newsletter masthead
March 1, 2019
Ruth Keri, PhD
Associate Director for Basic Research, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
If you have been following National Cancer Institute (NCI) payline data, you may have noticed that paylines are in the 8th percentile for new R01s and 7th percentile for new R21s for FY2019. New non-modular R01s will also undergo an automatic 19% cut in their budgets. I have been asked by several people how the payline can get worse when the NCI has received an increase in funding over the past two years.

As communicated by NCI Director Ned Sharpless to the National Cancer Advisory Board on February 12, the number of applications to the NCI has skyrocketed over the past four years (see figure below). Although funding for the NCI has risen ~20% since 2009, the number of new R01 applications has increased by over 60%. While this trend is concerning, it is important to keep in mind that great science is still being funded and that the uptick in applications indicates an even greater interest in cancer research.

Moreover, other institutes that also fund cancer-related research have not witnessed such shifts. The success rates for new R01 applications in 2018 were 22, 23, and 24% at NHLBI, NIGMS and NIBIB, respectively. With this in mind, we encourage you to craft your grant applications to align with the missions of these institutes as well and remember to request dual-listing when you submit your grants. Furthermore, we'd like to remind you to consider additional funding streams such as the DoD and foundations until the influx of applications at NCI normalizes.
Lastly, we urge you to enlist your colleagues for pre-review. If you need assistance in identifying someone to pre-review your grants please contact either me or Stan. We are more than happy to help!
Barnholtz-Sloan and Keri Selected by Crain's Cleveland as Notable Women in STEM 2019
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) extends congratulations to Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD and Ruth Keri, PhD, as both were selected by Crain's Cleveland Business as Notable Women in STEM for 2019. Thanks to their leadership, mentoring and example, young women throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond can envision and secure a future for themselves in STEM.

Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD
Jill Barnholtz-Sloan is associate director for bioinformatics at the Case CCC. Read her feature>

Ruth Keri is associate director for basic research at the Case CCC. Read her feature>

Khorana and Bolwell Publish Case Study on Reducing Time-to-Treatment for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients
Time from new cancer diagnosis to starting treatment has increased over the past two decades - the median time to treatment at large academic centers is over six weeks. Delays in treatment are potentially linked to worse survival in certain cancers, especially early-stage cancers.
In 2014, Cleveland Clinic began a program to
Alok Khorana, MD
r educe time-to-treatment for cancer patients. Since then, i t reduced time-to-treatment by 33%.  Alok Khorana, MD and Brian Bolwell, MD recently published a case study in NEJM Catalyst where they outlined their program and offered tips on how other cancer centers can implement similar programs.  
The program's goal was to reduce median time-to-treatment from a baseline of 39 days to less than 30
Bowell, Brian
Brian Bolwell, MD
days. While studying the patient population, the program discovered a sub-group of patients who experienced a delay of over six weeks in time-to-treatment. These patients were referred to patients as "outliers" and the goal was to reduce outliers across all cancers from 30% to 20%. The team was able to reduce outliers to 14%, a 53% reduction. more>
Newly Identified Drug Targets Could Open Door for Esophageal Cancer Therapeutics
Blocking two molecular pathways that send signals inside cancer cells could stave off esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), the most common esophageal malignancy in the United States, according to new research out of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Researchers identified the pathways using advanced computational and genetic analyses of tumor biopsies from EAC patients. They found 80 percent of tumors had unusually active genes related to two specific pathways, and that exposing the cells to pathway inhibitors stymied EAC tumor growth in mice. Vinay Varadan Kishore Guda
Co-senior authors Kishore Guda, DVM, PhD and Vinay Varadan, PhD  spoke with the School of Medicine on the findings published in Gastroenterology . more>
Cancer Center Seminar Series: "Cancer Health Disparities: The Role of Race, Ethnicity and Social Class"
Mar 1, 12p | Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom

All are welcome to visit the ballroom at 
Tinkham  Veale  University Center at noon today to hear from Director  Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD  of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Pérez-Stable is a recognized leader in Latino health care and disparities research.  Dr. Pérez-Stable's expertise spans a broad range of health disparities disciplines. His research interests have centered on improving the health of racial and ethnic minorities and underserved populations, advancing patient-centered care, improving cross-cultural communication skills among health care professionals and promoting diversity in the biomedical research workforce.

