May 2014

WCI News

Research campaign gets a major boost at the Discovery Ball


At our Discovery Ball on May 10, the Wilmot family and the James P. Wilmot Foundation announced a $4 million gift to support cancer research at UR Medicine.

It was the lead gift for our new $30 million research campaign, which was announced earlier this month with the launch of Wilmot Cancer Institute. The gift will fund the recruitment of a senior researcher in cancer genomics and endow a genomics professorship.

An additional $868,325 was raised during the Discovery Ball for our research initiatives.

The Discovery Ball is the single largest fundraiser for Wilmot Cancer Institute, providing vital support for the center's commitment to providing world class care and research to the greater Rochester community and beyond.

This year, the event provided an opportunity to share more about the spirit behind the creation of Wilmot Cancer Institute and the promise that it holds for our future. You can watch the Voices video and a video from the Wilmot family that we showed during the program.

More than 900 patients, faculty, staff, board members, donors and other supporters attended the ball, which was chaired by Dick and Marianne Bell. See photos from the event on the Wilmot Cancer Institute Facebook page.

Thank you to the faculty and staff who attended!

Walk — or run — with us on June 1

Join your colleagues, survivors and families on Sunday, June 1, for the second annual Warrior Walk on the University of Rochester River Campus. The Warrior Walk celebrates cancer survivorship, and all funds raised at the event benefit the Judy DiMarzo Cancer Survivorship Program at Wilmot Cancer Institute.

Held on National Cancer Survivors Day, the Warrior Walk features a 1-mile walk, a 6.6-mile walk, and a walking half-marathon and fun run. Start times for each event vary, and the event will conclude with a Walk Celebration beginning at 12:45 p.m. in the Wilson Quadrangle. Lunch and live entertainment will follow.

We lead the region in providing support for cancer survivors, with a goal of helping them live their healthiest, fullest lives after cancer treatment. Our survivorship program builds up decades of strength in survivorship research. Your participation in our event signals our support for our community's survivors.

Sign up today!

In case you missed it...

A new 60-second Wilmot Cancer Institute commercial began airing on local TV stations this month. It features four Wilmot patients — Gerald Kressman, Megan Mackenzie, Georgianna Zicari and our own Catherine Thomas.

Recently Published

Gene Discovery Links Cancer Cell 'Recycling' System to Potential New Therapy

Gene Discovery A team of researchers led by Hartmut "Hucky" Land, Ph.D., and Aram F. Hezel, M.D. have discovered a gene with a critical link to pancreatic cancer, and further investigation in mice shows that by blocking the gene's most important function, researchers can slow the disease and extend survival.

Published online by Cell Reports, the finding offers a potential new route to intrude on a cancer that usually strikes quickly, has been stubbornly resistant to targeted therapies, and has a low survival rate. Most recent improvements in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, in fact, are the result of using different combinations of older chemotherapy drugs.


Advancement News

Dado Fashion Show

Dado Fashion Show On May 6, Dado Boutique hosted a sold-out Spring 2014 Fashion Show at Restaurant Good Luck. The show raised $14,000 for Wilmot Cancer Institute.

The boutique, owned by Dalida "Dado" Atallah, has hosted fashion shows to benefit Wilmot for three years. The shows are among Rochester's biggest fashion events, and they feature customers as their runway models.

Steel Lillies 5K
Steel Lillies 5K Steel Lillies is hosting its third annual 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun walk on June 8 in Webster. Steel Lillies is an organization created in memory of Tiffany Lill to raise awareness and funds for sarcoma and cancer research.

The event begins at 9:30 a.m. at Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive. Registration is $30 for adults and $15 for students. Funds raised at this event will support sarcoma research at Wilmot Cancer Institute. To register or to learn more, go to

Staff Profile

Jianwen Que, B.Med., Ph.D.

Wilmot Cancer Center Staff Profile: Jianwen Que, B.Med., Ph.D.

Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Genetics

Employed at URMC since: October 2010

What I do: Our lab is interested in how stem cells in the esophagus respond to oncogenic mutations and how they are involved in cancer initiation, progression and dissemination. We found that stem cell factor Sox2 is oncogenic and promotes malignant transformation of stem cells in cooperation with inflammatory environment. We now focus on how we can perturb these disease processes at the very early stage with drugs and genetic approaches.

What I love most about my job: The things that we are doing offer the possibility to help people with esophageal cancer and other diseases.

If you could choose an occupation other than your current one, what would it be? I would like to go back to practice medicine. I was a trained doctor before.

When I'm not at work, I enjoy: Playing with my 18-month-old baby. From her, I can see the reflection of myself at that very young age, and I wish to build a person out of her that is better than myself. I also enjoy playing cards and watching movies.

Something that people might be surprised to know about me: I was a psychiatrist before moving to the basic research field. I treated patients with all sorts of mental health problems.

Last good movie I watched: I just watched Taken (2008) again. I love that movie. It has great plots and a very good and logical flow of the story. The most important of all is that it tells a story of how a parent went all out using his unique skill set to rescue his abducted teenage daughter.



  • Sunday, June 1
  • Friday, June 20
    • Integrative Oncology Lecture Series: Holistic Nursing
    • 5:30-7 p.m. in the Luellen Patient Resource Room
    • Free and open to the public
    • For details or to register, contact Integrative Oncology Coordinator Susan Nelson.
  • Monday, Aug. 18
    • Survivors Night with the Rochester Red Wings
    • Game starts at 7:05 p.m. at Frontier Field, 1 Morrie Silver Way
    • For tickets and more information, contact Derek Swanson.