Committed to Excellence in Cancer Research, Education and Patient Care
November 2019
Tulane's Inaugural Kidney Cancer Day is dedicated to shining a spotlight on a disease that, according to the American Cancer Society, is among the 10 most common cancers in the U.S.  Patients and their families, Tulane providers, staff, students and members of the New Orleans community interested in learning more are encouraged to attend this free event.
The Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology in the John W. Deming Department of Medicine at Tulane will host its Inaugural Kidney Cancer Day on Thursday, December 12, in the Tidewater Diboll Auditorium and Gallery at 1440 Canal St.
The all-day event, sponsored by EMD Serono, is free and open to the public and is designed to raise awareness of this disease that is among the ten most common cancers, affecting one in 48 men and one in 83 women in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.
The symposium will kick off with a Patient Journey Session and Panel Discussion, focusing specifically on the impact of diagnosis and treatment on the patient, caregiver and family experience.
"This is the first time an event of this kind has placed the focus on the patient and care-giving family member," said Pedro Barata, MD , assistant professor of medicine. "And it's the first symposium of its kind to be held in Louisiana. We are very excited to bring this innovative event to the New Orleans community."
Kimberly Allman, CNP, a genitourinary nurse practitioner from the Cleveland Clinic – Taussig Cancer Institute, will contribute to the panel discussion, and afterwards, she will present a lecture on the Management of Immune-Related Adverse Events in Clinical Practice .
The program will continue with a series of kidney cancer management lectures by Tulane faculty, including Dr. Barata, Dr. Audrey Dang of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Shams Halat from Pathology, and Drs. Jonathan Silberstein and Spencer Krane from Urology.
Lunch will transition over to The Jung Hotel - 1500 Canal St., NOLA, 70112 - where D ena Battle, co-founder and president of The Kidney Cancer Research Alliance, will deliver her keynote address entitled The Role of Patient Advocacy Groups in Oncology .
Patients and their family members, Tulane providers, staff, students and members of the community interested in learning more about kidney cancer are encouraged to attend, and registration is recommended. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided.
For more information on Kidney Cancer Day, including a registration link, a list of speakers and topics and a schedule of events, please visit or contact Susana Torres at or 504-988-1236.
Tulane Researcher is Editor of Journal Issue Honoring 40th Anniversary of Key Cancer Discovery
Leading p53 researcher Hua Lu, MB, PhD, of Tulane University School of Medicine, was chosen to edit a special edition of a medical journal dedicated to the history of p53 research. (Story by Carolyn Scofield)
It’s the most important suppressor of growth in cancer tumors and the most intensively studied molecule in biomedical research, yet scientists are still unraveling the mysteries of p53 almost 40 years after its discovery.

Leading p53 researcher Hua Lu, MB, PhD, of Tulane University School of Medicine, was chosen to edit a special edition of the Journal of Molecular Cell Biology dedicated to the history of p53 research. The issue includes articles and perspectives from some of the world’s top research scientists in the field from Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Northwestern, the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Francis Crick Institute, and other universities along with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“It’s a tremendous honor to have one of our Tulane researchers chosen to edit this journal,” says Dr. Lee Hamm, senior vice president and dean of Tulane School of Medicine. “This reflects the breakthroughs Dr. Lu has made in this important field of research.”

Scientists have long known that the p53 protein protects against cancer by triggering cells with DNA damage to self-destruct before they become malignant. The protein also triggers DNA repair processes and cell cycle arrest. P53 is kept in check by two genes, MDM2 and MDMX, which regulate its production and degradation in a negative feedback loop. While overproduction of either the p53 protein or its two suppressors is harmful, with one possible result being the formation of cancer, the balance between both p53 and its suppressors allows for normal cell function, in particular the maintenance of genome integrity.

Lu, professor and Reynolds and Ryan Families Chair in Translational Cancer Research, was honored to lead the effort to commemorate advances of p53 research.
“The more we study p53, the less we know about it,” Lu said. “This special issue of JMCB celebrates the 40th anniversary of p53’s discovery and highlights researchers in the field of cancer, all of whom are pioneering, world-class scientists.”

Lu and his team have recently been looking at how different proteins work to suppress normal p53 function within the cell. One of the proteins, PHLDB3, was thought to be a potential tumor suppressor, but actually allows cancer cells to thrive in the context of pancreatic, prostate, colon, breast, lung, and other cancers. Tulane researchers discovered that PHLDB3 works with MDM2 to inhibit p53, promoting tumor growth. The protein could also cause therapeutic resistance for some late-stage cancers by helping to thwart treatments that work by causing DNA damage to the cancer cell. The other protein of interest is SPIN1, which can promote tumor growth by inactivating p53. The team also discovered how a novel molecular signaling pathway can lead to oncogenic activity of a specific p53 hotspot mutant in the context of liver cancer.
Pickup Truck for the Cure Raffle Extended -
Winner to be Pulled June 1, 2020
  • Proceeds benefit Tulane Cancer Center's Prostate Cancer Research Program.

  • One lucky winner will receive the grand prize - a GMC Canyon Pickup.

  • Raffle tickets are $100 each and a maximum of 500 will be sold.

  • Tickets can be purchased via credit card only at

  • The winner will be selected in a random drawing on June 1, 2020, and need not be present to win.
Good luck and thanks for your support!
Victoria P. Belancio, PhD, associate professor of structural and cellular biology and Tulane Cancer Center Program member, was recently elected by colleagues to serve as primary organizer of the 2021 FASEB Conference on Mobile DNA. This meeting, which is held bi-annually and is one of the longest continuous meetings in the field of mobile elements research, will be titled Mobile DNA: Evolution, Diversity and Impact. Dr. Belancio will work with a committee of four other co-organizers from the U.S. and Spain in coordinating meeting preparations.

Calendar of Events
benefiting Research Into the Cure of Leukemia and Related Diseases

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
New Orleans Hyatt Regency Hotel

Thursday, December 12
7:15 AM - 3:30 PM
Diboll Auditorium and Gallery
First Floor, Tidewater Building
1440 Canal St., New Orleans
Champagne & Chocolates Cocktail Party benefiting Tulane Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Research Fund

February 7, 2020 - 5:30-8:30 PM
Schoen Mansion
3827 Canal St., New Orleans
Delgado Community College's Culinary and Pastry Arts program is donating the chocolate served at this event through Callebaut Chocolate and will sponsor a live competition among several of the program's hospitality students that evening. Each student will be judged on their chocolate-inspired dishes - both sweet and savory - as well as their table designs. 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place prizes will be awarded. Guests will also receive a goody bag, compliments of Delgado. All proceeds benefit Tulane Cancer Center's Breast Cancer Research Fund. Death by Chocolate and Champagne is made possible by the generosity of the beautiful Schoen Mansion, Delgado Community College, Callebaut Chocolate, and members of Krewe de Pink.

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 504-988-6300 or 1-800-588-5800.
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