The Seminar Series  will  be
available to view via live stream. While we highly encourage you to attend in person to interact with our speakers and receive CME credit, we understand that may not always be possible. Presentations will not be recorded for later viewing, but you may watch the seminar in real time and ask questions via chat.  Watch live at noon>
Genomics of Rare Cancer Types: More than Tumor Philately!  
Tuesday, Mar 5 1:30p | Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom A-B
You are invited to hear from surgical pathologist Jorge
S. Reis-Filho, MD, PhD on Tuesday, 
March 5, 2019 at 1:30pm. Dr. Reis-Filho is  Chief of Experimental Pathology Service at the  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He has experience in breast cancer geneexpression profiling and genomics, and in combining traditional pathology information with data generated with high-throughput molecular techniques. The main focus of his research is on rare types of breast cancer, which together account for up to 25 percent of all invasive breast cancers.
Save $10 on GvHD Symposium Registration
April 26, 2019 | Cleveland Airport Marriott
Annual Graft  vs. Host Disease Symposium to take place Friday, April 26 at the Cleveland Airport Marriott. Use code CANCERCENTER to save $10 on your registration.

This unique conference, which focuses on cutting edge research and new treatments, consists of two tracks: one designed for physicians and other health care professionals, and one for bone marrow transplant (BMT) survivors, their families and their caregivers.

The Meredith A. Cowden Foundation in collaboration with the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute created the National  GvHD Health Symposium in 2010 to raise awareness about Graft vs. Host Disease ( GvHD), to promote research to further our understanding of its cause, and to review cutting edge approaches to prevention and treatment.

The symposium provides an opportunity for attendees to interact with some of the world's leading authorities on  GvHD, a complication that affects over 60% of bone marrow transplant patients.  more>
Cryo-Electron Microscopy Core Facility Pilot Grants
Deadline: March 15, 2019

CWRU's Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM) Facility featuring the newly purchased Titan Krios is up and running, under the Leadership of Dr. Sudha Chakrapani . To encourage growth in the user community, the School of Medicine is funding a series of Pilot Grants for researchers looking to move their research into the Cryo-EM space as well as those with established Cryo-EM science laboratories who wish to initiate new projects.
Faculty awardees would receive $7000 to be used in the Cryo-EM Core Facility. The aim of these pilots is to initiate a new research project using Cryo-EM that could lead to new extramural funding.
Faculty interested in this pilot funding can find more information and apply for consideration by following this link.  Applications are due Friday, March 15 with awards to be announced the week of March 31.
Any questions regarding this pilot funding opportunity should be directed to the review committee through Dr. Sudha Chakrapani at .
2019 V Foundation V Scholar Cancer Research Grant
Internal Deadline: March 18, 2019

V Foundation logo The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center is able to nominate one investigator for the V Foundation's V Scholar Cancer Research Grant Program. The V Scholar Award supports early tenure-track faculty by funding a range of projects from laboratory-
based fundamental research through bench to bedside research. The total amount of the grant is $200,000, paid in two annual installments of $100,000. Only direct costs of the research are supported by this award.

Projects may be focused in ANY area of adult cancer research.

