Wilmot Cancer Center Update - May 2013

WCC News

Discovery Ball CrowdWilmot Cancer Center Raises More Than $500,000 at Annual Discovery Ball

More than 950 patients, faculty and staff, board members and donors, and the local community attended the 13th annual Discovery Ball on Saturday, May 11, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. This year’s Ball, chaired by Jeffrey and Patrice Pierce, raised $550,000, including $215,000 pledged in cash donations, to support seed-grants for new and innovative cancer research initiatives.

The event is the single largest fundraiser for the Cancer Center, providing vital support for the center’s commitment to providing world class care and research to the greater Rochester community and beyond.

Thank you to the many faculty and staff members that attended this special event!

Wrap Up: Town Hall Meetings in May

Wilmot Cancer Center Director Jonathan Friedberg, M.D., M.Sc., and Hartmut “Hucky” Land, Ph.D., co-director and director of research, hosted two “town hall” meetings for all faculty, staff, and trainees associated with Wilmot on May 9 and May 16, discussing the future direction of clinical and research programs.

If you were unable to attend a Town Hall meeting, you can view the presentation and video of the presentations by clicking here. Please note: this is a secure media site. You will need to use your NetID and password to view the video.

Wilmot Cancer Researchers Awarded $2M to Study Age-Related Care

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) announced a $2 million award to the University of Rochester Medical Center for a three-year study to examine if measuring a cancer patient’s physiological age rather than chronological age improves communication about chemotherapy and other age-related treatment issues.

Principal investigator Supriya Mohile, M.D., M.S., will be working with several collaborators locally and across the country, to look at the risks of chemotherapy in a new light. They will use a geriatric assessment (GA) survey, a tool available to geriatricians to identify frailty, memory problems, chronic diseases, and other disabilities in patients.

The study plans to recruit 500 people aged 70 and older with advanced cancer within the University of Rochester Community Clinical Oncology Program. Prior to making a decision about chemotherapy, all patients will take the GA survey. One group will received a summary of the survey results plus targeted interventions for patients and their families to consider. The other group will not get survey results and will receive standard care. Later, patients and physicians will discuss treatment options. Researchers will audio-record the visit prior to starting chemotherapy, to measure the number of concerns brought up by patients and their families, and how the physician responds. Researchers also will analyze quality of life and satisfaction with care.

The URMC study is among 51 projects totaling $88.5 million approved by PCORI’s board of governors on May 6, following a highly competitive review process that included more than 400 applications.

Laura Calvi Honored by American Society for Clinical Investigation

Researcher Laura Calvi, M.D., was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation, one of the nation's oldest and most respected medical honor societies. The ASCI accepts about 75 of the country’s top scientists into its ranks each year. URMC has 18 members in this elite organization.

Calvi is a former Pew Scholar and recognized for her novel cancer stem cell research. She studies blood stem cells and their relationship to leukemia, the bone marrow microenvironment, and bone-forming osteoblasts. Because cancer patients often lose the ability to quickly reproduce healthy blood cells after aggressive treatment, one important aspect of her work tests new opportunities to replenish normal cells in the bone marrow.

Grad Student Awarded $50,000 Grant

Ryan Dawes, a grad student in the lab of Edward Brown III, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Engineering, won a $50,000 grant from the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester in March. Dawes was one of two local recipients; he is studying the role of stress in the progression of breast cancer in animal models.

Staff Profile: Linda Bell

LInda BellWilmot Cancer Center Staff Profile: Linda Bell - Nurse Leader, Breast Care Center

Employed at URMC since: 1998, after working for 19 years at what was once St. Mary's Hospital

What I love most about my job: I first love the patients. They are so strong! Everyone has a story and I love hearing them. It is a privilege to be an important part of someone’s life as they journey through their treatment. A close second is the people I work with. They are phenomenal! Again, I feel fortunate to help the staff see the positive side of things and guide them to be the best they can be.

If you could choose an occupation other than your current one, what would it be?I can’t imagine doing anything else, but it might be fun to have book or bag store.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy: Being home with my family, reading, knitting, gardening and going to the gym.

