October 9, 2020
Director's Message
2020 External Advisory Committee Meeting: Showcasing our unique and unified approach to cancer research
Stan Gerson, MD
Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
The Cancer Center’s 2020 External Advisory Committee meeting took place on Wednesday, September 30, just after the presidential debate the night before. While we were all safely isolated in our campus or home offices, the engagement and thoughtfulness of both our presenters and reviewers was rather incredible to watch.

Our Cancer Center remains strong and is maintaining its strong support for new investigator initiatives and multi-investigator projects leading to multiple P and U grant submissions. I appreciate the hard work that it takes to put these efforts together, representing the year’s accomplishments across the center and our 400 faculty members across five institutions that make up the center.
This year, an evident theme was the balanced contributions of science, therapeutics and investment from Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic. With our likewise balanced oversight by our deputy directors, Brian Bolwell, Ted Teknos and Alan Diehl, we remain unique among the nation’s NCI designated cancer centers, and take advantage of the remarkable expertise and breadth of accomplishments across our organizations to wield a unified approach to innovation in cancer prevention, mechanism discovery, genomic etiology, targeted therapeutics and population analysis.

Our center was very well represented by our program leaders, presenting top science from their programs. Research highlights included:

  • Identifying immune mediated differences in glioma response in males and females that led to the successful P01 award to Justin Lathia and Jill Barnholtz-Sloan.
  • Initiation of a multi-center phase 2 study with the glutaminase inhibitor CB839 by David Bajor based on Zhenghe John Wang’s discovery that it upregulated uridine phosphorylase to block TS and synergize with 5-FU in colon cancer.
  • The continued development of home-grown therapeutic agents including six licensed, two supported by NCI SBIR’s and start-up companies, and one to be licensed. 
  • Expanded use of NEOCASE to help identify our excess cancer burden and risks in our catchment area, led by Johnie Rose and Siran Koroukian – noted by all of our research program presentations.
  • Expanded genomic assessments of hematological malignancies, uncovering predisposition genes for AML, gene expression predicting response in myeloma and the role of NF-kappaB/c-rel in both immune response and in leukemia dependency, led by the teams of Jarek Maciejewski, Parameswaran Ramakrishnan and Jim Driscoll.
  • Uncovering the instigator of hypertension due to cortisol induction by androgen receptor blockade by agents in in men with prostate cancer by Nima Sharifi.
  • Identifying unique digitized morphogenic signatures of prostate cancer in Black men with prostate cancer that may provide a clue for the higher incidence and worse outcomes and signify an opportunity to consider unique approaches to diagnosis and treatment, led by Anant Madabhushi.

The introduction of Data Sciences as a new discovery pillar of our center by Jill Barnholtz-Sloan was well received.

On the clinical trials front, despite COVID-19 and leadership transitions, our ongoing efforts, continued accrual and remarkable impact of shortening times to protocol activation helped to showcase our ongoing attention to patients in need of new treatments, while we struggle to be as inclusive as possible and to re-expand our non-therapeutic interventional portfolio.

Mark Jackson provided a summary of our comprehensive education, training and career development programs that continue to dazzle reviewers.

Finally, I am very grateful of the efforts of Jennifer Cullen, Associate Director for Cancer Population Sciences, and Erika Trapl, Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement, for absorbing the breath of activities across our center and presenting these in such a coherent way. We will all be hearing more from them in the near future, as we continue to bring the important perspective of our community into our approach to research and discovery. Increasing our focus on benefits to our community will help us to address the fundamental disparities that we collectively face across our country. This effort reflects the incredible quality and impact of all of our activities to pursue our mission: To apply scientific discoveries in human cancers to improve lives across our communities through cancer prevention, detection, treatment, cure and survivorship.
Member/Center Highlights
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CWRU and UH Researchers Secure $4 Million in NCI Funding to Investigate Relationships between HIV and Lung Cancer in East Africa
Researchers with the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UHCMC) have secured $4 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI) to establish an HIV- associated Malignancy Research Center (HAMRC) focused on lung cancer in East Africa.

The team will collaborate with Ugandan and Tanzanian researchers at the Joint Clinical Research Centre in Kampala, Makerere University Lung Institute, Uganda Cancer Institute, Mulago National Hospital, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Muhumbili National Hospital and the Ocean Road Cancer Institute. The HAMRC will investigate novel approaches to characterize lung cancer epidemiology, somatic mutation burden, HIV and accelerated aging, and radiological features of lung cancer and the relationship to HIV-1 infection.

The focus of this new research center includes establishing national lung cancer diagnostic referral networks in Uganda and Tanzania, teleradiology telepathology, technology transference and training of early career investigators and personnel.

