November 25, 2020
Director's Message
Clinical Research Leadership Transition
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
We wish Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS much luck as he transitions to a new position at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center as chief of the Division of Hematology. Dr. Sekeres has been a long-time advocate for cancer patients and clinical research in our center. His guidance, leadership and gift for writing will be missed.

Dr. Sekeres was a valued member of the Executive Committee, serving as Associate Director for Clinical Research since May 2020, and previously, Deputy Associate Director for Clinical Research from 2014-2020. Dr. Sekeres has been an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic since 2002 and simultaneously held an academic appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. His research focuses on patients with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and older adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Mikkael Sekeres headshot
He has held an impressive number of leadership roles locally, nationally and internationally. At the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Dr. Sekeres was Director of the Leukemia Program and Vice Chair for Clinical Research. He Chairs the Medical Advisory Boards for the Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplastic Syndromes International Foundation and the Dresner Foundation, and has served as Chair of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA, Editor-in-Chief for the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Clinical News magazine, and as a Member of ASH’s Executive Committee. In addition to authoring over 400 scientific manuscripts, he writes a regular column for the New York Times and has written the book When Blood Breaks Down: Life Lessons from Leukemia (The MIT Press 2020).

Among his many accomplishments is a unique database of the natural history of patients with MDS, his appreciation of eligibility restrictions for clinical trials among hematologic malignancies, and his active participation in practice-changing clinical trials for elderly patients with AML and MDS.
Member/Center Highlights
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American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting: Highlights from the Case CCC
The 62nd Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) Meeting will take place virtually December 5-8, 2020. The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center has compiled a list of session chairs, presentations, abstracts and papers from Cleveland-based institutions including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. We wish the best of luck to all presenters and attendees! 
San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium: Highlights from the Case CCC
The 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium will take place virtually December 8-11. Drawing an international audience of academic and private physicians and researchers, the symposium is designed to provide state-of-the-art information on the experimental biology, etiology, prevention, diagnosis and therapy of breast cancer and premalignant breast disease. The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) has compiled a list of spotlight sessions and posters featuring Cleveland-based institutions including Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. We wish the best of luck to all presenters and attendees!
Researchers Embark on New Study to Identify Predictors of Chemotherapy-Associated Pain Condition
From Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute: Cleveland Clinic data scientist Daniel Rotroff, PhD, and anesthesiologist Joseph Foss, MD, have received a nearly five million dollar grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to identify biomarkers that can help physicians determine which cancer patients are most likely to develop a chemotherapy-associated pain condition.

“The ultimate utility of our study findings, we hope, will be to help physicians deliver more personalized therapies to patients living with cancer,” said Dr. Rotroff, assistant staff in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, “and to improve patients’ quality of life during and after treatment.” Dr. Rotroff is a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention, Control & Population Research Program.
Center for Immunotherapy & Precision Immuno-Oncology Seeking Faculty, Program Head and Postdoctoral Fellow
The Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology at Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute is seeking qualified candidates for various roles. CITI has open full time positions at all academic levels for candidates who have expertise in immuno-oncology, immunotherapy, immunology, or immunogenomics. The center is also seeking a Program Head for Cell Therapy Developmental Therapeutics and Faculty in Immuno-Oncology focused on Cell Therapy, as well as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Timothy Chan, MD, PhD. CITI is also hiring a Research Department Analyst.
Depts. of Biomedical Engineering and Computer & Data Sciences Seeking Associate Professor in Artificial Intelligence & Medical Imaging
The Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Computer & Data Sciences in the Case School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) are inviting applications for a mid-level (tenured/tenure-track) faculty position in the area of artificial intelligence and medical imaging. The successful candidate will be jointly appointed and will also be affiliated with the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics (CCIPD).
New Cancer Biology Graduate Course Available for Spring 2021
Registration is now open for a new course providing a comprehensive overview of cancer biology. PHRM/PATH 520 The Cellular and Molecular Hallmarks of Cancer is led by expert faculty Amar Desai, PhD and Khalid Sossey-Alaoui, PhD. The course will allow students to:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the hallmarks of cancer and how they conspire to drive progression and metastasis
  • Learn tools and approaches to critically read and review cancer biology literature
  • Understand the NIH scoring system and use this to develop preliminary grant proposal ideas
  • Gain experience in presenting scientific ideas, and leading group discussions on topics related to cancer biology and
  • Discuss ethical and societal issues related to emerging technologies in cancer research.

A course in cell biology and a course in molecular biology are recommended for preparation. Additional course details are available in the university's General Bulletin.
Case CCC COVID-19 Resource Hub
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) has centralized COVID-19 related news, resources and funding opportunities for our cancer center community. Content is updated regularly.

To have a cancer-focused resource added to the page, please email
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series
Friday, December 4, 2020, 12p via Zoom
There will be no seminar this Friday, November 27 due to the holiday.

Our next Cancer Center Seminar welcomes Adam Bass, MD presenting, "Translating the Genome in Gastroesophageal Cancer" on behalf of the GI Cancer Genetics Program 12 pm ET on December 4.

Dr. Bass is Associate Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Assistant Professor of medicine in the division of cellular and molecular oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The overarching goal of his lab is to leverage the study the cancer genome to elucidate key biological processes and therapeutic vulnerabilities in carcinomas arising in the GI tract, especially stomach and esophageal carcinomas.
Cancer Center Seminar Series
Friday, December 11, 2020, 12p via Zoom

On Friday, December 11, our Cancer Center Seminar welcomes Mario Suvà, MD, PhD on behalf of the Molecular Oncology Program 12 pm ET.

Dr. Suvà is an associate professor of pathology and associate molecular pathologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also an associated scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Co-Leader of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Neuro-Oncology Program and Co-Leader of the Cancer Program at Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
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
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 22, 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
Association of Indian Physicians of Northern Ohio (AIPNO) 37th Annual Gala Event/8th Research Showcase Poster Competition
Saturday, December 5, 2020
AIPNO is a vibrant large non-profit organization in the state of Ohio founded in 1983 geared toward enhancing the quality of healthcare by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine and supporting efforts to improve the availability of healthcare to underserved populations in Ohio and in India. The mission of AIPNO is to continue to enhance community involvement and coordinate with other local, national and international organizations through philanthropy, health care access and education.

AIPNO is for non-Indians as well. The AIPNO Annual Event and Conference is one of their most prestigious events and includes a Research Showcase (complimentary registration for poster presenters and winners awarded cash prizes). AIPNO fosters and encourages participation from high school students, medical students, residents, fellows, faculty, nurses, seasoned researchers, allied healthcare providers (nurses, therapists, etc.), community leaders, legislative leaders, philanthropic practitioners, dedicated donors and valued beneficiaries alike.

Questions? Contact Pam Pawelecki at
22nd Annual Best of Radiation Oncology (Live Stream)
Saturday, December 5, 2020
This course, co-directed by Janice Lyons, MD and John Suh, MD will provide radiation oncologists, radiation physicists, nurses, and others with the most current data and information that have been presented at the national meetings.

8:00am | Welcome / Introduction
John Suh, MD, FASTRO and Janice Lyons, MD

8:05am | Management of Breast Cancer
Chirag Shah, MD

8:30am | Management of CNS Tumors
Samuel Chao, MD

8:55am | Management of GI Tumors
Suzanne Russo, MD

9:20am | Management of Thoracic Malignancies
Gregory Videtic, MD, FASTRO

9:45am | Management of GU Tumors
Gordon Guo, MD

Break (10 minutes)
10:20am | Management of Head and Neck Tumors
Neil Woody, MD

10:45am | Management of GYN Tumors
Sudha Amarnath, MD

11:10am | Overview of Radiation Oncology at VA
Aryavarta Kumar, MD, PhD

11:35am | Adjourn

Please email Sheryl Krall at to register.
62nd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition (Virtual)
December 5-8, 2020
Registration is open for the American Society of Hematology's all-virtual Annual Meeting and Exposition, taking place Saturday, December 5 through Tuesday, December 8. Attend the world’s most comprehensive hematology event of the year for an invaluable educational experience and the opportunity to review thousands of scientific abstracts highlighting updates on the most critical topics in hematology.

