I am pleased to announce that Tara will join Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital on August 1st as Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology and Medical Director of Adult Survivorship. Tara's clinical and research focus on palliative care and cancer survivorship will bring new expertise to Yale Cancer Center and help to strengthen our outreach and care to cancer survivors through the Connecticut Challenge Survivorship Clinic.
Michelle Wilson Hired to Manage Clinical Operations
Please welcome Michelle Wilson to Yale Cancer Center. She recently joined the staff as Associate Director for Clinical Operations and will oversee the day-to-day functions of the outpatient cancer programs in Smilow Cancer Hospital. Her primary responsibilities include ensuring that the clinics run smoothly and creating a patient-centered infrastructure for outpatient cancer treatment.
Michelle has an extensive background in healthcare administration. Most recently, she served as practice administrator for the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Colorado and prior to that she was a regional manager for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Michelle can be reached by email or phone at 200-4714.
Research in the News
"Cheater" Cells May Spur Cancer Growth
A new study from the Yale School of Medicine reveals a biological struggle within tissue that allows some damaged cells to survive and proliferate, eventually leading to cancer. The study, led by Yale Cancer Center member Ruslan Medzhitov, is published in the online edition of
Cell Stem Cell
It is known that cells damaged by radiation exposure and other cancer-causing factors activate the tumor suppressor protein called p53, which orchestrates DNA damage repair. Less is known, however, about long-term consequences of DNA damage in individual cells. The Yale team discovered that stem and progenitor cells in the blood can "remember" for many months whether they had DNA damage, and engage in a kind of competition with each other for survival.
Floors 14 and 15 of Smilow are nearing completion as the final touches are being worked on. On Thursday of this week, floors 11 and 12 were ready for occupancy. Floor 14 will follow on April 6th, and floor 15 on April 27th. Following these transitions only a few areas remain, including the boutique, the Family Resource Center, and the Tumor Board Conference Room where some small items and installations remain.
The Prostate Cancer Research Program
has released new funding opportunities for 2010. Grants are available for basic science, population sciences, training, health disparities, and clinical research.
Research Program Review
Signal Transduction Research Program
Cancer is characterized by excessive cell division and reduced cellular suicide. Normally, these processes are regulated by hormones that influence cell behaviors by binding to receptors. The receptors in turn activate a cascade of signaling processes inside cells. In cancers, components of these systems can be locked into an active state by mutations that turn on the receptors or components of the signaling systems. To treat these cancers, therapies can be directed towards activated receptors or signaling components. Such therapies include most of the "Next Generation" cancer drugs. Examples include targeting the EGF receptor with Tarceva in a lung cancer with active EGF receptor, targeting the receptor HER2 in HER2-driven breast cancers with Herceptin, and targeting the signaling proteins ABL and B-RAF with other drugs.
Laboratories in the Signal Transduction Research Program are investigating how cellular signaling systems regulate cancer stem cells, communication of cancer cells with their tissue environment, and how they affect cancer invasion and survival of metastatic cells in foreign tissues. This knowledge can then be used to identify new drug targets, and to better understand how to intervene in the cancer pathways. An important Program goal for the coming year is development of the best methods for matching patients with the appropriate cancer drugs for "personalized medicine." Each cancer develops in its own idiosyncratic manner, so that different signaling pathways are dysregulated in each cancer. The challenge is to match patients to the drugs that will have the greatest impact on the pathways affected in their own disease. This includes understanding how to harness the explosion of information on genetic aberrations in tumor samples to identify the core processes driving each cancer, and elucidation of common mechanisms that promote resistance to the drugs that attack these processes.