Cancer Currents for April 2012

News and Notes from the Director
Photo: Mark Israel, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Key to the concept and success of a Comprehensive Cancer Center are the core facilities, personnel, and resources that are available to support the various research enterprises. I want to remind you of two areas where we can and do excel—but only when people take advantage of the opportunities.

Our Shared Resources, headed by Craig Tomlinson and Steve Bobin, exist for the sole purpose of helping investigators solve their questions with access to state-of-the-art technology that would only be available to a project through reliance on a centralized core service dedicated to that role. Next week, on March 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Rubin Building, all of the services in our Shared Resources group will be on display. I urge you to take the time to talk with the directors of the services about what's new and how their expertise and technology may be able to support your work. From the de novo sequencing to the novel biostatistical methods, our Shared Resources provide outstanding service. In fact, 29 percent of the projects utilizing our Shared Resources deep sequencing are from outside of Dartmouth.

Likewise, our Cancer Center director of communications Donna Dubuc and her team are here to spread the word about the excellence of our clinical care and scientific discoveries. The team for public relations and communications works most effectively when clinicians and investigators notify Donna when they have a story to tell. As Donna says, "Let us know before the story is published in a journal, either online or in print, and we can make sure it gets regional and national recognition. Don't be shy!"

Here are just two recent success stories:

  • Jim Sargent, MD, let Donna know of upcoming publications reporting his research on the impact of alcohol use in films on teenage behavior. With his advance notice, Donna and her team created a press release, video clips, photos, and background material. That useful press kit and Jim's exciting findings were fodder for many pick-ups by traditional media including NPR and US News & World Report. Googling "James Sargent," "alcohol," and "teens" produces more than 775,000 hits, largely because of our communications team's spreading the word.
  • When Sujal Shah, MD, joined the team at NCCC Manchester, our communications coordinator Steve Bjerklie wrote a profile of Sujal, focusing on his experiences in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. The story piqued the interest of leadership at Catholic Medical Center (CMC), who passed it along to CMC staff and colleagues. Though Sujal is a newcomer in Manchester, he's received great name recognition and met many people as a result of the story, all attributable to word of mouth and the Internet.

Different kinds of stories are best told in different ways. Newspapers and magazines aren't always best; sometimes Facebook or even Twitter is better. The communications team at the Cancer Center is experienced with many different platforms, and they work closely with researchers and clinicians to determine the right vehicle for reporting on stories.

Each bit of publicity the Cancer Center receives, whether it's for intriguing new research or an innovative cancer treatment or a profile of one of our members, is like a pixel contributing to an increasingly detailed picture for the public, for political and economic leaders, and for patients and families. Every story informs someone; every story answers a question for somebody; every story can help reduce someone's concern or dispel a myth. In these challenging economic and political times, the more accessible a complete picture of the Cancer Center we provide to the communities we serve locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, the better positioned the Cancer Center is to benefit from the public's confidence.

Mark Israel, Director

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) logo
The Cancer Center at AACR

The Cancer Center was well represented at this year's American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, held March 31–April 4 in Chicago. Congratulations to all for such a great showing for the Cancer Center.

Presentations by Cancer Center researchers included:

  • Michael Spinella, Pinping Mao: "The Novel Protein Kinase STK17A Is a Direct p53 Target Gene that Mediates Response to Genotoxic and Nutritional Stress in a Cancer Cell Context-Dependent Manner"
  • Karen Liby: "Practical Applications of Combinations for Prevention: Synergy via Different Mechanisms"
  • Alexander Busch, Sarah Freemantle: "Tankyrase Inhibition Represses Wnt Signaling and Lung Cancer Growth"

Posters presented at AACR by Cancer Center researchers included:

  • Alexey Danilov: "p53 Homologue p63 Trans-Activates Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Receptor and 14-3-3s and thus Promotes Tumorigenesis and Chemoresistance in Pancreatic Cancer"
  • Michael Funaro, Barjor Gimi: "Immunoprotected, Microencapsulated Bacterial Cytosine Deaminase Mediated Conversion of 5-Fluorocytosine to 5-Fluorouracil"
  • Ashley Laughney, Brian Pogue: "Spectroscopy Imaging Platform Differentiates Pathology Diagnoses in Breast Surgical Specimens"
  • Devin Koestler, Carmen Marsit: "Immune Biology Drives Cancer Specific Methylation Profiles in Blood"
  • Samuel Bakhoum, Duane Compton: "Examining the Selective Contribution of Chromosomal Instability to Tumor Evolution and Prognosis"
  • Ruth Thompson, Alan Eastman: "The Mre11 Nuclease is Critical for Sensitivity of Cells to Chk1 Inhibition"
  • Tian Ma, Ethan Dmitrovsky: "Repression of Transcriptional Activity by the Retinoid Target Gene GOS2"
Computer Encryption

