Committed to Excellence in Cancer Research, Education and Patient Care
Inroads
April 2018
Grant Supports Smoking Cessation Program For Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients
William "Rusty" Robinson, M.D., head of the Section of Gynecologic Oncology, plans to expand a smoking cessation program his team initiated previously.
Cigarette smoking and tobacco use have been associated with the development of multiple cancers, including lung, genitourinary, and gynecologic malignancies. Therapies, including radiation and chemotherapy, have been shown to be less effective in smokers than in non-smokers, and smoking has been identified as the single strongest predictor of complications related to some cancer treatments.

"For these reasons, tobacco cessation is strongly recommended by oncologists for newly diagnosed cancer patients," said William "Rusty" Robinson, M.D., head of the Section of Gynecologic Oncology at Tulane University School of Medicine, who recently received a $65,000 grant from the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC) to implement a smoking cessation program for cancer patients.

"This new program is modeled after one my team implemented in the gynecologic cancer clinic at Tulane a couple of years ago," said Robinson. That program augmented the resources of the Louisiana QUITLINE - a confidential, free tobacco cessation helpline that links people who want to quit with trained cessation specialists who create an individualized plan.

Robinson and his team had noticed that just mentioning the resource to patients wasn't really working. "They needed an additional push. So we added one-on-one interventions by a trained person - a registered nurse or social worker within our clinic - who used prepared scripts to counsel and encourage participants to utilize the QUITLINE program." Personal counseling sessions - to answer questions and/or offer encouragement - were provided weekly for twelve weeks.

"What we found was that ALL of the women who participated in the program were smoke-free at six months," said Robinson. "With this new LCRC funding, we plan to expand and offer this program to ALL newly diagnosed cancer patients - not just gynecologic patients - seen at Tulane and University Medical Center."

Robinson and his team also found ethnic differences in their initial study, with African American patients less likely to participate in the program. "So while this new study is meant to improve upon the effectiveness of the Louisiana QUITLINE, we also hope to evaluate racial barriers to its utilization."

Collaborating with Dr. Robinson's team on this project are researchers and clinicians from University Medical Center, Louisiana State University and Xavier University.
"What we found was that ALL of the women who participated in the program were smoke-free at six months."
William "Rusty" Robinson, M.D.
Med Student Takes Top Honors at Recent Meeting
Tiffany Kaul, an MD/PhD candidate in Tulane School of Medicine's Physician Scientist Program, won top honors for her poster - L1 expression in induced pluripotent stem cells - at the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation's recent regional meeting in New Orleans.
 
Kaul, who is supported by a pre-doctoral National Institutes of Health fellowship for training in translational science, works in the laboratory of Dr. Prescott Deininger , Tulane Cancer Center director. At the meeting, she competed against approximately 450 others, most of them practicing physician scientists presenting their clinical work.
 
Her project involves the study and analysis of retroelements, or jumping genes, in induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells hold the promise of broad potential in regenerative medicine therapies. By understanding the role of potentially mutagenic jumping genes in regenerative stem cell therapies, Kaul hopes to shed light on mechanisms that affect the safety and efficacy of these therapies.
 
"The problem is that these stem cells also have the proclivity to become cancerous," said Kaul. "We see tons of a retroelement called L1 in these cells." Once called "junk DNA," retroelements have the ability to amplify themselves in the genome through a copy/paste-like mechanism. "The question is whether L1 is the reason these cells are becoming cancerous, and if so how can we halt its expression."
 
Kaul is excited about using new technological approaches - bioinformatics and genetic sequencing - in her investigations, skills and techniques that will orient her to one day practicing precision medicine. "It was very exciting to discuss my work with the judges and explain why this research is important in better understanding the biology of these stem cells."
 
Kaul plans to graduate in 2021 and hopes to one day lead her own aging-focused research program combined with a clinical practice.
State Rep. Julie Stokes to Lead
3rd Annual Pink Bra 5K Fun Run
State Representative and breast cancer survivor Julie Stokes will lead runners and walkers wearing their brightest and boldest bras for the Third Annual Pink Bra 5K Fun Run, taking place at 9 AM on Saturday, May 12 - Mother's Day Weekend - on the Mississippi River levee at Algiers Point.

This fun event brings together more than 200 runners and walkers of all ages to raise funds for Tulane Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Research Program.

The Pink Bra Run is organized by Krewe de Pink, a local organization that raises funds to support breast cancer research as well as patients battling the disease.

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 266,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year.

The event features a "Best Decorated Bra" contest, with prizes for the top three male and female contestants! All participants will receive a medal plus enjoy complimentary food, beverages, and a dance party at the post-race festival at Warren's Corner, 601 Patterson Rd., Algiers Point.

To pre-register, visit www.eventbrite.com and search for "Pink Bra Run 2018." For more information, click here.
7th Annual One Man Shoot Raises $130K
for Prostate Cancer Research
When Michael Boykin called the Tulane Cancer Center seven years ago with an idea to host a sporting clays fundraiser to support Dr. Oliver Sartor's Prostate Cancer Research Program , he could not have imagined the event would eventually raise in excess of $1.13 million - funds that are vitally important to supporting the research that could bring us closer to a cure. That was the fervent hope of Michael's late brother - Connie Mack Boykin - a patient of Dr. Sartor's who started the shoot along with Michael, Randy Hays, Cyril Lejeune and others and in whose honor and memory it is held today.

But the One Man Shoot has done so much more through the years! It has also shined a spotlight on a disease that attacks one in seven of our men, vigorously raising awareness, promoting early detection and encouraging fellows to be proactive when it comes to their health. And the friendly sporting clays competition is just a little lagniappe - the perfect conduit for bringing men together in brotherhood for the cause.

The Seventh Annual One Man Shoot, held March 24, raised approximately $130,000!

"I am continuously blown away by the tenacity, spirit and drive of the One Man Shoot Planning Committee members," said Dr. Sartor. "They are a testament to what can be accomplished when good people unite around something that deeply inspires them. In this case, it's someONE - Connie Mack Boykin. It's clear his mission continues - stronger than ever - through the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the Shoot, and I am deeply, deeply thankful."

Plan to join us next year! For more information on the One Man Shoot, visit www.onemanshoot.com .
Calendar of Events
Tulane offers free prostate screenings - a PSA blood test - on the second Tuesday of each month at Tulane Comprehensive Cancer Clinic, 150 S. Liberty St., New Orleans. To make an appointment, call 504-988-5800 or 1-800-588-5800.
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