Connections - May 2013

Wed, 05/29/2013
Roswellness Connections
A Message from the President
Dr. Donald Trump

Cancer Can’t Win. Because Roswell Park is Here.

Thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff, our generous donors and supporters and our partnership with New York State, Roswell Park Cancer Institute is the region’s number-one cancer care provider and a major economic engine for the Buffalo Niagara community. This is a public trust we take very seriously and one that, for our future success, requires foresight, determination and careful planning.

We know firsthand the changes taking place in the healthcare arena and various forces that impact our ability to develop cures and save the lives of our families, friends and neighbors throughout Western New York, Upstate New York and, in fact, the entire USA.

In recent months, we’ve analyzed those trends and forces, and, if we are to maintain and strengthen our pre-eminent position in the regional and national medical community, we see many important challenges ahead for Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The truth is, we are seeing aggressive encroachment on our traditional geographic market, for both patient-care referrals and for philanthropic support, from cancer care entities headquartered elsewhere. Further, healthcare reform will place continual pressure on clinical revenues, and New York State economic challenges and federal government decisions leading to reductions in support for cancer research and education are all issues that will continue to impact our work.

Our analysis involves one fundamental question: What happens if Roswell Park Cancer Institute goes away? The answer would be a catastrophic scenario – cancer wins.

How is that possible?

Cancer would win because the Buffalo Niagara community would be without a nationally recognized, National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center. There are only 41 of these centers in the country, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute is the only one in New York State outside of Manhattan. You won’t find another center closer than Pittsburgh or Cleveland.

Second, this region would lose Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s provision of world-class, compassionate, innovative patient care. Lost would be the Center for Personalized Medicine, which is bringing genomic analysis to bear in diagnosing, treating and managing disease, and our Center for Immunotherapy, where research teams are developing new, more specific cancer therapies and preventive approaches that enlist the body’s natural defense systems.

Third, our region would miss the annual economic impact of more than $1.5 billion from grants, jobs, scientists, trainees and patients traveling to RPCI from around the country and around the world. Roswell Park over the past decade has added more than 1,000 new jobs to Western New York – and more than 10 startup companies would not exist without RPCI research. All these assets and economic activity they entail will be lost if not for Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

To safeguard our community’s future, to build a stronger Roswell Park for patients and their families, and to prevent cancer from getting the upper hand, we are introducing this spring a special public information program with the theme “Cancer Can’t Win. Because Roswell Park is Here.” You will be seeing this creative theme in all our communication materials, including print, television and outdoor advertising. We are also planning a documentary that will explain the progress we have made in the fight against this disease.

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with this effort and then spread the word that “Cancer Can’t Win. Because Roswell Park is Here.” Make sure your colleagues and friends know what RPCI has meant for this community since 1898, and the level of care, service and research excellence we’re committed to providing for centuries to come.

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

Institute News

Ride Opening Ceremony Returns, Headlined by Grammy Winner Rimes

For the second consecutive year, The Ride For Roswell will kick off with a joyful, inspirational Opening Ceremony featuring an Olympics-style procession, the arrival of the Extra Mile Club Peloton and a concert for Ride participants and cancer survivors. More than 7,500 will gather in the stands of the University at Buffalo football stadium on Friday, June 21, the eve of this year’s Ride, to hear former Major League Baseball player Dave Dravecky’s moving story about the cancer that claimed his pitching arm but gave his life new meaning and see a live performance by Grammy Award-winning singer LeAnn Rimes.

RPCI Researchers Win $3.3M in Competitive Grant Funding from NIH, Other Sources

A dozen individual Roswell Park researchers have received a collective $3.3 million in recent grant support from federal agencies and other organizations. The awards include Dr. Yuesheng Zhang’s $1.7 million National Institutes of Health grant for a project that seeks to explain why men are much more likely than women to develop bladder cancer.

Roswell Park, Cleveland BioLabs Team Up for Entolimod Study

A team of Roswell Park researchers and their collaborators at a Buffalo-based RPCI affiliate, Cleveland BioLabs Inc., (CBLI) published new findings about CBLI’s lead agent, Entolimod (also known as CBLB502). The work, led by RPCI Senior Vice President and CBLI co-founder Andrei Gudkov, PhD, found that the agent shows promise in protecting people from radiation — including therapeutic radiation for cancer — and may prevent liver metastasis.

Donor Dollars at Work

New Hope for a Rare Kidney Cancer

Collecting duct renal carcinoma (CDC) is a rare type of kidney cancer that constitutes less than 2 percent of kidney cancers and has unique clinical, histological and pathological characteristics. This disease is often identified in younger patients, and tends to be very aggressive. Frequently, the disease is discovered with the cancer having metastasized (spread beyond the kidney). Because these tumors are often resistant to common chemotherapies, patients diagnosed with this form of cancer are often given a poor prognosis.

