Connections - November 2013

Wed, 11/27/2013
Roswellness Connections
A Message from the President

Dr. Donald Trump

Our Vision for Regional Healthcare Excellence

In academics, in the nonprofit sector, in healthcare and even in the business world, collaboration and joint planning are the name of the game today. And for good reason — constituents in all these arenas benefit most when key players work together to forecast, shape and implement their plans for the future. When we widen our strategic planning so that it takes into account the directions our key partners are heading, we get the clearest view of the challenges and opportunities we face as a region so that we can tailor those plans for maximum benefit of the institutions and the communities they serve. 

With those realities in mind, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and a longtime collaborator, the University at Buffalo (UB), in conjunction with the John R. Oishei Foundation, retained an independent consultant who was asked to assess opportunities for collaboration between the two institutions. This week, we heard that consultant’s initial findings, which are summarized in the joint statement, issued November 25 by RPCI and UB:

Today at the invitation of the Oishei Foundation, an independent consultant and the New York State Commissioner of Health met with the leadership of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the University at Buffalo on how best to advance the missions of the two institutions through closer collaboration. At the end of the half-day discussion, it became clear that a merger was neither necessary nor desirable.

UB and RPCI have been longtime academic partners in educational, research and clinical activities and it was agreed that these collaborations as independent partners should continue and be expanded.

It also became evident today that there is a larger and exciting opportunity to strengthen healthcare in Western New York by enhancing collaborations and strategic alignments in education, research and clinical care among the region’s academic and healthcare institutions. All parties strongly endorsed a shared vision to transform the Buffalo region into a nationally and internationally recognized destination of healthcare excellence that will attract students, researchers and people from all over the world who seek high quality affordable and innovative treatment.

Therefore, our next steps will be to invite all of our region’s healthcare partners to join in the planning for this extraordinary vision that will create a world-class Academic Health Center to serve the future needs of our community.

You’re likely aware that UB and RPCI have been working together for decades to educate and train oncologists, researchers and nurses. We now hope to add more partners into the mix so that we can seize opportunities not only within oncology but beyond and aid in developing a truly comprehensive healthcare network – including a robust, academic health center supported by the entire community.

Our community will get there by:

·      Building centers of excellence in areas of healthcare besides cancer

·      Expanding our shared market beyond its existing boundaries

·      Developing more clinical research opportunities

·      Becoming a destination for innovative approaches to clinical care, treatment, and research

·      Creating operational efficiencies, and

·      Expanding further our education programs.

Critically, this is a direction that will enhance the national standing of both UB and RPCI. Roswell Park will remain a freestanding cancer center of excellence, a point whose importance cannot be overestimated at this juncture, as RPCI waits to hear the outcome of its application for renewal of its funding and Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — a process I wrote about a few months ago in this space.

Buffalo is uniquely positioned to become a destination for health care, with its strong healthcare institutions, one of just 41 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and a nationally ranked Association of American Universities research university with an excellent medical school — which together attract more than $150 million in research funding annually from the National Institutes of Health.

This is a plan for the future that plays to each organization’s strengths at the same time that it conscientiously and methodically assesses the region’s healthcare needs. We’re confident that we’re on a path to improving healthcare education, delivery of care, and both the volume and quality of research conducted on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

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

Institute News

Pharmacology Researcher Singled Out for ‘Provocative Questions’ Funding

David W. Goodrich, PhD, a Professor of Oncology in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has received a two-year, $406,247 award through the National Cancer Institute’s Provocative Questions funding program. These highly sought-after awards give scientists the resources to pursue longstanding questions about cancer biology and control. Dr. Goodrich will look at the role the order of mutations plays in development and recurrence of cancer. 

Team Makes Key New Findings on How Melanoma Spreads

A team led by Mikhail A. Nikiforov, PhD, Professor of Oncology and researcher in the Department of Cell Stress Biology, has discovered a key process that allows melanomas — one of the most aggressive metastatic cancers, and one for which no curative therapy exists — to grow and spread. They reported these findings in a recent issue of the journal Cell Reports.

Roswell Park Researchers Receive Nearly $7M in Grants

Eight RPCI faculty members and a graduate student in immunology have collectively received more than $6.7 million in grant funding from federal agencies and the American Surgical Association Foundation. Three of the grants, totaling more than $3.9 million, were awarded to Kelvin P. Lee, MD, Chair of the Department of Immunology, supporting his team’s studies of the mechanisms behind immune responses, treatments for severe allergic reactions to peanuts, and the proliferation of multiple myeloma cells.

Donor Dollars at Work

Predicting Treatment Response for Advanced Stage Prostate Cancer

Nearly one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men, and more than 238,500 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year alone.