This cross-continental effort is led by Robert A. Salata, MD, Case Western Reserve/UHCMC; Stan Gerson, MD, Case Western Reserve; Bruce Kirenga, MD, Makerere University Lung Institute; and Sayoki Mfinanga, MD, PhD of the National Institute for Medical Research, Muhimbili Centre, Tanzania. The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, which has a history of coordinating large, multi-institution projects, will provide administrative support, while the Joint Clinical Research Centre is the central site of research activity.
A note from the #AIO2020 Chair: Secure your access to the Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Virtual Symposium today
On behalf of the planning committee, I encourage you to secure your access to our upcoming Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Symposium, being held virtually October 19-20, if you have not done so already.
This event has a diverse lineup of speakers and panelists who will engage in discussions on how AI and machine learning are being used as diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tools for precision oncology utilizing routinely acquired imaging scans from pathology and radiology, their role in drug discovery, and the ethics and policy surrounding this rapidly evolving field. An internationally recognized expert in radiology and champion for use of AI in medical imaging, Dr. Geraldine McGinty, Chief Contracting and Strategy Officer at Weill Cornell Medicine will deliver the symposium’s plenary address. Our program committee has also carefully selected pre-eminent leaders in AI in medicine as keynote speakers for each of our four focused sessions.
While we wanted to collaborate in person again this year, we are greatly looking forward to connecting through our web-based conference application, Whova, where attendees will not only be able to view presentations, but also ask questions during panel discussions and network behind the scenes. Registered attendees will be receiving invitations and instructions to access the virtual conference soon.

New this year, we added an additional networking opportunity immediately following the symposium. Two concurrent “Ask the Experts” conversations will focus on the use of AI in Radiology and on Digital Pathology, and are designed to enable greater networking, an opportunity for participants to ask questions and for trainees to make connections on their career paths with the leading experts in the field. Members of our AIO Planning Committee will be joining each of the conversations and look forward to connecting with you!

I hope that you will join us and invite your colleagues to hear from the array of experts we are bringing directly to you, whether at your desk or your favorite spot in your home.
Anant Madabhushi, PhD

Chair, Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Planning Committee
Donnell Institute Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Case School of Engineering
Director, Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics
Case Western Reserve University
Pre-Register for the virtual Clinical Research Retreat, held October 28
Clinical and Translational Investigators of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center are invited to attend the upcoming virtual Clinical Research Retreat: Immunotherapy in Cancer Clinical Research on October 28, 2020 from 5-7 pm ET.

Former NCI K12 Paul Calabrese Scholar and current PRMC chairperson Leland Metheny, MD will kick-off the retreat with a presentation on “Post-hematopoietic Transplant Immunotherapy.”

Timothy Chan, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology at Cleveland Clinic, will deliver the keynote address, “Immunotherapy: Evolving Landscape of Mechanisms and Modalities.” Dr. Chan is a renowned expert in immune-oncology who joined the Cancer Center in April from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Retreat participants will have the opportunity to ask both speakers questions about clinical research and the future of immunotherapy.

Clinical research and training are hallmark activities of an exceptional academic cancer center. The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center organizes Clinical Research Retreats twice a year to encourage engagement across institutions and foster a collaborative, forward-moving research environment.

WHEN: October 28, 2020, 5-7 pm 
WHERE: Zoom meeting 
Barnholtz-Sloan elected Representative, Society for Neuro-Oncology Board of Directors
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center extends congratulations to Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, PhD as she was recently elected as a representative to the board of the Society for Neuro-Oncology.

Dr. Barnholtz-Sloan is the Sally S. Morley Designated Professor in Brain Tumor Research at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Associate Director for Data Sciences at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. She will assume her position upon the conclusion of the society's virtual annual meeting next month.
Listen In: Cancer Advances Podcast
Cancer Advances is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify, Blubrry and Stitcher
Join Dale Shepard, MD, PhD for Cancer Advances, a Cleveland Clinic podcast for medical professionals, exploring the latest innovative research and clinical advances in the field of oncology.

In last week's episode of the podcast, Cleveland Clinic oncologist and Case CCC member Shilpa Gupta, MD discusses promising findings in the treatment of advanced bladder cancer in this week's Cancer Advances podcast. Dr. Gupta shares data from the phase II Bladder Cancer Signal Seeking Trial (BLASST-1), recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. She also provides an update on additional in-progress clinical trials and what’s on the horizon for bladder cancer research.

