Oct. 19, 2017:

As the Big Ten CRC leads the rapidly-changing world of cancer research, Across the Consortium is your one-stop source for the latest. From technologies to funding, and from public health to discoveries we hand-pick the breaking stories so you don’t miss a thing!

University of Illinois Cancer Center

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received $6.75 million from the National Institutes of Health to establish a specialized Center of Excellence in minority health and health disparities research.

Called the Center for Health Equity Research, or CHER, the new UIC center will investigate how various social structures and determinants contribute to the health of marginalized groups.

“The reality is that the vast majority of preventable disease in the U.S. happens in a small group of minority communities and it’s not always because of biology alone,” said Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor for community based practice at UIC and director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

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Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center

To help cancer patients overcome the effects of chemotherapy, one IU  IU Simon Cancer Centerresearcher has set out to create a new drug.

With a $2.9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, Mark Kelley of the IU Simon Cancer Center, plans to develop the drug that will help patients beat Neuropathy.

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University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Two drugs, already approved for safe use in people, may be able to improve therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), a blood cancer that affects myeloid cells, according to results from a University of Iowa study in mice.

CML is a relatively common cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017 there will be about 8,950 new cases and about 1,080 people will die of the disease.

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University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Researchers have found that a novel drug combination disrupts multiple factors in an aggressive type of breast cancer.

In the hunt for novel treatments against an aggressive form of breast cancer, University of Michigan researchers recently combined a new protein inhibitor with a chemotherapy drug.

The result: a powerful combination that led to cancer cell death.

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Michigan State University Breslin Cancer Center

MSU Bakers, the on-campus bakery at Michigan State University, is celebrating its ninth consecutive October of supporting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Gwen’s Bagels.

These pink bagels with dried cranberries help recognize breast cancer survivors and honor the memory of victims.

Every bagel is made from scratch and baked fresh by MSU Bakers’ Rita Lyon. She has been a baker with MSU Bakers for 19 years. Lyon developed the recipe in honor of her mother, Gwen, who passed away in 1972 of breast cancer.  

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Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota

New Study Offers Insight On Breast Cancer

Dr. Anne Blaes is an oncologist at the University of Minnesota. She joined WCCO This Morning to talk more about recovery and a recent study that’s offering new insight for survivors (3:11). WCCO This Morning – Oct. 12, 2017

See interview.

Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center (University of Nebraska)

The University of Nebraska Medical Center continued to gain ground in research funding last year.

UNMC researchers brought in a record $117.1 million in grants and contracts during fiscal year 2017, up nearly 2 percent from a record $115.1 million the previous year.

Last year’s total marked the first time that UNMC had surpassed the $100 million mark in research funding, not including funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The federal stimulus package, the university noted, boosted funding from 2008 to 2010.

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Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Elizabeth Thomas Bartom, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, has received a Research Specialist Award (R50) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Granted for the first time in 2016, the program was introduced to encourage exceptional scientists who want to pursue research within the context of an existing NCI-funded basic, translational, clinical or population science cancer research program, working in collaboration with other scientists.

Dr. Bartom received her PhD from the Watson School of Biological Science at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and performed her post-doctoral research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Medical School.  She joined the faculty of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics in 2015 as part of the innovative Team Scientist track. 

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Penn State Cancer Institute

A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how these compounds work on a molecular level could be an initial step toward finding treatments for people with cancer, they added.

“What we are learning is that food is a double-edge sword — it may promote disease, but it may also help prevent chronic diseases, like colon cancer,” said Jairam K.P. Vanamala, associate professor of food sciences, Penn State. “What we don’t know is, ‘how does this food work on the molecular level?’ This study is a step in that direction.”

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Purdue University Center for Cancer Research

Purdue University researchers have developed a high-throughput method for matching kinases to the proteins they phosphorylate, speeding the ability to identify multiple potential cancer drug targets.

Kinases are proteins that catalyze the transfer of a phosphate group to another protein, a process called phosphorylation that is key to a protein’s function. Many phosphorylated proteins are oncogenes, ones that can trigger the formation of cancer cells.

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Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Research by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey investigators and others shows that the architecture of a cell’s nucleus influences the type and frequency of mutations in cancer genomes beyond the effects already captured by DNA packaging and ordering.  Rutgers Cancer Institute resident research member Subhajyoti De, PhD, who is an assistant professor of pathology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is the senior author of the work published in the October 2, 2017, online issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology (doi: 10.1038/nsmb.3474). Dr. De, who is also a member of the Cancer Institute’s Genomic Instability and Cancer Genetics Program, shares more about the work.

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University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that Dr. Zachary Morris has been awarded $1.25 million as part of the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award.

Morris is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Oncology (DHO) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The prestigious award is given to a small group of exemplary early-career scientists to help them establish their independent research careers. The five-year award will support Morris’s preclinical research on combining radiation and immunotherapies to treat metastatic cancers.

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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 www.bigten.org.