  • US Citizen or permanent legal resident of the US
  • Possess at least 2 years post-doctoral fellowship training
  • Hold a tenure-track faculty position as assistant professor
  • Have been appointed to first full-time assistant professorship within the last 5 years, not yet promoted to associate professor
  • NOT already holding an RO1 or RO1-equivalent as PI or co-leader
  • NOT already a co-leader on projects such as SPORE or NIH grant mechanisms like U01, DP1, DP2, R37 and R23.
Submit a one-page LOI and biosketch to casecccpilots@case.eduContact John Pounardjian at 216.368.0846 with any questions.
Department of Defense (DoD) Funding Opportunities

The Department of Defense recently released the following funding opportunities:
Immunotherapies could change kidney cancer care, studies suggest
CNN - Feb 16, 2019
Study results "will absolutely change the standard of care in this disease. What was seen is really unprecedented results in terms of both an overall survival benefit with the lowest hazard ratio, meaning the most benefit that's ever seen in kidney cancer," said Brian Rini, MD, Cleveland Clinic oncologist and member, Case CCC.
NIH BULLETIN - Notices and Funding Opportunities
Notice of Change in Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards for RFA-OD-19-011 "Predoctoral Training in Advanced Data Analytics for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (BSSR) - Institutional Research Training Program [T32]

Request for Information (RFI): Input on a Combination of Targeted Radionuclide Therapy (TRT) with Other Cancer Treatment Modalities

Request for Information (RFI): Institutional Accountability to Promote Inclusive Excellence

Program Announcements
Deadlines: June 10, 2019; November 6, 2019; June 10, 2020 and others

Fri, Mar 1
3rd Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium
7:30a-4p Tinkham Veale University Center, CWRU

Cancer Center Seminar Series @ the 3rd Annual Cancer Disparities Symposium
Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, MD
Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
"Cancer Health Disparities: The Role of Race, Ethnicity and Social Class"
12p Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom
Mon, Mar 4
Cancer Center Research Chalk Talk
Leland Metheny, MD
1p WRB 3-136

Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Meeting
HyeonJoo Cheon, PhD
4p CA5-124
Weds, Mar 6
Cancer Center Special Seminar
Biplab Dasgupta, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
"Understanding Cancer: From Development to Therapy"
12p WRB 2-136

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Virology Journal Club
Alexander Canfield
12p WRT 206
Thurs, Mar 7
Developmental Therapeutics Journal Club
9a N E 6-218

Cancer Center Special Seminar
Weihang (Valerie) Chai, PhD
Associate Professor
Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
Scientific Director, Microscopy Core
Washington State University
"Decoding Replication Stress-Induced Genome Instability in Carcinogenesis"
12p WRB 2-136

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Seminar
Mary Ann Checkley
Benjamin Luttge
1p SOM W203
Fri, Mar 8
Taussig Cancer Institute Grand Rounds
8a CA5-120

UH Seidman Cancer Center Grand Rounds
8a Wearn 137

CWRU & UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital Shave It Off 2019
7a-6p UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital Performance Area

Cancer Center Seminar Series: 
Sean Morrison, PhD
Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research Children's Research Institute at UT Southwestern Director, Children's Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics
" Metabolic Regulation of Melanoma Metastasis"
12p WRB Auditorium
Mon, Mar 11
Shared Resources Directors Meeting
12p WRB 1-422D

Cancer Center Special Seminar
Xiang-Yang (Shawn) Wang, PhD
Professor of Genetics, Immunology and Radiation
Mary Anderson Harrison Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research
Associate Scientific Director, Immunology
VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine
VCU Massey Cancer Center
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
"Improving Cancer Immune Responsiveness by Lighting a Fire in the Tumor Microenvironment"
12p WRB 2-136
Weds, Mar 13
PRCHN Monthly Seminar
Monica Webb Hooper, PhD
Director, Office of Cancer Disparities Research
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
"Digital Interventions and African American Tobacco Smokers: Culturally Specific Enhancements"
12p BioEnterprise Building Ground Floor Conference Room

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Seminar: Pathogen of the Month
Nga Le
1p WRT 206
Thurs, Mar 14
Developmental Therapeutics Journal Club
9a N E 6-218

Molecular Biology and Microbiology Seminar
Fredrick Kizito
Kien Nguyen
1p SOM W203
Fri, Mar 15
Taussig Cancer Institute Grand Rounds

Cancer Center Seminar Series
Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr., MD Head, Division of Solid Tumor Oncology 
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
12p WRB Auditorium

Deadline: Open

Deadline: Open

Deadline: Open
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center