This week's episode features Halle Moore, MD, Cleveland Clinic Director of Breast Medical Oncology and Co-Director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program, discussing the Cleveland Clinic's breast cancer survivorship program. Dr. Moore is a member of the Case CCC's Cancer Prevention, Control & Population Research Program.
Trainee Spotlight: Lerner Research Institute 2020 Awards for Excellence
Each year, Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute honors its students, trainees and staff for their leadership and research accomplishments by presenting a select few with Awards for Excellence. Congratulations to the following trainees, part of Case CCC member labs, for their 2020 awards:
Sara Akhavanfard, MD, PhD
(Charis Eng Lab)
Graduate Student Award
Abigail Dooley
(Christine O'Connor Lab)
Sylvain Brunet Award for Outstanding Accomplishment by a Graduate Student
Defne Bayik, PhD
(Justin Lathia Lab)
Postdoctoral Fellow Award
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 cancer@case.edu.
What's Coming Up
Mark Your Calendar
Cancer Center Seminar Series presents: The Olof Pearson Lecture
Friday, October 16, 2020, 12p via Zoom
While there is no seminar today Friday, October 9, our Friday, October 16 seminar features Myles Brown, MD, presenting the Olof Pearson Lecture in hormone-responsive malignancies at 12 pm ET via Zoom.

Dr. Brown is Director of the Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Eiml Frei III Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He will present, "Feedback Loops Limiting Effective Breast Cancer Therapy" next week.

Dr. Brown’s research laboratory focuses on elucidating the epigenetic factors underlying the action of steroid hormones. This work has important implications both for normal physiology and for the treatment of hormone dependent malignancies including breast and prostate cancer. He is recognized for three seminal discoveries. His lab opened the steroid receptor coregulator field, illuminated the dynamic nature of receptor and coregulator interaction with the genome and elucidated the importance of epigenetically determined distant cis-regulatory steroid receptor binding sites. His contributions have uniquely reformulated the understanding of steroid hormone action in normal physiology and in hormone-dependent cancer.

Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Virtual Symposium 2020
October 19-20, 2020

The second annual Artificial Intelligence in Oncology Symposium will bring together experts in AI and machine learning as well as clinical, industry and federal agency experts in pathology, radiology, drug discovery, and ethics and policy to speak on research developments, regulatory policy, reimbursement and ethics surrounding AI in oncology. For the health and safety of all attendees, this year's symposium will take place virtually.

Join us for four focused sessions, with international speakers and panel discussions providing unique perspectives on how AI and machine learning are impacting the major areas of radiology, pathology and -omics in the contexts of precision medicine approaches for characterizing tumors and predicting therapeutic response.

Beyond the science, attendees will be able to network, meet the experts and enjoy a special session highlighting some of the brightest rising stars in the field of AI in oncology, selected from abstract submissions.

Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR will present the symposium plenary, "Fostering a Strong Ecosystem for AI in Medical Imaging." Dr. McGinty is an internationally recognized expert in imaging economics, Chair of the American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors and Chief Strategy and Contracting Officer at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

Additional keynotes in drug discovery, ethics & policy and pathology will be delivered by Russ Altman, MD, PhD of Stanford University, Aashima Gupta, MS of Google, Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH of the University of California, San Francisco, and Yinyin Yuan, PhD of the Institute of Cancer Research, London. Learn more about AIO 2020 speakers.
Case Western Reserve University Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Logo in dark CWRU blue
Case CCC Fall Clinical Research Retreat
October 28, 2020, 5-7p via Zoom
The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center's Fall Clinical Research Retreat will be held virtually on October 28, 2020 from 5-7 pm.

The retreat theme is, "Immunotherapy in Cancer Research." The retreat will include a presentation by Leland Metheny, MD, Chair of the Case CCC Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee (PRMC) and a keynote presentation from Timothy Chan, MD, PhD, Director of Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology at Cleveland Clinic.

Registration is required.
Multidisciplinary Colorectal Oncology Course
November 6, 2020, 9a-12:30p
This symposium will focus on providing an in-depth and up-to-date review of the multidisciplinary management of colorectal cancers.

Oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and nurses with an interest in the management of patients with colorectal cancer should participate in this course.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation Center for Continuing Education designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (Virtual)
November 9-10, 2020
The Biomedical Graduate Student Symposium (BGSS) is a student-run event that celebrates student research in the School of Medicine at CWRU. This event will consist of student poster presentations, student oral presentations, and a keynote address from Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). BGSS will also partner with the Career Opportunities for Trainees Series (COTS) for a career panel (details and panelists to be announced).

Contact casebgss@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.
Additional Upcoming Events
NCCN 2020 Virtual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies
October 9-10, 2020
Attend this NCCN virtual congress to hear from world-renowned experts in the management of Hematologic Malignancies present the latest treatment advances, updates to the standard of care as recommended in the NCCN Guidelines®, and unique and challenging patient cases.

Co-chaired by Ranjana H. Advani, MD, Stanford Cancer Institute, and Andrew D. Zelenetz, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, this virtual program features presentations and interactive discussions highlighting the treatment options and supportive care for a variety of hematological malignancies.

