January 22, 2021
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Director's Message
Additions to Research Program Leadership
I am pleased to announce the appointment of two new leaders to our research programs.
Agata Exner, PhD will co-lead the Cancer Imaging Program with Jim Basilion, PhD and Zhenghong Lee, PhD. Dr. Exner is a translational researcher with collaborative industry ties. Her nanobubble technology has been licensed by FUS Instruments for research use and shows promise in large animal models and application to many cancers such as prostate, breast and liver and other diseases, such as diabetes. She is professor of radiology and medical engineering and director of the Laboratory for Image Guided Therapeutics at the Case Center for Imaging Research at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Exner is a natural leader with a strong research portfolio and will bring new insights and initiatives to the program.
Jennifer Yu, MD, PhD will co-lead the Developmental Therapeutics Program with John Letterio, MD and Yogen Saunthararajah, MD. Dr. Yu is a physician-scientists focused on understanding the underlying mechanisms that drive glioma stem cells. Her lab strives to translate experimental therapeutics to clinical trials to improve therapy for patients with brain tumors. Dr. Yu is staff in the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and associate professor of molecular medicine at Case Western Reserve University. She serves as co-Leader of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Cancer Stem Cell Working Group, was elected to the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation, Board of Directors of the Society for Neuro-Oncology, and elected President of the Society for Thermal Medicine. She brings broad scientific expertise, leadership skills and a large network of collaborators to her new position.
Please join me in congratulating Drs. Exner and Yu!

Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Member/Center Highlights
Recommended Reading: What Biden's Presidency Will Mean for Cancer Research
An article posted this week in Cancer Discovery explores what possibilities are on the horizon for the cancer research community as President Joe Biden re-enters the White House. Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Stan Gerson, MD is quoted among other leaders in cancer research in the article which examines the president's history of supporting cancer research efforts.
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Facilities reminder: Room and space reservations unavailable on CWRU campus
Due to health and safety precautions, please be advised that Cancer Center administration is unable to make space reservations for meetings and events on Case Western Reserve University's campus until further notice.
Congratulations, 2020 VeloSano Trainee Dream Experiment awardees!
With the generous support from VeloSano Bike to Cure, the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) provided funding for Case CCC Trainee Associate Members to perform their “dream experiment." The intent of the awards is to support a single or limited set of innovative experiments. Applications were awarded for experiments that catalyze highly innovative and impactful projects to help strengthen fellowship and career development grant applications. For 2020, six one-year $10,000 awards were funded. Please join us in congratulating these trainees on their awards! Their projects and mentors are listed below.
Benjamin Bryson, Postdoc
"Elucidating NEK2 effectors in triple-negative breast cancer"
Leslie Cuellar-Vite, Graduate Student
"Elucidating Intrinsic Resistance Mechanisms to Everolimus, an mTORC1 inhibitor, in Triple Negative Breast Cancer"
Jennifer Gordon, Fellow
"Neighborhood Deprivation, vaginal microbiome, and the social, political, and environmental factors driving disparities in endometrial cancer"
Lucas Osborn, Graduate Student
"Gut Microbial Metabolite Mediated Suppression of Glioblastoma Progression"
Dennis Watson, Fellow
"Pro-tumorigenic reprogramming of glioblastoma by acquisition of exogenous mitochondria from the tumor microenvironment"
Zeng Peng, Graduate Student
"Characterization of Immune Cell-Induced Vascular Inflammation in Ponatinib-Treated Mice"
ENGAGE Summer Research Training Program accepting applications
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The National Center for Regenerative Medicine's ENGAGE summer research training program supports undergraduate, master's or medical students interested in stem cell and regenerative medicine research.

The National Center for Regenerative Medicine will fund undergraduate, master's or medical student research training projects. Each award will provide $3,000 as a trainee summer stipend, and an additional $500 will be given to the hosting laboratory for research materials and supplies.

The program is accepting applications through March 31, 2021.
Accepting applications: Youth Engaged in Cancer Research Program 
The Youth Engaged in Cancer Research Program provides high school students from Cleveland area high schools with a unique opportunity to engage in medical research projects under the direction of Cancer Center faculty.

Students are selected for participation in this exciting program based on their interest in science, their scholastic achievement, and letters of recommendation submitted by their high school science teachers and school counselors.

The program is accepting applications through March 1, 2021.
Note: The button above now properly links to the Youth Engaged in Cancer Research Program, as last week's edition of the newsletter incorrectly linked to another Case CCC summer training program.
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series
TODAY, January 22, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Today's Cancer Center Seminar features William Tse, MD, MBA presenting, "Development of the CD4CAR- and Dual Targeting CAR T-Cell Therapy for Hematologic Malignancies" on behalf of the Hematopoietic and Immune Cancer Biology Program at noon via Zoom.

Dr. Tse is Deputy Director of MetroHealth Cancer Center and Director, Division of Hematology/Oncology at MetroHealth Medical Center. He is also a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center's Hematopoietic and Immune Cancer Biology Program.

