February 5, 2021
Message from the Associate Director
Ohio’s tobacco control policies receive failing grades; areas for improvement include support of flavored tobacco ban to drive down youth tobacco use
Last week, The American Lung Association released its 19th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which reviews state and federal policies that prevent and reduce tobacco use. ALA reviewed state tobacco control efforts in the following areas: (1) funding for state tobacco prevention programs; (2) strength of smokefree workplace laws; (3) level of state tobacco taxes; (4) coverage and access to services to quit tobacco; (5) ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products. Ohio received only one “A” grade for smokefree workplace laws; Ohio’s Smoke Free Workplace Act has been in effect since 2006. The report concluded that Ohio has several opportunities to encourage elected officials to enact evidence-based tobacco control policy. Ohio received three “F” grades for funding state tobacco prevention programs, level of state taxes, and ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.
Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Examination of federal efforts yielded only slightly better evaluations; a single “F” for federal tobacco taxes, a “D” for federal government regulation of tobacco products, and two “A” grades for mass media campaigns and increasing the federal minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 (T21). While many local and state governments began implementing T21 policies over the past several years, former President Trump signed legislation in December 2019 amending the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product—including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes—to anyone under 21. The City of Cleveland implemented its T21 policy in 2016, and since that time, our research has shown that rates of past 30-day combustible tobacco use (cigarettes and cigar products) dropped from 26% in 2015 to 11.9% in 2019; rates of past 30-day e-cigarette use dropped from 15.5% in 2015 to 7.2% in 2019. Importantly, these declines were strong and consistent across racial/ethnic groups and gender.
From the National Cancer Institute
Funding from Congress allows NCI to raise grants payline
In a follow-up to his November NCI Bottom Line blog post, National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless, MD provides an update on the opportunities created by NCI’s $120 million budget increase for FY 2021 for Established and Early-Stage Investigators, including a 35% payline increase for R01 awards over 2019. Additionally, Dr. Sharpless addresses the recent “15-by-25” goal of raising the payline for R01 applications by one percentile per year, reaching the 15th percentile by FY 2025 and how the NCI remains committed to the sustained progress of cancer research.
Member/Center Highlights
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First glioblastoma patient dosed with Phase 2 trial at UH Seidman Cancer Center testing PVSRIPO plus Keytruda
Andrew Sloan
Glioblastoma, recognized as the most aggressive primary brain cancer in adults is also known to be among the most immunosuppressive of tumors. A Phase 2 clinical trial of PVSRIPO, a revolutionary viral immunotherapy for cancer treatment, in combination with Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is underway across the United States. University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center is one of the trial's study sites and recently delivered the first patient dose in the trial.

Andrew E. Sloan, MD, is director of the Brain Tumor & Neuro-Oncology Center at the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. "This trial combines the polio vaccine — which modifies the immunosuppressive milieu in tumor to prime the anti-tumor immune response in the brain—and a checkpoint inhibitor that 'takes the brakes off' the systemic immune system which allows the peripheral immune system to send cells from bone marrow and circulation to help combat the brain tumor," explains Sloan.

The study aims primarily to determine the percentage of patients responding to the therapy, as well as its safety and tolerability. Researchers will also examine the effects of treatment on patients’ survival and disease progression.
Scientists design 3D model of molecule key to halting tumor growth
Research into stopping tumor growth was recently featured in BBC Science Focus Magazine as one of the world's "20 moments in 2020 to be excited about." A compound that activates an enzyme capable of suppressing tumors was discovered by a cross-institutional team from the University of Michigan and Case Western Reserve University.

The team designed a molecule that could attach to a PP2A enzyme and used a special type of microscope in order to “see precisely how different parts of the protein were brought together and stabilized by the compound,” said the study’s co-senior author Derek Taylor, PhD an associate professor at Case Western Reserve and member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The work was spearheaded by two first-authors from Dr. Taylor's group, Daniel Leonard, a Medical Scientist Training Program (MTSP) student and Research Scientist Wei Huang, PhD.

Right: Daniel Leonard, Wei Huang, Derek Taylor
Potential new target for treating chemotherapy-associated kidney damage
Jianjun Zhao 2
From Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute: Standard-of-care treatment for many cancers includes chemotherapy drug cisplatin which prevents the spread of cancer cells by interrupting DNA replication and damaging the genetic material in rapidly dividing tumor cells. Unfortunately, the drug can cause unintended kidney damage in some patients, calling for a lowered dose or discontinuing the cancer-fighting treatment.

A team led by Lerner Research Institute's Jianjun Zhao, MD, PhD has shown that targeting a protein known as APE2 may help prevent the acute kidney injury associated with cisplatin treatment.
Schmit lab seeking Research Coordinator III
The lab of Stephanie Schmit, PhD, MPH in the Genomic Medicine Institute of the Lerner Research Institute is seeking a research coordinator who demonstrates exceptional coordination and compliance of the implementation and conduct of human subject research projects typically with a high workload and high complexity. The coordinator will assist with research study design and protocol development as applicable. Dr. Schmit’s research combines wet and dry lab approaches to better understand the roles of genetic susceptibility, host immunity, and lifestyle/environmental factors in the development and outcomes of colorectal cancer.
Update: Submissions to the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Recent security measures across the Cleveland Clinic network made the Case CCC Marketing and Communications Request Form inaccessible to members of our community.