Thanks to generous donations to RPCI — including significant support from East Aurora, NY, resident Martha Townson — Roberto Pili, MD, Professor of Oncology, in collaboration with Carl Morrison, MD, DVM, Director of RPCI’s Center for Personalized Medicine, is leading a study that could provide new treatment strategies for this disease. Using 10 CDC tumor samples and state-of-the-art sequencing technologies, the study seeks to discover genomic markers that specifically identify “driver” genes in CDC in order to improve our ability to treat patients with the disease. Townson’s donation to this project was made in honor of her much-loved and deeply missed late husband, Brian, who lost his battle with the disease in 2012.

“To date, a comprehensive genomic profiling of CDC is lacking, primarily due to its rarity,” said Dr. Pili, a Professor of Oncology in the Department of Medicine. “Increasing our understanding of the underlying genetic changes that play a role in its development could ultimately lead to the identification of novel therapeutics that could potentially be used in the clinic.”

Dr. Pili, a medical oncologist, joined Roswell Park in 2009. In addition to his role on the RPCI faculty, he is Chief of the Genitourinary Section and Leader of the Genitourinary Program. To learn more about Dr. Pili, view his biography here.

Dr. Morrison joined the faculty of Roswell Park in January 2007. In addition to his role as Executive Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine, he is Director of the Pathology Resource Network, Director Molecular Pathology, Associate Professor of Pathology and a program member in Cancer Genetics. To learn more about Dr. Morrison, view his biography here.

In the Community

RPCI Employees Pitch In

On May 3, employees from RPCI volunteered to participate in the Fruit Belt Clean-a-Thon. Their assignment? The community garden, where they raked leaves, pulled weeds, spread topsoil and mulched.

Honors Ceremony for Veterans

Roswell Park’s Veterans Employee Network and Resource Group (ENRG) held an Honors Ceremony for Veterans on May 23 to thank the many servicemen and servicewomen who have fought to protect our freedoms.

The ceremony, held in RPCI's Kaminski Park, included the Maritime Charter School's color guard and the Theresa Quinn Trio, who sang the national anthem. Employees and patients gathered together at the ceremony of remembrance.

In Focus: Encouraging Great Career Choices

On May 20, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion hosted a career development and resume writing workshop at The Belle Center in Buffalo. Twenty-five community members attended the workshop to learn more about health-care careers, career paths at RPCI and effective resume development.

On June 6, The Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Education Department will host freshman and sophomore science majors from Buffalo’s East High School to give them a better understanding of the variety of career choices in science. The agenda for their visit includes a demonstration of the Robotic Surgery Simulator and tours of RPCI’s Donor Center and Pathology Lab.

The Cancer Experts

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

Dr. Shicha Kumar to Popular Science: “Even though this last decade has bought remarkable advancements in our understanding of the genetic basis of the disease, we still have a long way to go.”

Dr. James Mohler to Reuters: “We are right-sizing treatment” for prostate cancer.

Dr. Willie Underwood III to MedPage Today: “We don't want to over-reach the findings and say we should do this for every patient, especially those with large visceral disease on recurrence, or that we should wantonly put every patient who has a PSA recurrence on androgen-deprivation therapy either. But for those people who are in the middle, now we know that we are probably safe giving them intermittent therapy compared to continuous therapy.”

Sponsor Spotlight

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts' Field Marketing Manager,
Alisa LaPlante, addresses the audience during
the press event on May 14.

Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s favorite all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, has been a long-time supporter of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and its research and patient care programs. Recently, Dunkin’ took that support to new heights.

At a press conference held on May 14, Dunkin’ Donuts announced the grand opening of its newest restaurant, located in the lobby of RPCI. As part of the ceremony, the Dunkin’ team also shared their pledge to play an important role in our efforts to find cures and save lives.

In addition to its on-site presence at Roswell Park, Dunkin’ Donuts announced a commitment to a five-year partnership through which Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees will donate up to 1.85 million cups of coffee to aid fundraising efforts for RPCI.

The fundraising initiative provides RPCI the opportunity to generate monetary donations through the popular “Cups for Roswell” program, a fundraising initiative centered on Roswell Park’s annual sale of up to 1,000 Dunkin’ coupon books. Coupon books will be available for purchase leading up to the 2013 holiday season.

“Over a five-year period, we estimate that the ‘Cups for Roswell’ program will raise $750,000 for Roswell,” said Dunkin’ Donuts’ Field Marketing Manager, Alisa LaPlante, during the press event. “Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts will support the many fundraising events and activities organized by the Roswell Park staff with up to $250,000 worth of coffee and baked goods. I speak on behalf of all of us at Dunkin’ Donuts when I say how honored we are to support the critical work that takes place here.”