Dr. Tse’s research interests are focused on three major areas: 1) early phase cancer therapeutics, cellular and immunotherapies for blood cancers and other non-malignant disorders; 2) laboratory-based translational researches in normal and cancer stem cell signaling profiles and pre-clinical animal models for therapeutics.
Cancer Center Seminar Series
Friday, January 29, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Next week's Cancer Center Seminar features Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD presenting, "Improving Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor in Cancer" on behalf of the GU Malignancies Program.

Dr. Theodorescu is the PHASE ONE Foundation Distinguished Chair, Director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai and professor of surgery, pathology and laboratory medicine.

Dr. Theodorescu is internationally known for his work on the molecular mechanisms driving bladder cancer and tools that determine drug response as well as discovery of new drugs for bladder and other cancer types. Examples include discovery of genes that regulate tumor growth and metastasis and novel biomarkers and concepts for precision therapeutic approaches such as the COXEN principle, that are currently being tested in national (SWOG 1314) clinical trials. He also conceptualized the approach and then led the discovery and development of a “first in class” RalGTPase inhibitor as a new therapeutic in cancer, now patented and in commercial development.

A program mini-retreat will follow Dr. Theodorescu's talk from 2-4 pm via Zoom.
Registration Now Open: 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.
Registration is now open for this multi-disciplinary event for 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 depth 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.

Call for Abstracts: Deadline January 29
Multidisciplinary researchers, community agencies and organizations are invited to submit abstracts for presentation at the 5th Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium. Abstracts will be divided into two tracks: Scientific Research and Community Programs. Meritorious abstracts will be selected for pre-recorded presentations. Abstracts must be submitted electronically by 5 pm ET on Friday, January 29, 2021.
Keynote Speakers Announced
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
AACR Virtual Meeting: COVID-19 and Cancer
February 3-5, 2021
Join thought leaders from academia, government, and industry for AACR’s 2021 COVID-19 and Cancer virtual meeting. Emerging data in basic, clinical, and epidemiologic research related to COVID-19 and cancer will be presented in a mix of keynote lectures, forums, and symposia.

Session topics include:
  • Biology of COVID-19 and Cancer
  • Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
  • Continuity of Cancer Care
  • Critical Care and Outpatient Management
  • Effects of Cancer Treatments on COVID-19
  • Health Inequities and Disparities
  • Immunology and Pathogenesis
  • Long-term Effects and Survivorship
  • Risk Factors and Comorbidities 
  • Trials in Progress
  • Vaccines
NCCN 2021 Virtual Congress™: Breast Cancer with Updates from the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS)
Friday, 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.
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: February 1, 2021
Nomination Deadline: February 26, 2021
MIB Agents is a nationwide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the mission to Make It Better for children with osteosarcoma, bone cancer. The OutSmarting Osteosarcoma Grant is an annual research grant begun in 2017. Each year a grant of $100,000 is awarded to a project that will focus on moving research forward for osteosarcoma patients. Proposals may be for a new project or an ongoing larger project for which results can be expected in twelve months.
The purpose of the Agilent Early Career Professor Award, an unrestricted research award of $100,000 over two years, is to:
  • Promote and encourage excellent research enabling measurements of importance to Agilent Technologies and the world
  • Establish strong collaborative relationships between Agilent researchers and leading professors early in their career
  • Build the prominence of Agilent as a sponsor of university research

2021 Focus: Contributions to the development of breakthrough solutions to understand or manage immunological responses to infection, autoimmunity or cancer.
In The News
Health IT Analytics - January 16, 2021
"We’re bringing together and connecting a variety of information, from radiologic scans like MRI to digitized pathology specimen slides and genomic data, for providing a more comprehensive characterization of the disease,” said Anant Madabhushi, PhD. Dr. Madabhushi is a member of the Case CCC.
Elemental - January 19, 2021
Covid-19 is merely a wake-up call to scenarios that keep infectious-disease experts up at night. Mark Cameron, PhD tells Elemental he worries about other coronaviruses, retroviruses and drug-resistant bacteria. Dr. Cameron is an immunologist at Case Western Reserve University and member of the Case CCC.
From The NIH
National Cancer Institute Human SARS-CoV-2 Serology Standard Now Available
The National Cancer Institute is pleased to announce that the Human SARS-CoV-2 Serology Standard, a reagent intended to harmonize assays that measure anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, is now available. The standard enables comparisons between different SARS-CoV-2 serology studies, including studies evaluating the immune response to different COVID-19 candidate vaccines.

Developed by researchers at NCI’s Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, the Human SARS-CoV-2 Serology Standard became available to researchers to order in late December 2020. This US standard will be calibrated to the WHO International Standard when it becomes available, tentatively scheduled for late January 2021.

Researchers may request the Human SARS-CoV-2 Serology Standard by completing the request form available on the FNL website and submitting it to SSNCCbiospecimens@nih.gov.
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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