Connections - July 2013

Thu, 07/25/2013
Roswellness Connections
A Message from the President
Dr. Donald Trump

Saying Thank You in Many Different Ways

Gracias. Merci. Danke. Grazie. Dziekuje. Arigato. Xie xie. Asante.

From Spanish to Swahili, these are just eight different ways we can say “thank you” to the thousands of people, like you, who are helping us this year to find cures and save lives in our fight against cancer.

And in many ways, these simple words are not enough to express our deepest gratitude to the multitudes of donors and volunteers who selflessly support our extensive research programs and state-of-the-art patient care needed so much today by those tackling cancer.

But I will extend a special “kamsa hamnida” to Bradley Wood, who traveled halfway around the globe from South Korea to join his Buffalonian father-in-law in our recent Ride for Roswell.

This is the fourth time Bradley has participated in the Ride, honoring a friend who 13 years ago lost his battle with bone cancer at the age of 16. Bradley was one of more than 8,000 riders who, supported by 2,000 volunteers on a beautiful June weekend, raised more than $3.8 million for cutting-edge cancer research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park.

Our summer events continue this month when many of our young people, including former pediatric cancer patients, and hundreds of Western New Yorkers will swim the Lake Erie waterfront on August 11th in Carly’s Crossing. This unique open-water swim event honors Carly Collard Cottone, the founder of Carly’s Club at RPCI, and will celebrate its 11th year of successfully helping fuel pediatric research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Finally, as the month comes to a close, hundreds will run and walk in the Tops Markets 5K/10K Race in Williamsville, set for August 24.

We are honored that so many people in our community and beyond have chosen to stand behind Roswell Park Cancer Institute and support the important and pioneering work we do.

In every language possible, we say thank you.

-Donald L. Trump, MD, FACP
President & CEO

Institute News

RPCI Once Again Ranked Among Nation’s Top Hospitals for Cancer

Roswell Park has consistently been counted among the top 50 cancer centers in the country. This year, in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for specialty cancer centers, part of the outlet’s annual Top Hospitals package, the Institute moved up 6 spots, to 41, among more than 900 centers evaluated. The list looks at factors such as patient survival, volume of cancer patients treated, nurse staffing, advanced technologies, key patient services and reputation among cancer specialists. In addition to the national ranking in cancer, RPCI was the top-rated hospital overall in the Buffalo area and was designated as “high-performing” in three other specialty areas: gynecology, nephrology and urology.

NeMoyer Named to Roswell Park Board of Directors

The RPCI Board of Directors gained a new member recently: Longtime Orchard Park resident Elyse NeMoyer, a two-time cancer survivor. Appointed to the board by a state senator, NeMoyer is a staff occupational therapist with Aspire of Western New York. “I think it’s important that I’ll be able to bring the patient’s and survivor’s perspective to my role on the board,” notes NeMoyer, a native of White Plains, N.Y.

RPCI-Led Study Advances Understanding of Promising Drug Target

Dr. Katerina Gurova and colleagues, working in collaboration with Cleveland BioLabs Inc. and Incuron LLC, have published new findings about a promising biomarker, the Facilitates Chromatin Transcription (FACT) complex. The researchers found an association between levels of FACT expression and tumor aggressiveness, suggesting that drug therapies targeting FACT may be an effective strategy for treating some particularly hard-to-treat cancers.

Donor Dollars at Work

Exploring New Ways to Better Understand Solid Tumor Microenvironment

The abnormal environment in which tumors grow (low pH, poor oxygenation) can severely reduce the effectiveness of anti-cancer therapies.  While therapies are being developed to "prime" tumors so that they respond better to treatment, there remain very few methods to measure anticipated changes in the tumor microenvironment and help predict the efficacy of treatments.

Donations to RPCI are helping Joseph Spernyak, PhD, Imaging Research Scientist and Co-director of the Preclinical Imaging Resource,  create and refine a set of next-generation magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agents to non-invasively probe the status of the tumor microenvironment, particularly for tumors located deep within the body.  Through active collaboration with Dr. Janet Morrow (Dept of Chemistry, SUNY at Buffalo), Dr. Spernyak and his team are focused on imaging compounds that will report the pH and oxygenation of tumor tissues.

“The ability to better understand the tumor environment and find ways to make it more conducive to therapy would be a considerable step forward in our ability to determine the most effective treatments for patients with solid tumors,” said Dr. Spernyak.

Dr. Spernyak obtained his Ph.D. through Roswell Park and joined the Preclinical Imaging Resource in 2001.  To learn more about him, view his biography here:

In the Community

RPCI Holds Job and Health Fair

This month, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) held the Westside Community Job and Health Fair at The Belle Center. Employees from RPCI’s Human Resources department and Office of Diversity and Inclusion were on hand to discuss current job postings and to accept resumes.

“Continuing our recruitment and outreach efforts within the Hispanic community is an important goal for us,” said David Scott, Director of Diversity and Inclusion. “We are always looking for ways to diversify our applicant pool. The more diverse the pool, the greater the chance of increasing opportunities for populations that are underrepresented at RPCI.”

In addition to the job fair, staff from RPCI’s Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research were available to discuss various types of cancers and the importance of early detection.

The event was co-sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc. and Hispanics United of Buffalo.