With regard to the requirement for the Cancer Center to assure Protected Health Information (PHI) security, NCCC Computing Services has been working actively with Cancer Center faculty and staff on the RUBIN4 domain to encrypt their computers, laptops, and portable devices. If you have not been contacted by Computing Services, even if you are not on the RUBIN4 domain, please email to schedule encryption of your devices.

There are several laws and policies that require us to encrypt devices, such as:

  • HIPAA-HITECH: Saving patient health information to a personal computer that is unmanaged and unencrypted exposes the organization to risk of a data breach. If there is a major data breach of electronic patient information, we would be obliged to disclose that breach to the patients affected, as well as local media and the Attorney General, for potential prosecution. If the device was encrypted, disclosure is not required.
  • Pending Dartmouth Information Security Controls (DISC) [6.25]: Confidential data may not be downloaded to local disk drives (e.g., disk drives on a personal computing device, or printer/fax/copier/scanner) or removable media unless the drives/media are protected by approved encryption. [Level 2 and 3 data: PHI, FERPA, certain academic research data, budget/compensation data, etc.]

Use of encryption does not slow your computer or hinder your work in any way and will ensure complete protection of confidential and protected health information if your device is lost or stolen.

This responsibility is our shared obligation to protect patient as well as institutional data.

CDC Special Interest Project Applications
Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth (PRCD) logo

The Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth (PRCD) is pleased to announce the 2012 CDC Special Interest Project (SIP) Request for Applications. SIPs vary in topic area, funding, and length. While the process to receive an award is competitive, only Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) may apply. There are 37 PRCs nationally, making the odds of receiving an award higher than the usual external grant mechanisms.

As we are only able to submit one proposal per SIP topic, you must contact the Dartmouth PRC office by March 30 if you are interested in submitting an application. Contact Lora Nielsen, PRCD Project Manager, at or (603) 650-6671.

A CDC letter of intent is due April 16. Final proposals are due May 16 to CDC and no later than
May 4 to The Dartmouth Institute (TDI)/PRC at Dartmouth. The start date is September 30, 2012.

Awards issued under this Funding Opportunity Announcement are contingent on the availability of funds and submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. We hope you will seriously consider applying for one of these awards. In the past we helped to successfully secure SIPs for the Cancer Center and the University of Vermont—we hope this year even more researchers take advantage of this unique opportunity.

For more information about the PRCD please visit their website. For more information about the CDC PRC program please visit:

Chocolate chip cookie
Cookie Hour to Welcome New Faces

Next Tuesday, March 27, please join us at 3 p.m. in the Atrium on the 6th floor as the Cancer Center hosts a "Cookie Hour" to welcome the Cancer Center's newest members: Brock Christensen, PhD; Jennifer Doherty, MS, PhD; Todd Miller, PhD; Carmen Marsit, PhD; and David Mullins, PhD.

Come and introduce yourself and enjoy a great cookie or two. We look forward to seeing you.

Home page of
Dartmouth Computing Provides Free Access

Want to know more about the iPhone or iCloud? Or are you a PhotoShop wizard who'd like to learn the new tricks of a just-released Adobe upgrade? Dartmouth Computing Services is happy to announce that it will provide access for all Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff. provides effective online training for several topics at a variety of levels. It's a terrific program for gaining state-of-the-art proficiency for the many software programs and types of digital hardware we routinely use.

