Leadership Notes - December 2012
While 2012 has been an exciting year for the Wilmot Cancer Center for a number of reasons, one of the more significant developments has been our deepening relationship with our colleagues at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The seeds of collaboration that were planted in late 2010 have helped develop a strong and growing partnership that reached a new level with our first joint symposium/collaborative science workshop held just last month.
The event, held at the University of Rochester Alumni Center, signaled an important step forward in a collaborative venture that could have an enormous impact on cancer care and research in western New York.
Leaders at Wilmot and Roswell began talking in 2010 about a vision of working more collaboratively and becoming a consortium that could be a national leader in cancer care and research and a regional scientific powerhouse able to attract more expertise, larger research studies, and increased federal funding. Within a year, funding was secured to support an initial round of eight seed grants of $100,000 each for eight teams that included researchers from each institution. In early 2012, eight more seeds grants were awarded to eight new teams of researchers. As we all recognize, these seed grants are extremely important given increased competition for diminishing federal sources of funding.
The symposium provided an opportunity for the first eight teams of researchers to present a progress report on their work to date and address questions and comments from the dozens of clinicians and scientists in the audience. Topics ranged from Understanding the Bone Marrow Microenvironment in Human Hematological Malignancies to a Lymphoma Translational Research Infrastructure. Those teams that received grants in the second round of funding also presented posters outlining the goals and scope of their projects. My co-director, Hucky Land, provides a more in-depth summary of the presentations elsewhere in this issue.
Perhaps more importantly, the day provided the opportunity for casual, informal discussion and exchange of ideas that could be potentially transformative in nature. I know that informal feedback from participants from both institutions indicated that it was a highly successful day. I’d like to thank all of the URMC physicians and scientists who participated in the symposium for their enthusiasm and contribution to a great event. Our hope and expectation is that this relationship will continue to grow and evolve into one that benefits both institutions and, more importantly, further elevates the quality of cancer care and research provided to patients in both communities.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!