RPCI Partners with Teens Living with Cancer Organization

Local teens diagnosed with cancer will now have a new place to turn for support, as Roswell Park has partnered with Rochester-based Teens Living with Cancer (TLC) to bring the program to Buffalo. The program on RPCI’s campus includes the addition of the TLC Center, a room at Roswell Park that provides teens with a space to have fun and support each other through their cancer journeys. To celebrate the room’s unveiling, teens from across Western New York who are fighting cancer will gather alongside friends and family at Hoyt Lake to enjoy an evening of food, music from a fellow TLC member, balloon-dart painting and other fun activities on July 25. Teens Living with Cancer began in Rochester more than 10 years ago and was founded by the Melissa’s Living Legacy Foundation with the mission of helping teens live their best life through all stages of their disease and treatment. Learn more at
The Cancer Experts

Roswell Park faculty members regularly share their expertise with major national media outlets and oncology publications. Some recent examples:

Dr. Maciej Goniewicz to the BBC World Service: “Nicotine is not very dangerous, and it’s very unlikely someone will overdose on the nicotine in electronic cigarettes by inhaling the vapor.”

Dr. Nikhil Khushalani to The Oncologist: “These more mature data [about nivolumab for treatment of advanced melanoma] clearly indicate the high activity and efficacy of this drug and favorable side-effect profile.”

Dr. Meir Wetzler to MedPage Today: “[The next phase of study of a non-chemotherapy treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia] will allow us to administer the medication at home for patients so they will not have to come to the hospital for treatments.”

Sponsor Spotlight

Upstate Pharmacy

Founded in 1988, Upstate Pharmacy’s success is built on a reputation of providing personal service to its customers. That commitment to caring is part of why Upstate Pharmacy has been a supporter of Roswell Park Cancer Institute for a number of years.

The relationship began with a paving stone. “We bought bricks that grace the hospital entrance,” said Ted Kuzniarek, co-owner of Upstate Pharmacy. “Then, when the opportunity to be part of the construction of RPCI’s new outside garden and park was presented, we agreed to finance the fountain — it was our first big gift.”

This year, Upstate Pharmacy has supported a wide variety of events and programs. They are serving as presenting sponsor of our Summer Splash and Carly’s Crossing weekend, two fundraisers that will be held on August 9 and 11 at Gallagher Beach, to benefit pediatric cancer research and support programs through Carly’s Club at Roswell Park. Upstate Pharmacy also continued their long-time support of our Paint Box Project pediatric art program. In addition, they have provided funds for patient-support programs — the hospitality room and coffee cart, patient and family advisory council support, the purchase of health and cancer cookbooks, and they sponsored a high school student’s participation in our popular summer research internship program.

Upstate Pharmacy also generously donated $135,000 to the “Making Rooms to Save Lives” campaign for our new Clinical Sciences Center. 

Upstate Pharmacy is a pharmacy service that delivers cancer medications for oncology patients directly to their homes. They also provide medications and supplies to residential programs for people with developmental disabilities and emotional challenges throughout the Buffalo and Rochester regions. Learn more about Upstate Pharmacy at their website,

Events and Promotions

Summer Splash

Join us on Friday, August 9, for the party of the summer! Come dressed in your splashiest blue to match this year’s theme, “Into the Deep Blue,” and enjoy an open bar all night, gourmet cuisine from Buffalo’s premier restaurants, music, dancing and the chance to win great prizes, including a new car!

All proceeds from the event will benefit Carly’s Club and the patient-care programs and pediatric cancer research at Roswell Park. Visit to get tickets and learn more.

Carly's Crossing

The 11th annual Carly’s Crossing will take place on Sunday, August 11, at Gallagher Beach on Buffalo’s waterfront. Carly’s Crossing is a unique open-water swim event that brings hundreds of swimmers and spectators each year to Buffalo’s waterfront in support of pediatric cancer research and patient-support programs through Carly’s Club at Roswell Park.

Swimmers can choose from a 1-mile timed course or a 1-mile or 600-yard non-competitive course. Register, learn more or donate to swimmers at


Tops Friendly Markets is once again teaming up with the Team Cure Challenge Program and Roswell Park on Saturday, August 24, for the Tops 5K Run/Family Walk and 10K Run.

To register and learn more about the event, click here.

RPCI in the News

Amid Financial Challenges, Roswell Park Seeks New Business Model  — The Buffalo News, 7/22/13
4 Ways Nanotechnology Will Revolutionize MedicineNanotechnology Now, 7/17/13
Testing Melanoma Vaccine at RoswellWBFO-FM 88.7, 7/8/13
New Vaccine Shows Promise for Advanced Melanoma TreatmentVaccine News, 7/3/13
URMC Partners With Roswell Park Cancer Institute — YNN Rochester, 6/28/13

See more RPCI headlines at

You Should Know

Perhaps a Spoonful of Sugar Would Help

When it comes to taking their medicine, too many Americans don’t follow their doctor’s orders, according to a survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association. The survey queried more than 1,000 adults over age 40 who received a prescription for a chronic medical condition. Participants were asked nine questions, such as whether they have, in the past year, failed to fill a prescription; neglected to refill a prescription; skipped a dose; took a higher or lower dose than prescribed; stopped a medication early; took an old medication for a new problem without seeing their doctor; took medication prescribed for someone else; or forgot whether they’d taken their medication.

On average, patients were given a C+ regarding their compliance, but overall, one-third received a D or F. Several factors affected compliance, such as the degree of personal connection to the patient’s pharmacist or pharmacy; medication affordability; health-care continuity; whether the patients viewed compliance as importance; how well-informed patients felt about their health; and the drugs’ side effects.

“Patients take approximately 50 percent of the medications prescribed for them,” says RPCI’s Martin Mahoney, MD, PhD, Professor of Oncology, Department of Health Behavior and Medicine, “resulting in suboptimal managing of chronic conditions, and additional office visits and hospital stays.” Don’t skip your medicine. Instead, ask your physician more about it. Understanding why the drug was prescribed may aid compliance.