When you're ready to get started, log in with your Dartmouth username and password at

Saving the Day in St. J
Entrance to Norris Cotton Cancer Center North in St. Johnsbury, VT

The working relationship the Cancer Center has with one of its important technology suppliers, Varian Oncology Systems, came into crucial play a few months ago. David Gladstone, MD, chief physicist at DHMC, emailed Varian to describe a desperate situation for a patient at the Cancer Center's St. Johnsbury, VT, facility: the patient had a tumor wrapped around her lung. But Varian had recently developed a capability called "Gated RapidArc" that makes it possible to use RapidArc when treating lung tumors that move. Gated RapidArc is in use at DHMC in Lebanon, but it hadn't been used before in St. J. Varian sent an engineer to the St. J Cancer Center, got the necessary licensing, and worked with David as he prepared the patient for treatment. Within a couple of days the patient was successfully treated. Relationships with suppliers are business relationships, but they can also be life-saving ones as well, as David's experience with Varian and his patient demonstrates.

Upcoming Events to Note
Cancer Center Life Sciences Shared Resource Fair, March 28

The Norris Cotton Cancer Center Life Sciences Shared Resource Fair will highlight inhouse expertise and promote access to high-end equipment and processes through the Shared Resources available to Cancer Center and Dartmouth investigators. Wednesday, March 28, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.


11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Auditorium E)

Seminar: "The Essential Role of Scientists in Shaping Science Policy"
Dr. Mark Lively
Professor of Biochemistry
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Former President of FASEB
Member NIH Council of Councils

12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Rubin 6 Atrium)

Shared Resources Poster Session and iPad Drawing
Meet the Shared Resources directors and managers, learn about new technology, and discuss your current and future technology requirements.

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Fuller Board Room)

Workshop: "NCBI Boot Camp"
Dr. Janet Murray
Outreach Director
Vermont Genetics Network
University of Vermont
Bring a laptop and learn about the new tools available on the National Center for Biological Information website: BLAST, PubMed, SNP, and more.

For more information, contact Steve Bobin at (603) 653-6189 or

Colorectal cancer screening expo
Colorectal Cancer Screening Expo, March 30

Join Lynn Butterly, MD, and staff in the Fuller Board Room on the South Mall at DHMC on March 30 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to find out the latest information about colorectal cancer screening and associated risks.

Nashua Symphony Cancer Center Benefit, April 14
Conductor of Nashua Symphony

A great way to celebrate spring is with an evening at the symphony in support of the Cancer Center in the area of our newest location in Nashua, NH. Join us Saturday, April 14, at 8:00 p.m. The program will include Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite No. 1," Tchaikovsky's "Fourth Symphony," and Stacy Garrop's "Thunderwalker."

Concert tickets with a special admission price of $22.00 are available at or by calling (603) 595-9156. Use code NCCC41412 when ordering. Questions can be directed to the Friends' Christine Telge at (603) 703-6955.

Continuing Medical Education for Referring Providers, May 5

On Saturday, May 5, the Cancer Center will host referring providers from throughout New Hampshire and Vermont for a day of continuing medical education and to introduce these doctors to the many programs we have here at the Cancer Center. Eight of our members will be presenting talks on the latest research in the field and the latest treatments available. Contact Linda Kennedy at for more information.

Total Image Race, May 5
Total Image Road Race 5K / 10K logo

Christine Lewis, a former Cancer Center patient, will once again host her "Total Image" 5K/10K run in a few weeks. The road race will start on Saturday, May 5, at 10 a.m. at Jillian's Billiards Club in Manchester (50 Phillippe Cote St.). Register online before May 4 at Cost is $20 for 5K and $30 for 10K, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Participants will want to stick around for the post-race celebration, sponsored by Jillian's, including live entertainment, food, and raffles.

Free Self-Defense Class for Women: April 23, April 25, April 30, May 7
Woman defending herself against male attacker

The Lebanon Police Department is offering a self-defense class to interested women. The course, Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Basic, is the largest women's self-defense program in the country. It offers no-nonsense, practical techniques that women of all ages and abilities can participate in. The course is designed to give the participants realistic and dynamic hands-on training. The course is taught by certified RAD instructors Lieutenant Scott Rathburn, Corporal Gerald Brown, and Officer Peter Begin from the Lebanon Police Department. There is no cost for the program and class size will be limited to 24. It is encouraged that you be able to attend all four of the basic RAD classes. The classes are 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Hanover Street School on the dates noted above.

If you would like to participate in this class or would like further information please contact Beth Beraldi at or at (603) 448-8800. You can also e-mail Corporal Brown at and visit RAD's website at for further information.