Cancer Currents for October 2010

News and Notes from the Director
$12.8 Million Cancer Nanotechnology Award
Graphic: Schematic of an iron-core nanoparticle with an iron oxide layer and a dextran coating

Dartmouth has been designated as a Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNE) with a five-year, $12.8 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. The CCNE designation places Dartmouth among the top centers in cancer nanotechnology research nationwide and takes full advantage of Dartmouth's culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration bringing together the Cancer Center, Thayer School of Engineering, and Dartmouth Medical School to focus on the common goal of using magnetic nanoparticles to destroy malignant tumors. CCNEs are tasked with integrating nanotechnology into basic and applied cancer research in order to provide new solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. More information.

With funding provided by NCI especially for this purpose, the Dartmouth Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence will fund pilot projects that advance cancer investigations related to magnetic hyperthermia treatment of tumors. The purpose of pilot grants is to support preliminary studies that demonstrate novel approaches and provide preliminary data necessary for future grant applications. Possible areas of funding include: development of novel magnetic nanoparticles or coatings for nanoparticles; novel imaging techniques for magnetic nanoparticles; novel local non-invasive temperature measurement techniques applicable to magnetic hyperthermia applications; and novel application of magnetic nanoparticles for therapeutic purposes. For more information, email Robert Gerlach.

New NIH Supplement Grant to Further Develop Small Animal Imaging Resource

The Cancer Center has received an $816,000 supplement grant from NIH to accelerate the development of our Small Animal Imaging Resource by consolidating advanced imaging technology within the Animal Resource Center (ARC). This allows us to capitalize on the opportunity to place a recently NIH-funded small bore 9.4T MRI for animal imaging in the ARC adjacent to the existing Cancer Center Irradiation Shared Resource. The consolidation of other currently dispersed small-animal imaging technologies is anticipated to increase the use of imaging technologies by the Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology Program as well as increase the number of Cancer Center researchers incorporating imaging technology into their research.

$15.4 Million Award to Foster Research Throughout NH

A new network to support biomedical research by faculty and students at undergraduate schools in New Hampshire will be jointly operated by Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) in connection with Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the University of New Hampshire. The $15.4 million award from NIH's National Center for Research Resources' IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) will promote the development, coordination, and sharing of resources and expertise to expand research opportunities for college students and increase the number of competitive research investigators in New Hampshire. More information.

Marie Bakitas Honored with Investigator Award
Photo: Marie Bakitas, DNSc, APRN, AOCN, FAAN

Congratulations to Marie Bakitas, DNSc, APRN, AOCN, FAAN, who was presented with the 2010 Brilliant Future New Investigator Award by the Council for Advancement of Nursing Science at the organization's annual Congress at the end of September. Dr. Bakitas, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and a member of the Cancer Center's Cancer Control Research Program, was honored for her pioneering work in palliative care. More information.

CME Credit for Grand Rounds Webcasts

The Cancer Center now offers two ways to earn CME credit for live webcasts of Grand Rounds, for those who can't be there in person on Thursdays from 12:00 -1:00 p.m. Individuals who watch live lectures on their computers may earn credit by submitting the online evaluation within an hour of the lecture's conclusion. Contact the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Continuing Education at with any questions about this option. Staff at our regional sites can also now earn CME credit for group viewings of live webcasts. Contact Pat Cefaly in Manchester or Lory Grimes in St. Johnsbury for details. To view the live webcast, see our Live and Recorded Grand Rounds and Fellows Lectures page. To ask the speaker a question during the lecture or Q&A, email Webcasts are also archived online for a year and available by podcast at the above link, though credit is not available for these options. For upcoming Cancer Center Grand Rounds, see our Calendar of Events for Cancer Professionals page.

