March 25, 2019:

In this month’s Across the Consortium, the Big Ten CRC highlights research to detect cancer cells early in their development, and other advances from our member institutions. We also congratulate those who received hard-earned grants and leadership positions.

University of Illinois Cancer Center

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, led by University of Illinois Cancer Center member Ian Papautsky, and Queensland University of Technology of Australia, have developed a device that can isolate individual cancer cells from patient blood samples. The microfluidic device works by separating the various cell types found in blood by their size.

Read more

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center

A new study by Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute provides the strongest evidence to date to support recommendations that average risk patients can safely opt for an annual, easy-to-use home stool test instead of a screening colonoscopy.

Read more.

University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of Iowa is one of six leading centers around the United States conducting a pilot project to collect data on bone and soft tissue sarcoma treatment procedures with the goal of improving care for patients who have musculoskeletal tumors. Each of the six major medical centers participating in the Musculoskeletal Tumor (MsT) registry feasibility pilot — launched and coordinated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) — has been tasked with determining the most efficient and accurate methods for capturing data and submitting it to the registry.

Read more.

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center

Latest U.S. estimates indicate that since 1989, hundreds of thousands of women’s lives have been saved by mammography and improvements in breast cancer treatment. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings point to progress made in early detection and management of breast cancer.

Read more.

Michigan State University Breslin Cancer Center

Jetze Tepe, a Michigan State University chemist, is the recipient of a highly competitive 2019 Brian D. Novis Senior Research Grant from the International Myeloma Foundation. The $80,000 grant award will support his ongoing work on the development of a new approach to treating multiple myeloma using proteasome enhancement. Tepe, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry in the MSU College of Natural Science, won this same award in 2013.

Read more.

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

The Karen Wyckoff Rein in Sarcoma Foundation announced three recipients of their 2019 Sarcoma Research Grants. This is the 19th year that the Karen Wyckoff Rein in Sarcoma Foundation has provided grants to the University of Minnesota, with this year’s contribution totaling $150,000.

Read more.

Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center (University of Nebraska)

Kimiko Krieger, a graduate student fellow in the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases, was selected as one of 16 early-career cancer scientists from around the country to participate in Early-career Hill Day through the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). This marks the second straight year Krieger was selected to participate in the event.

Read more.

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Ankit Bharat, MBBS, the Harold L. & Margaret N. Method Research Professor of Surgery, has been named chief of thoracic surgery in the Department of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Bharat is also the surgical director of lung transplantation and respiratory ECMO at Northwestern Medicine and an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care.

Read more.

Penn State Cancer Institute

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) awarded David Waning, PhD, of Penn State Cancer Institute $50,000 to advance his studies of metastatic breast cancer treatment. Waning’s research focuses on new treatments by studying the effect cancer therapies have on bone mass and muscle mass and working to preserve and improve them.

Read more.

Purdue University Center for Cancer Research

The days – or even weeks – spent waiting for the results of a cancer-screening test can feel like an eternity. Especially when early diagnosis and quick action are tied to better outcomes. Now, a new technique to analyze proteins expressed on cancer cells shows promise in more rapidly detecting these cell types.

Read more.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

It’s one of the scariest things a person could ever hear: “You have cancer.” Every single day, nearly 47,000 people around the world, on average, are diagnosed with cancer. And while the disease can affect anyone, there is extreme disparity when it comes to cancer care and prevention globally. About 70 percent of all deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries. The reasons are myriad and complex; meanwhile, the human suffering is ubiquitous in these resource-limited settings.

Read more.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

One way to treat the most common type of kidney cancer is to use anti-angiogenic drugs to cut off the blood supply to the tumors, but patients respond differently to the drugs, and choosing the wrong one can make the cancer grow faster. A new UW Carbone Cancer Center study, published in EBioMedicine, has developed a model that mimics the tumor’s blood supply on a three-dimensional platform designed in the laboratory of David Beebe, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering and pathology. The authors of the study, led by Drs. Jose “Tony” Jimenez-Torres and Maria Virumbrales-Munoz used both normal and cancerous tissue from patients to grow the blood vessels. They replicated many of the structures seen in the normal and cancer-tissue blood supplies and used them to test targeted drugs used to treat renal cell carcinoma.

Read more.

Information for this story was compiled from Big Ten CRC member websites, news releases, and social media.

About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to almost 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit