research. Dr. Evans was a scientific co-founder and board member of ORIC Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

A program mini-retreat will follow Dr. Evans' talk from 2-4 pm via Zoom.
Cancer Center Seminar Series
Friday, February 19, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Next week's Cancer Center Seminar features Thomas LaFramboise, PhD presenting, "Roles of Mitochondrial DNA Mutations in Cancer: Controversies and Emerging Insights" on behalf of the GI Cancer Genetics Program.

Dr. LaFramboise is an associate professor of Genetics and Genome Sciences and member, of the GI Cancer Genetics Program at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

The LaFramboise laboratory develops computational methodologies and applies them to large, complex genomic data sets derived from patients with cancer and other diseases. In the cancer realm, the laboratory has projects in both germline and somatic genetics/genomics, as well as recent work on the role of the microbiome in myeloid malignancy. Dr. LaFramboise’s work has been funded by grants from the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, National Library of Medicine, and National Science Foundation.
Additional Upcoming Events
NCCN 2021 Virtual Congress™: Breast Cancer with Updates from the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)
February 12, 2021
Breast cancer continues to be the second most common cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Results from numerous clinical trials continue to expand diagnostic/prognostic tools, therapeutic options, and supportive care strategies. Healthcare professionals need to be educated on current and emerging scientific data to make evidence-based treatment decisions and to provide optimal care for patients with breast cancer.

The NCCN 2021 Virtual Congress™: Breast Cancer with Updates from the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) will provide expert insights on the current standard of care for patients with breast cancer and include the latest clinical research updates from the 2020 SABCS to assist clinicians in formulating breast cancer management strategies.
Breast Cancer Update: Review of Breast Cancer Symposia
February 17, 2021
This review course will summarize highlights from the national meetings, with a focus on the clinical implications of the new information presented at these meetings.

Medical oncologists, breast surgeons, radiation oncologists, women's health, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, residents and fellows and other health care providers with an interest in the management of patients with breast cancer should attend this course.
Management of Checkpoint Inhibitor-Related Toxicity Virtual Updates
March 5, 2021
The goal of the program is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of clinicians to share expertise and improve the care of patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies.

Specialists in dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology/ immunology, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and residents/ fellows are invited to attend.
4th Annual International PTEN Symposium
Monday, March 15, 2021
The Genomic Medicine Institute and Center for Personalized Genetic Healthcare at Cleveland Clinic invite you to join the virtual 4th Annual International PTEN Symposium: From Patient-Centered Research to Clinical Care. They are planning an engaging day with an emphasis on advances in the diagnosis, management and treatment of patients with PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome (PHTS).

Pier Paolo Pandolfi, MD, PhD, FRCP, senior scientist at the Renown Institute for Cancer and honorary professor of molecular biology at the University of Turin, will deliver the morning keynote address. Neil Friedman, MBChB, pediatric neurologist and director of quality, outcomes, and innovation at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, will deliver the afternoon keynote address on the neurological spectrum of PHTS. Other topics include hormone use and high-risk patients, gynecological cancer risks, updates on PTEN clinical trials, and autism. Please refer to the symposium agenda for more details about this year’s speakers and topics.
NCCN Virtual Annual Conference
March 18-20, 2021
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has transitioned the NCCN 2021 Annual Conference to a to a live virtual format.

Designed to meet the needs and improve the competence and performance of the interprofessional oncology care team, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and other relevant health care professionals who manage the care of patients with cancer, this three-day virtual event will offer more than 35 educational sessions covering a range of topics such as:

  • Updates to NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) 
  • New and emerging therapies, controversies in treatment, and best practices in the delivery of oncology care  
  • Issues surrounding HPV vaccination  
  • Racial disparities in guideline-adherent cancer care  
  • Effects of the pandemic on cancer care  
  • Best practices for incorporating patient-reported outcomes into oncology care

Throughout this three-day virtual event, educational sessions will include a mix of challenging case reviews, interactive polling, and moderated Q&A providing participants the opportunity to reinforce knowledge and develop strategies for the management of a variety of cancers.
AACR Annual Meeting 2021
April 10-15 and 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.
AACI Clinical Research Innovation 13th Annual Meeting
July 13-15, 2021

Save the date! The 13th Annual AACI Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Meeting will be held July 13-15, 2021. Information about the meeting format, abstract submissions, and registration will be made available in early 2021.
Funding Opportunities
Deadline: July 23, 2021

Exceptional Project Grants
Breast Cancer Alliance invites clinical doctors and research scientists, including postdocs, at any stage of their careers whose primary focus is breast cancer to apply for an Exceptional Project Grant. This award recognizes creative, unique and innovative research and is open to applicants at institutions throughout the contiguous United States. This is a one year grant for a total of $100,000.

Young Investigator Grants
To encourage a commitment to breast cancer research, Breast Cancer Alliance invites clinical doctors and research scientists, including post docs, whose primary focus is breast cancer and who are in the early stages of their careers, to apply for funding for the Young Investigator Grant. This grant is open to applicants at institutions throughout the contiguous United States. This is a two-year grant for a total of $125,000, with half the grant award being paid out each year.
CDMRP logo
Deadlines vary by award

The Department of Defense and its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) have announced program details and application instructions for the following FY2021 programs:

  • Career Development Award
  • Concept Award

  • Clinical Translational Research Award
  • Investigator-Initiated Research Award
  • Ovarian Cancer Academy Award - Early-Career Investigator
  • Pilot Award
  • Proteogenomics Research Award
Deadline: March 17, 2021

The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program (AMFDP) offers four-year postdoctoral research awards to physicians, dentists, and nurses from historically marginalized backgrounds. Scholars should be committed to working toward eliminating health disparities by achieving senior rank in academic medicine, dentistry, or nursing.
The program provides scholars with:

  • development of research, academic, and leadership skills;
  • ongoing mentoring by a distinguished national advisory committee;
  • a grounding in the social determinants of health, health equity, and the elements of a Culture of Health;
  • growth in communications skills to advance the impact of scholars’ research and scholarship in the field.

In this grant cycle, RWJF will fund up to 10 four-year awards of up to $420,000 each. Scholars will receive an annual stipend of up to $75,000 each, complemented by a $30,000 annual grant to support research activities.
In The News
Lifewire - January 27, 2021
"We are probably 3-5 years out to get a real sense of the AI successes and the red herrings, mostly because any discoveries made by AI have to first go through (in most cases) clinical trials for validation," Anant Madabhushi, PhD told Lifewire. Dr. Madabhushi is Director of the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics at Case Western Reserve University and Member of the Case CCC.
Ohio Capital Journal - February 2, 2021
“The virus has all this new potential for harm against us now, all of a sudden,” he said. “We desperately need to keep up our own personal and public health fight" said Mark Cameron, PhD, an immunologist at Case Western Reserve University and a member of the Case CCC.
From The NIH
Request for Information (RFI) regarding opportunities for new national programs at the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research
NCI has released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from the cancer research community on the most important needs and promising opportunities in cancer research that are difficult to address on an individual scale but could be tackled through the NCI Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. This is part of a planning effort to identify unique, large-scale programs of national significance that the FNLCR could support in the interest of the entire cancer research community.

Email responses to RFI_NewNationalPrograms@nih.gov and place "RFI Response" in the subject line. Responses will be accepted through February 19, 2021.
Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
COVID-19 Funding Opportunities and Notices
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