October 27 Symposium to Promote Clinical Research

The Cancer Center is offering a two-hour mini-symposium, titled "A Translational Bridge—How to Incorporate NCCC Shared Resource Technology and Applicational Expertise in Cancer Genomics, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics into Clinical Research Designs," to provide practical information for the clinical cancer researcher. The symposium will outline the high-throughput platforms available to better characterize the molecular/genetic basis of cancer heterogeneity. This program is not structured as a basic science symposium; rather, it will provide background on how to incorporate these technological advances in oncologic molecular biology into clinical and translational design for pilot studies using human tissues. I urge anyone who has an interest in this area to attend this two-hour session on Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in Auditorium G here in Lebanon. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend or for more information.

Cancer Registry Funding

The New Hampshire State Cancer Registry based at DMS has been selected for funding from the National Program of Cancer Registries at the CDC to become a specialized comparative effectiveness research (CER) cancer registry for a 36-month period from Fall 2010 to Fall 2013. The funding totals $1,069,840. For the DHMC Pathology Laboratory, approximately $150,000 is budgeted for, a) software to filter cancer cases from the general pathology database, and b) computer hardware and pathology IT staff time for set-up within the DHMC pathology lab. The start of the process is being delayed for at least one year because of the competing demands associated with DHMC's medical record conversion. Contacts for this project will be Bruce Riddle, PhD, (IT) and Angeline Andrew, PhD.

October 29 Compassionate Care Presentation
Photo: Frank Ostaseski

Treating and caring for a loved one with cancer can be a profound, even spiritual experience. On Oct. 29 in Auditorium G at DHMC, world-renowned meditation teacher and end-of-life expert Frank Ostaseski will discuss the challenges, rewards, and spiritual journey of being a "compassionate companion" to seriously ill loved ones in a special presentation for clinicians, medical students, and the general public. Mr. Ostaseski co-chaired the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Last Acts Spirituality Committee, and he has been a featured speaker at Harvard Medical School, the University of California at Berkeley, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center, among many other institutions.

New Cancer Center Members, Clinicians, and Staff

Please join me in welcoming several new scientists, clinicians, and staff who have joined the Cancer Center.

  • James Moseley, PhD, is a new member of the Cancer Mechanisms Research Program. Dr. Moseley is an assistant professor of Biochemistry studying molecular pathways that connect cell polarity and the cell cycle. He earned his doctorate at Brandeis University and served his post-doctorate fellowship at The Rockefeller Institute. His research article, "Cell division intersects with cell geometry,” was published this year in Cell.
  • Meghan Longacre, PhD, an instructor of Pediatrics and a research coordinator in the Community Health Research Program at the Hood Center for Children and Families, has joined the Cancer Control Research Program. She earned her doctorate in family studies and human development at the University of Arizona, and her interests include the influence of smoking in films on adolescent behavior and environmental and family influences on adolescent obesity.
  • Jay Hull, PhD, also joins the Cancer Control Research Program. Dr. Hull is professor and chairman of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, where he has been on the faculty since 1982. His most recent research article, "Judging a book by its cover: The differential impact of attractiveness on predicting one's acceptance to high or low status social groups,” is in press at the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
  • Carrie Colla, PhD, who joins TDI as well as the Cancer Center, graduated this year from the University of California, Berkeley, with her doctorate in health services and policy analysis. She has special interests in health and labor economics, and her dissertation focused on the effects of the city’s health security and sick leave ordinances on San Francisco employers. An editorial she co-authored, “A Public Option That Works,” was published in the New York Times last year.
  • Cheryl Scalese, RN, BSN, is the new practice manager at Norris Cotton Cancer Center Manchester, and she will replace Pat Cefaly when Pat retires at the end of October. She's already well-known at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester, where she held the position of team leader for the adult Cardiology, Nephrology, and Transplant clinics as well as providing cardiology oversight in Nashua. She was formerly the manager for the Emergency Department at Exeter Hospital.
  • Congratulations to Christa Burke, MSW, who works in pediatric oncology. She is the new Communications chairperson for the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers.
Upcoming Events

Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the Friends are involved in numerous events this month throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Many of the events, such as the BJ's Club Pink Picnic and the Vermont Breast Cancer Conference, are in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. View the full calendar of upcoming events, and plan to get out and participate with Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

—Mark Israel, MD