May 7, 2021
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Message from the Director
Research Program Realignment
Dear Cancer Center members:

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center is an ever-evolving organization, with research aims and goals driven by our member activities. We have seen a lot of growth and advancement over the past few years. With the addition of new leaders and key recruits comes a natural shifting of research foci. After careful self-assessment, discussions in program meetings, and recommendations by our External Advisory Committee, we are realigning our research program structure.

Disease-focused programs were most impacted. We decided it was most beneficial to incorporate investigators across programs in “ribbons” instead of within stand-alone programs. We are eliminating the GU Malignancies Program, bringing our total research programs from seven to six. We have maintained critical scientific teams and interactions while simultaneously providing better scientific focus across the Cancer Center programs.

Scientific programs and their leaders are below. New programs and leaders are listed in bold.
  • Cancer Genomics (previously GI Cancer Genetics) – John Wang, PhD and Peter Scacheri, PhD
  • Immune Oncology (previously HICB) – Tim Chan, MD, PhD and Alex Huang, MD, PhD
  • Population & Cancer Prevention (previously CPC) – Greg Cooper, MD and Fred Schumacher, PhD
  • Development Therapeutics – John Letterio, MD, Yogen Saunthararajah, MD, PhD, Jennifer Yu, MD, PhD
  • Cancer Imaging – Jim Basilion, PhD, Zhenghong Lee, PhD, Agata Exner, PhD
  • Molecular Oncology – Justin Lathia, PhD and Quintin Pan, PhD

We are in the process of sending emails to all members regarding new program assignments. Please reach out to Cancer Center administration if you believe you fit better in another program than the one assigned. Also, please be on the lookout for additional information from program leaders regarding program meeting invites, and program-specific funding opportunities. Please plan to attend the annual scientific retreat (virtual, July 22-23) where we will talk more about new program aims, priorities and future directions.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback on the future of our center.
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
Member/Center Highlights
American Association for Cancer Research Virtual Annual Meeting Part II
The 2021 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting is taking place virtually in two parts. The AACR Virtual Annual Meeting Part I was held April 10-15 and Part II will be held May 17-21. 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.

Sharifi honored with AACR achievement award for discoveries in cancer research, award lecture available on-demand May 17
As announced last month, Cleveland Clinic's Nima Sharifi, MD was selected as the 2021 recipient of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Waun Ki Hong Award for Outstanding Achievement in Translational and Clinical Cancer Research.

In the award announcement, AACR highlighted Dr. Sharifi "has made significant contributions to cancer research through his focus on the role of androgen synthesis in advanced castration-resistant prostate cancers." He was selected for his work into how a genetic variant enables prostate cancer cells to evade first-line treatment and leads to aggressive disease.
Dr. Sharifi is director of the Center for Genitourinary Malignancies Research at Lerner Research Institute and the Kendrick Family Endowed Chair for Prostate Cancer Research at Cleveland Clinic. He also leads the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center's GU Malignancies Program and is a professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine. His featured award lecture will be available on-demand during Part II of the 2021 AACR Virtual Annual Meeting beginning Monday, May 17.
Featured in Forbes: How one scientist fights brain tumors every day
In an interview with Forbes, Pallavi Tiwari, PhD talks about her work fighting brain tumors, her Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D Award and her vision for the technologies she and her team at the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics (CCIPD) are developing. Dr. Tiwari is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering, Director of Brain Image Computing (BrIC) laboratory at Case Western Reserve University, a lead faculty member of the CCIPD and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
First clinical trials set for MRI cancer detection
From The Daily: The US Food and Drug Administration has approved human clinical trials to test the safety of cancer-detection technology developed at Case Western Reserve University: a tumor-targeting contrast agent that accurately detects aggressive prostate cancer in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