Funds generated through this partnership will be used to support Phase II of construction of our new Clinical Sciences Center. Funds will also provide seed funding to our scientists and clinicians though Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) grants.

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the leading baked goods and coffee chains in the world, selling 1.5 billion cups of hot and iced coffee and more than 2.4 billion donuts and MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats every year. Today, there are more than 7,000 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in 38 states across the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, and more than 3,000 international restaurants in 32 countries.

To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Events and Promotions

2,000 Volunteers Needed for The Ride For Roswell

The Ride For Roswell needs 2,000 volunteers to help make the event a success. Grab a friend or family member and register to serve lunch, distribute T-shirts, collect funds, check in guests, guide riders along the routes or marshal the rides on Friday, June 21, or Saturday, June 22.

As a volunteer, you’ll also be able to reserve a spot at the Opening Ceremony to see a musical performance by LeAnn Rimes and an inspirational speech by former San Francisco Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky.

Find out which volunteer job matches your interest, skills, experience and physical abilities through our new volunteer system. Volunteers are most needed as route guides, riding marshals, Opening Ceremony ushers and Will Call volunteers.

Sign up to volunteer today!

Call for Submissions by Photographers with Strong Ties to the Region

Calling all local photographers! CEPA Gallery will select one photographic work of art to be donated to Roswell Park as part of the annual Oseroff Memorial Purchase Prize in memory of Dr. Allan R. Oseroff.

Dr. Oseroff, Chief of Dermatology at Roswell Park from 1989 to 2008, was a world-renowned expert in photodynamic therapy and had a life-long interest in photography and the visual arts. The Oseroff Memorial Purchase Prize is designed to enhance the environment for all members of the Roswell Community.

Artists may submit up to three photographic works of art. Learn more about how to enter the competition here.

The Party of the Summer

The second annual Summer Splash to benefit Carly’s Club will take place on Friday, August 9. This party of the summer will feature music, dancing and gourmet cuisine from premier local restaurants.

Register Today for Carly’s Crossing

Registration for Carly’s Crossing is now open – reserve your spot today! This unique open-water swim event on August 11 will bring hundreds of swimmers and spectators together in support of pediatric cancer research and patient support programs at RPCI.

Swimmers raise pledges to participate in one of three course options: a 600-yard non-competitive swim, a 1-mile non-competitive swim or a 1-mile timed competitive swim.

Click here to register for Carly’s Crossing.

Tops 5K/10K Benefits RPCI

Tops Friendly Markets will team up with Roswell Park’s Team Cure Challenge program on Saturday, August 24 for the sixth annual 5K run/family walk and 10K run. Registration for the event is now open, so sign up today.

All proceeds from the race support the cutting-edge research and patient care programs at Roswell Park. Click here to register.

RPCI in the News

Questions About the BRCA Genes Answered — WGRZ-TV Channel 2, 5/15/13
Arts Therapy Has Benefits in CancerMedPage Today, 5/15/13
Angelina Jolie’s Mastectomies Provoke Conversation, Awareness, Worry — The Buffalo News, 5/15/13
Special Spaces: Bedroom Makeovers for Sick Kids — WGRZ-TV Channel 2, 5/10/13

See more RPCI headlines at

You Should Know

Treatment guidelines offer ovarian patients best care

Too many women with ovarian cancer don’t receive the care that could extend their lives, according to findings presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s annual meeting, held recently in Los Angeles, CA. Researchers found that treatment for two-thirds of ovarian cancer patients didn’t follow the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) clinical practice guidelines, and for these patients, their mortality risk was 30 percent greater after 5 years than the women who received the recommended treatment.

Ovarian cancer is a relatively rare cancer, with about 22,000 new diagnoses each year in the US. More than 15,000 women die from the disease annually, in part because most cases are diagnosed at later, challenging-to-treat stages. The NCCN guidelines call for treatment that includes both surgery and chemotherapy. While some patients cannot undergo such treatment due to other health conditions, patients should seek care from hospitals and physicians who care for a high number of ovarian cancer patients — more than 20 cases a year. Low-volume physicians and low-volume care facilities are less likely to adhere to the treatment guidelines.

“As an NCCN participating institution, we are proud to be able to provide patients with evidence-based care,” says Nefertiti duPont, MD, MPH, FACOG, Director of RPCI’s High Risk Ovarian Cancer Screening Clinic. “We are a high-volume center, and all our gynecologic oncologists have expertise in treating ovarian cancer.”

RPCI oncologists serve on the NCCN panels that write the treatment guidelines. Shashikant Lele, MD, serves on the Ovarian Cancer panel and Nefertiti DuPont, MD, serves on the Cervical/Uterine Cancer panel.