Something that people might be surprised to know about me: I am pretty much an open book but some people may not know that I have an affinity for bags.

Last good movie I watched: Silver Linings Playbook—it was good, but the book was better!

Recently Published

Researchers Identify New Pathway, Enhancing Tamoxifen to Tame Aggressive Breast Cancer

Mark Noble, Ph.D. and doctoral student Hsing-Yu Chen studied the molecular mechanism that allows basal-like breast cancer cells to escape the secondary effects of tamoxifen, and discovered that two proteins are critical in this escape.

The research, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, shows how to exploit tamoxifen’s secondary activities so that it might work on more aggressive breast cancer—a promising development for women with basal-like breast cancer, sometimes known as triple-negative disease.

Funding Opportunities

PCORI Seeks Applications for $81 Million in CER

PCORI plans to award up to $81 million in its newly announced round of PCORI Funding Announcements (PFAs) to fund patient-centered comparative effectiveness research (CER). The revised PFAs correspond to their National Priorities for Research and Research Agenda and respond to feedback received during previous funding cycles, including several improvements designed to make it easier for applicants to understand the criteria and features that make our process unique.

PCORI has also made upgrades to their online application system, guidelines and templates.

Required letters of intent (LOIs) from applicants for the latest funding cycle are due June 15 and applications are due August 15. Awards for this cycle will be made in mid-December.

For more information, email PCORI at or visit

NYSTEM Training Grant Call for Applications

A new round of training grant opportunities on the NYSTEM stem cell training grant has been announced to support three graduate students, one postdoctoral fellow starting in July of this year and one postdoctoral fellow starting in December of this year.

The application deadline is Friday, June 7. Click here for more information about the program.

Please direct question and applications to Mark Noble.

Calendar Updates

  • Sunday, June 2
    • Warrior Walk to benefit the Judy DiMarzo Survivorship Program at the Wilmot Cancer Center
    • Walking half-marathon, fun run, 9 mile, 5 mile walk along the Erie Canal or 1 mile at River Campus
    • University of Rochester River Campus - Wilson Commons
    • Start Times:
      • 13.1 mile walk: 8:00am
      • 9 mile walk: 9:15am
      • fun run: 9:15am
      • 5 mile walk: 10:30am
      • 1 mile walk: 12:00pm
    • After the Walk, enjoy:
      • Food from Aladdin’s at Park Point, Alpina Yogurt, Crab Shack with Palmer’s Food Services, Karma Water and Trader Joe’s.
      • Bounce houses, face painting and other kids activities.
      • Live music provided by Ebb Tide and Webster High School’s marching band.
    • To register:
  • Friday, June 28
    • ‚ÄčKeith Ford Lectureship: Craig Moskowitz, clinical director, Division of Hematologic Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    • Noon-1 p.m.
    • Wilmot Cancer Center Conference Room

Advancement News

Crowd at Ballpark for Judy's FundJudy’s Fund Raises More Than $6,500 at Cancer Survivors Night at the Ballpark

More than 1,000 supporters of the Wilmot Cancer Center and Judy’s Fund came out to Cancer Survivors Night at the Ballpark on Friday, May 17 to watch the Rochester Red Wings take on the Durham Bulls. The evening benefited Judy’s Fund, with more than $6,500 raised for the Judy DiMarzo Survivorship Program at Wilmot. Thank you to everyone that came out to the ballpark for this event!

Celebrate Cancer Survivorship at the Warrior Walk on June 2

Please join us on June 2 for the Warrior Walk to support the Judy DiMarzo Survivorship Program. The event begins at 8 a.m. at the University of Rochester River Campus and has a walking half-marathon and fun run, and a 9-, 5- or 1-mile walk.


After the walk, enjoy food from Aladdin’s at Park Point, Alpina Yogurt, Crab Shack, Karma Water and Trader Joe’s. There will also be bounce houses, face painting and other activities for kids. Live music will be provided by Ebb Tide & Webster HS marching band.

Click here to register:

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