A new submission form is now available for use. There is a lot of important work and exciting accomplishments occurring throughout and related to the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center - and we want to know all about it! As a large center that spans three institutions, our team is making an effort to streamline distribution and project requests in order to best serve our membership and community.

As a reminder, this form may be used to submit any of the following requests:
  • Assistance creating marketing materials
  • Newsletter and/or digital communications submissions (screens in the WRB, email blasts)
  • Updates to existing web pages under the Case CCC
  • New web pages and biographies under the Case CCC

Let our team know what you think about the form - we're happy to help out and hear your suggestions! Reach out to Case CCC marketing and communications anytime at cancer@case.edu.
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series
TODAY, February 5, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Today's Cancer Center Seminar features Mei Zhang, PhD presenting, "BG34-200 Engagement with Integrin CD11b Inducing Myeloid Cell Activation for Immunotherapy of Solid Cancers" on behalf of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at noon via Zoom.

Dr. Zhang is an assistant professor in. the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case School of Engineering and a member, of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Zhang’s laboratory looks at understanding how biomaterials and cell-based therapeutics can be designed to correct suppressive immune responses in solid tumor cancers. Her aim is to develop immunoengineering technology (biomaterials, drug delivery system and nanotechnology) to shift the balance of the immune response between activation and suppression. Where possible, the hope is to exploit research discovery to improve patient outcomes by enhancing responses to conventional, targeted or immunotherapeutic. Currently, the laboratory focuses primarily on immunotherapy pancreas cancer, advanced melanoma and osteosarcoma.
Cancer Center Seminar Series
Friday, February 12, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Next week'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.

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.
5th Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium (Virtual)
March 4-5, 2021

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Community Outreach and Engagement is pleased to present the 5th Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium, Navigating Cancer Disparities: Lessons Learned and How to Move Forward.

About the Symposium
This multi-disciplinary event will appeal to researchers, clinicians, health professionals, community outreach groups, community-based organizations, patient advocates and trainees. Keynote presentations will be delivered by renowned disparities researchers and community leaders, and a poster session highlighting academic research and community programs will provide a showcase of the depth and breadth of work happening in this field.

Though the symposium 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.

Session topics include:

  • COVID-19 and cancer disparities
  • Improving the participation of minority and underserved populations in cancer clinical trials
  • Interplay of biology and social determinants of cancer disparities
  • The many pains of cancer: physical, emotional and financial

Plus, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an in-depth discussion of the book Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care by Dayna Bowen Matthew.
Keynote Speakers
Otis W. Brawley, MD, an internationally-recognized expert in cancer prevention and control, will present the symposium's Scientific Keynote His work is focused on closing racial, economic and social disparities in prevention, detection and treatment of cancer in the United States and worldwide.

Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, a medical oncologist nationally known for her expertise in bringing clinical trials to the community will present the Community Keynote. Dr. McCaskill-Stevens is Chief of the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group, which houses the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a community-based clinical trials network launched in 2014.
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
Deadlines vary by award
LUNGevity Foundation is pleased to offer five lung cancer translational research award programs in 2021:

The Career Development Award of $100,000 per year for 3 years, was created to support future research leaders who will keep the field of lung cancer research vibrant with new ideas.
The Early Detection Award for $200,000-$300,000 per year over two years supports the development of strategies for the early detection and/or diagnosis of lung cancer.

The Veterans Affairs Research Scholar Award of $50,000 per year for two years supports fellows or junior faculty interested in lung cancer research within the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a mentored award.

The Health Equity and Inclusiveness Junior Investigator Award of $100,000 per year for 2 years. supports physician-scientists interested in conducting lung cancer clinical research and bridging health disparities by engaging underserved communities or underrepresented minorities.

The Health Equity and Inclusiveness Research Fellow Award of $50,000 per year for 2 years supports fellows interested in translational lung cancer research who belong to underrepresented minorities in STEM.
Deadline: March 17, 2021

The Distinguished Scientist Award (DSA) seeks to provide career and research support to early-career scientists who demonstrate outstanding promise for making scientific and medical breakthroughs in the field of brain cancer research.

Recipients of the award are inspired individuals with projects that show potential to generate new knowledge relating to causes, cure or treatment of primary brain tumors/brain cancer. Applicants are carefully considered and selected by The Sontag Foundation and its independent Scientific Advisory Board based on the scientific merit of the proposed project, career trajectory, peer and mentor references and an onsite research facility visit. In determining the overall scientific merit of an application, the Scientific Advisory Board scores applications based on the NIH review criteria of: significance, investigator, innovation, approach, and environment.

The award provides $600,000 in funding over a four-year period. Over that time, recipients also receive additional support from the Foundation through its vast network of scientists in the field primarily through the Foundation's annual Scientific Retreat.
In The News
WKYC - February 1, 2021
Leaders cited the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center as an example of the kinds of initiatives they expect the new agreement will help catalyze. A partnership among CWRU, UH and Cleveland Clinic, the center received the National Cancer Institute’s highest rating in 2018 -- putting it among the very few top centers in the country.
People - February 2, 2021
"There really is no early detection for this kind of cancer — it just grows too fast," Nathan A. Pennell, MD, PhD tells People. Dr. Pennell is Director of the lung cancer program at Cleveland Clinic 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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