This program is approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for physicians and will award contact hours for nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals.
NCCN 2021 Annual Conference: Call for Abstracts
Abstract Deadline: November 11, 2020
NCCN is now accepting abstracts for consideration to be presented during the NCCN 2021 Annual Conference General Poster Session at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19, 2021. NCCN welcomes original abstracts from investigators in the general oncology community. Submissions will be accepted from academic institutions, teaching and community hospitals, or industry. Both NCCN and non-NCCN institutions may participate.

Research may fall into the general areas below:

  • Clinical Oncology (all phases)
  • Pre-Clinical Oncology
  • Epidemiology/Risks/Prevention
  • Correlative/Genomic
  • Best Practices in Implementation and Use of Clinical Practice Guidelines
  • Quality Improvement
  • Outcomes and Health Services Research
  • Bioinformatics/Information Technology Sciences
Sixth Computational Approaches for Cancer Workshop (CAFCW20)
Workshop: November 13, 2020
The National Cancer Institute Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology and SC20 are seeking abstracts for presentations for the Sixth Computational Approaches for Cancer Workshop (CAFCW20). CAFCW20 is a workshop designed to bring together clinicians, cancer biologists, mathematicians, data scientists, computational scientists, engineers, developers, thought leaders, and anyone else interested in advancing computation to use in cancer care and research. This year’s topic is “AI and HPC: Overcoming Data Challenges in Cancer Research and Clinical Applications.”

A special emphasis for the CAFCW20 is the role of HPC and AI to address research challenges when data are limited by availability, variability and size. The workshop will be held in conjunction with SC20: The International Conference on High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis in Atlanta, GA., on November 15.
SGO 2021 Annual Meeting
Abstract Deadline: October 23, 2020
Annual Meeting: March 20-23, 2021
The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer is a comprehensive forum for the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology. Whether you’re a physician, surgeon, researcher, allied health professional or a student in the field, you can join us to make the connections that will boost your career, see what’s new in gynecologic oncology science and research, and learn the best practices and techniques that can take your care to the next level.

The Call for Abstracts and Surgical Films for the SGO 2021 Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer is open through October 23, 2020. Call for Late-breaking abstracts will be open December 1, 2020 through January 4, 2021.
Funding Opportunities
VeloSano logo
With the generous support from VeloSano Bike to Cure, the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) is again providing funding for Case CCC Trainee Associate Members to perform their “dream experiment.”

The experiment should catalyze highly innovative and impactful projects and help strengthen fellowship and career development grant applications. The intent of the award is to support a single or limited set of innovative experiments, not for general laboratory supplies/projects or maintenance of the trainee’s project.

Up to five (4) projects will be funded at $10,000/award. Research projects must be completed within one (1) year, with funds expended by June 30, 2021.
Deadline: December 10, 2020
The American Lung Association's Innovation Award provides $75,000 of support per year for up to two years promising independent investigators who are leveraging their existing body of work to conduct basic science, behavioral, clinical, or translational research for lung health.

The Catalyst award champions the next generation of scientists who are ascending toward independence by supporting mentored-investigators who are conducting basic science, behavioral, clinical or translational research into lung health. It provides $50,000 of support per year for up to two years.

The Public Policy Research Award also provides $50,000 of support per year, up to two years, and is designed to help stimulate and inform important public policy debates around healthy air and lung disease. This award supports research on and evaluation of existing public policy and programs, as well as projects that inject innovative ideas into public policies impacting lung health.
The ILCF Fellowship Awards provide $50,000 to fund one-year research projects focused on the etiology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and all aspects of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies. Fellowship Award candidates must be at the post-doctoral level (MD, DO, PhD, or PharmD) and must be in fellowship training or its equivalent for the duration of the award funding.

The ILCF Young Investigator Awards provide $50,000 to fund one-year research projects focused on the etiology, epidemiology, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and all aspects of lung cancer and thoracic malignancies. Young Investigator Award candidates must have completed their medical degree (MD, DO, PhD, or PharmD) and must be within three years of their initial faculty appointment.
In The News
Shepherdstown Chronicle - September 25, 2020
The fundraiser supports cancer research directly, by supporting vaccine research. Vincent Tuohy, PhD, Chair in Innovative Breast Cancer Research at Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded funding in 2017 to launch a clinical trial to begin testing a breast cancer vaccine. The first Phase I trial was slated to begin in mid-2020, focusing exclusively on women who have recently recovered from treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, the most lethal form of the disease.
WKYC Cleveland - October 5, 2020
Bioengineer and scientist Anant Madabhushi, PhD, along with a team of biomedical researchers out of Case Western Reserve University and partners in the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have begun training computers to analyze pathology images and predict which patients will accept or reject heart transplants.
From The NIH
Weekly NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices
COVID-19 Funding Opportunities and Notices
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