The average prostate cancer is not just one, but five to seven tumors within the prostate. It is unknown which of the five or more tumors is the most aggressive and leads to the cancer’s spread around the body. It is also not currently possible to predict whether patients will respond to hormonal therapy. 

Thanks to donations to RPCI, James Mohler, MD, Associate Director and Senior-Vice President for Translational Research, Chair of the Department of Urology and Professor of Oncology, is working with his team to see if they can foretell the hormonal response of prostate cancer.  Dr. Mohler and his team including Hannalore Heemers, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology, and Gissou Azabdaftari, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology, hope to gain this knowledge through sampling tumors in the prostate.

“The sophisticated molecular tests in our study will show us how to properly sample the tumor or tumors within the prostate that can be used to predict response to treatment. We hope this test will help us treat men with advanced prostate cancer, who currently are lacking a solution such as this,” said Dr. Mohler.

Dr. Mohler earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia and competed residency training in Surgery and Urology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center and a research fellowship in Urologic Oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. To learn more about him, view his biography here:

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 Washington Times: “One of the problems and challenges with the regulation (of e-cigarettes) will be how to not overregulate the product. We want the regulation to provide safer, better products, and this is a huge challenge.”

Dr. Shashikant Lele to HealthDay News: “If one dose (of vaccine for human papilloma virus, or HPV) is adequate to protect, we can vaccinate three times the number of women with the same amount of money.”

Dr. James Mohler to Targeted Oncology: “We're extending life in clinical trials by three to five months on average, and you can get excited about that, especially if the benefits are additive, or remain unexcited that we still need a curative therapy. We know we have to do much better.”

Events and Promotions

Cups for Roswell

Dunkin’ Donuts “Cups for Roswell” 12-pack coupon books make the perfect holiday gift. Give a whole year of coffee to one person, or split the coupons up to make multiple gifts!

A 12-pack of coupon books contains 372 coupons for a free medium coffee, iced coffee or tea. Coupons are sharable with family and friends and make great holiday gifts for the coffee lovers in your life! Thanks to the generosity of Dunkin’ Donuts, 100% of your purchase will benefit cancer research and patient support programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The coupon books can be purchased in the Roswell Park Gift Shop in the hospital lobby or online by clicking here

Carly’s Club Wish List

Put a smile on the faces of hundreds of pediatric cancer patients across WNY by donating a gift to Carly’s Club.

Each year, Carly’s Club collects generous donations of toys and gifts to give to pediatric patients. The Carly’s Club wish list includes gift cards, electronics/video games/DVDs, books & magazines and toys.  View the wish list here.

Paint Box Holiday Cards

This year, send a holiday card that gives back! The Paint Box holiday collection was created by pediatric patients and their families, and is now available for purchase.

Cards and gifts can be purchased online and portions of the proceeds of sales fund patient support programs at RPCI. Most cards and gifts in the collection can be personalized. Get a head start on the holidays here.

Aflac Holiday Ducks

Now through January, be on the lookout for the Aflac Holiday Duck, found at the Macy's store in the McKinley Mall. Proceeds from the duck will support RPCI's new pediatric unit.


RPCI in the News

Editorial: Merger with UB has the potential to weaken a vital WNY institution — The Buffalo News, 11/26/13
Roswell Park merger with UB is taken off the table — The Buffalo News, 11/25/13
Lung Health (Part 1 of 5): Lung Cancer — WGRZ-TV, 11/18/13
Tax credits move Roswell expansion forward — WBFO-FM, 11/12/13
Breath of Life Celebration — YNN Buffalo, 11/9/13
Roswell Park researchers pull in $7M grants — Associated Press/Wall Street Journal, 11/6/13
Bad vibrations? Truck drivers at risk for aggressive prostate cancerLos Angeles Times, 10/29/13

See more RPCI headlines at

You Should Know

One-Third of Adults Not Meeting Colorectal Screening Guidelines

Screening saves lives and one of the best examples is in colorectal cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men and women age 50 or older get screened for the disease. However, 28 percent of those who should be screened, about 23 million Americans, have never done so, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 7 percent have had screening but are not up-to-date.

Colorectal screening tests—colonoscopy, stool tests and sigmoidoscopy—can help detect possible cancers at earlier and more treatable stages. When colorectal cancer is diagnosed early through such testing, the 5-year survival rate is 90%. “Colonoscopy is considered the gold standard,” says surgical oncologist Steven Nurkin, MD, MS. “It allows physicians to view the entire colon and remove polyps during the procedure.  No other screening method can do that. Still, any screening test is better than none, but colonoscopy is the best.” Learn more about your testing options and discuss them with your physician.