The imaging agent, known as MT218, was invented in the lab of Zheng-Rong Lu, PhD who has been developing the tumor-specific MRI contrast agent for nearly 15 years. Dr. Lu is the M. Frank Rudy and Margaret Domiter Rudy Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Case School of Engineering and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center's Cancer Imaging Program.
Cancer Metabolism Shared Resource now open
The Cancer Metabolism Shared Resource is now open and accepting new customers. The facility offers isotope tracing analysis of citric acid cycle intermediates and related metabolites. For more information contact director Masaru Miyagi, PhD at 216.368.2641 or
Call for Nominations: AACI Cancer Health Equity Award
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 AACI Cancer Health Equity Award. The award was created to recognize an individual or group who demonstrates exceptional leadership in promoting health equity, mitigating cancer disparities, and advocating for diversity and inclusion at their cancer center. The nomination period will close on Friday, May 28.
Trainees: 1 week left to submit abstracts for the Annual Scientific Retreat
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. 
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series
TODAY, Friday, May 7, 2021, 12p via Zoom
Our final Cancer Center Seminar for the semester features Christina Curtis, PhD, MSc presenting, "Harnessing multi-omics data and systems biology approaches to guide precision oncology" 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 for mini-retreat access.
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
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 ASCO Annual Meeting 
June 4-8, 2021 | Virtual
The 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting, held online, will feature a dynamic program of educational and scientific sessions, showcasing what is possible when the cancer care community comes together to advance cancer research, treatment, and patient care.

Tune in to a scheduled broadcast experience from June 4-8, featuring 48 high-impact sessions with real-time engagement, live Q&A, and unparalleled learning. Also available beginning June 4, access on-demand content and view presentations from 175 sessions that align with your interests and expertise, featuring presentations from poster and poster discussion sessions, clinical science symposia and dynamic education sessions.
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: Defining the "New Normal"
June 15, 2021 | Virtual
Registration is now open 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.

This FREE online program will explore how national health and sociopolitical events in 2020 will impact future cancer care delivery in the United States. Convening a group of diverse speakers and panelists, the virtual summit will discuss the influence of watershed events including the COVID-19 pandemic, post-election landscape, and national conversations of racial inequity on cancer care. Learn more about upcoming NCCN summits.
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
LOI Deadline: June 21, 2021
National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is pleased to announce a collaboration with Pfizer Global Medical Grants (Pfizer) to offer a new grant opportunity seeking proposals to advance the understanding of the mechanisms of action, underlying biology, and clinical activity of talazoparib in prostate cancer.

NCCN views this collaboration with Pfizer as clear recognition of the advantages offered to investigators from all US institutions through the NCCN Oncology Research Program. We hope you and your colleagues will be interested in this opportunity.

LOIs must be submitted by 5:00 pm ET on Monday, June 21, 2021. Please direct questions regarding this RFP to Nicole Kamienski at with the subject line, “Pfizer Talazoparib 2021 Project.”
Recently posted limited submission funding opportunities with internal competitions (through InfoReady) include the following:

  • NIH Director's Early Independence Awards (LOI due June 1) New this week!
  • Mallinckrodt Grants Awards (LOI due May 24)
  • Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award (LOI due May 18) 
  • W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program (LOI due May 14)
  • CWRU Biomedical Research Fellowship for a postdoctoral candidate (LOI due May 7)

Limited Submission Process:
When timing allows, the CWRU Office of Research and Technology Management (ORTM) holds internal competitions to determine which applicants may submit their proposals. These opportunities are listed in InfoReady.

Some of the submission deadlines do not allow enough time to hold an internal competition. When the submission deadline is significantly less than one month away, ORTM will not hold a competition. It is critical, however, that any CWRU researcher interested in submitting a proposal for a limited submission receive approval to submit. Contact with any questions.
In The News
Elemental Magazine - April 13, 2021
Anirban Sen Gupta, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, was cited for new research into a potential relationship between COVID-19 vaccines and the timing of a person’s menstrual cycle. Dr. Sen Gupta is a member of the Case CCC. - April 22, 2021
Mark Cameron, PhD, associate professor at the School of Medicine, said the race between getting people vaccinated and the variants could be the key to our “return to normal.” Dr. Cameron is a member of the Case CCC.
From The NIH
Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Funding Opportunities

Deadline: July 14, 2021

Deadline: July 14, 2021

Deadline: Multiple dates, see announcement

Deadline: Multiple dates, see announcement
COVID-19 Funding Opportunities and Notices
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