Sept. 1, 2014:

A conversation with Howard Bailey, MD, interim director of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, which is a member of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. Dr. Bailey, a professor of medicine, is a medical oncologist who specializes in gynecologic oncology and cancer prevention. He has led the development of three different state- and nation-wide clinical research networks to expand the access of “cutting edge” treatment for patients.

Q: What kind of impact do you see the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium having on cancer clinical trials?

Without a doubt, the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium will offer accelerated advancement when moving science into groundbreaking clinical trials. The consortium forms a strong collaboration because of the cancer advances each Big Ten institution has already made and the research infrastructures in place at each location. And we know the consortium will leverage and grow the existing relationships among cancer centers in development of clinical trials. This is a win-win for all of these institutions and more importantly, for all cancer patients that will be affected by the novel treatments of tomorrow.

Q: What are some of the strengths UW Carbone Cancer Center brings to the consortium?

wisconsin-featureThe UW Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) has been a national leader for 30 years in preclinical and clinical development of innovative agents for the prevention or therapy of cancer. Specific examples of our impact on cancer therapy and prevention are our leading developmental roles in currently proven effective cancer agents like 5-fluouracil, tamoxifen, interferon, paclitaxel, bortezomib, anti-G2 monoclonal antibody, and axitinib. Our national leadership is further evidenced by the UWCCC being competitively selected by the National Cancer Institute as one of the original centers to develop novel cancer therapy agents (1980s to present) or novel cancer prevention agents (2000s to present). Many of the currently approved cancer therapy or prevention agents were undergoing clinical testing at the UWCCC many years prior to public availability. In addition to our own unique capabilities regarding innovative agent development, we are significant participants in various national organizations for cancer agent development.

Q: What kind of scientific advances happening at UW Carbone Cancer Center are changing the way we diagnose and treat cancer?

Immunologic-based approaches to cancer prevention and therapy continue to hold tremendous promise, recent advances in the treatment of leukemia, melanoma and lung cancer have been based on the premise of “targeted” immunologic therapies or prevention (HPV vaccines). The UWCCC continues to lead in the understanding of immunology and cancer development and progression with continued discovery into the role of immunity and breast cancer risk, DNA-based vaccines for prostate cancer prevention/therapy, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) based T cell therapy of pediatric and adult malignancies.

Additionally UW-Madison’s medical physics program is one of the best in the country and has allowed the UWCCC to be at the forefront of combining expanding technology of imaging with innovative therapies for cancer. Cutting-edge technologies have allowed UWCCC teams to precisely pinpoint how tumors react to target therapies, giving patients the upper hand and a better chance at a healthy future. Throughout its history, the UWCCC has clear examples of success:

  • Tomotherapy – combining linear accelerators with axial computer imaging;
  • Introduction of NM404 – a novel nuclear imaging agent which has unique diagnostic and therapeutic properties specific to malignant cells;
  • Functional tumor imaging – immediately assessing the intra- and extra-cellular effects of an innovative agent
  • PET/CT – a technology that seamlessly helps physicians target tumors by fusing previously distinct pieces of information into one image.

Q: How will being a part of the Big Ten CRC differ from other collaborative efforts of which your center has been a part?

Participating in the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is going to enhance our ability to do clinical research more rapidly and come up with more answers quickly. Additionally, the Big Ten CRC will provide a stream-lined regulatory process which enables us to more easily collaborate with the great institutions and cancer centers of the Big Ten.

The UW Carbone Cancer Center looks forward to its role in the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium and what this will mean for treating patients now and in the years to come.

About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium creates a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to treatment-changing paradigms. 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 student-athletes’ lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness, and competitiveness. The broad-based athletic programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions provide nearly $200 million in direct financial aid to almost 9,500 student-athletes 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 and women’s lacrosse as official sports for the 2014-15 academic year. For more information, visit