The schedule-at-a-glance and the preliminary schedule and program for the 62nd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition are now available, and abstracts have been recently posted.
San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (Virtual)
December 8-11, 2020
The San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is designed to provide state-of-the-art information on the experimental biology, etiology, prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of breast cancer and premalignant breast disease, to an international audience of academic and private physicians and researchers.

The symposium is comprised of prestigious award lectures, educational sessions, career development forum, special global session, special session presented by Tigerlily Foundation & AACR, plenary lectures, mini-symposia, clinical, translational & basic science forums, work shops, case discussions and more! The schedule at a glance and daily schedule are now posted online.

Registration fees for the virtual symposium has been reduced.
NCCN Virtual Patient Advocacy Summit
December 10, 2020
Patients with cancer often have widely divergent care experiences from screening through survivorship. Differences in care delivery and outcomes may be due, in part, to varying patient needs and preferences according to age and stage of life; inconsistent implementation of guidelines, recommendations, and policies; and unintended age bias in health care.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s® (NCCN®) Virtual Patient Advocacy Summit will provide an opportunity for a varied group of stakeholders including patients, caregivers, providers, patient advocacy organizations, policymakers, and industry to thoughtfully discuss the importance of providing quality, effective, efficient, and accessible cancer care across the patient lifespan.
Funding Opportunities
Deadline: December 1, 2020
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center requests applications for Cancer Data Sciences pilot projects. Cancer Data Sciences will serve as a discipline in the Case CCC to standardize and organize data for optimal use and leverage advanced analytic approaches to enable independent and synergistic research for basic, clinical, population and translation sciences. Pilot applications should focus on driving new analytical capabilities, developing novel algorithms in order to mine, organize, and standardize cancer data as well as utilizing data sciences approaches to extract knowledge from complex, multi-level cancer data for maximal impact.

Award Description
  • Four (4) awards each at a maximum of $45,000, for one year will be awarded, with the potential for a second year dependent on progress. 
  • Metrics and Milestones will be: novel algorithms to be disseminated to Cancer center members, standardized datasets to be available to Cancer center members, peer-reviewed publications, peer-reviewed meeting presentations and/or generation of pilot data for peer-reviewed funding. 
  • Open to Case Comprehensive Cancer Center members. 
The Mary Kay Foundation is accepting applications for grants for translational research in ovarian, uterine, breast, or cervical cancer. Only one individual at Case Western Reserve University (including University Hospitals researchers with CWRU appointments) will be nominated to submit a full application. Case Comprehensive Cancer Center members who are appointed through UH or CWRU should apply to THIS internal competition. CCF applicants should apply internally here by Dec 1.

Grants up to $100,000 total costs ($86,956 direct costs with a 15% IDC rate), to be used over one or two years. PIs must have a full-time, independent, faculty appointment.

Case Comprehensive Cancer Center leadership will review all applicants. Selected nominees will work with their department research administrators and Case CCC administration to submit full applications to the sponsor before February 5, 2021.
In The News
Oncology Times - November 5, 2020
Brian Bolwell, MD shares his thoughts on keeping meetings effective in his latest opinion contribution to Oncology Times. Dr. Bolwell is Deputy Director for Cleveland Clinic at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
WKYC Cleveland - November 13, 2020
Mercedes Mackey works the front desk at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. Her blinged-out masks have been a source of joy for patients, & she's getting national attention!
From The NIH
Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

Funding Opportunities

Deadline: Only accepting applications for the AIDS Application Due Date(s) listed.

Deadline: Not Applicable

Deadlines: February 22, 2021; May 27, 2021; September 29, 2021

Deadlines: February 22, 2021; May 27, 2021; September 29, 2021

Deadlines: February 22, 2021; May 27, 2021; September 29, 2021

Deadlines: February 22, 2021; May 27, 2021; September 29, 2021

Deadlines: February 22, 2021; May 27, 2021; September 29, 2021

Deadlines: February 22, 2021; May 27, 2021; September 29, 2021
COVID-19 Funding Opportunities and Notices
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