News to Use

  • IU Simon Cancer Center earns prestigious designation

    The IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center has been recognized again as a premier cancer center by the National Cancer Institute following an in-depth peer review.

    The National Cancer Institute renewed the IU Simon Cancer Center’s Cancer Center Support Grant and the prestigious designation following a multi-step competitive process. Overall, the institute rated the cancer center’s research activities as “excellent” and awarded it a five-year, $7.8 million support grant -- an increase of 20 percent from the previous award in 2008.

    The grant is an important source of funding for the cancer center’s shared facilities that are available to researchers. Those facilities provide researchers with access to the highest quality of equipment and technology. 

    The National Cancer Institute designation places the IU Simon Cancer Center in an elite group of 68 cancer centers across the country that focus on the rapid translation of research discoveries to directly benefit people with cancer. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Indiana that provides patient care.

    Patients benefit from the scientific discoveries made by researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center. Cancer center physicians treat adult patients at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, Eskenazi Health and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, and pediatric patients are treated at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, all of which are on the IUPUI campus.

    “We are especially honored to be renewed with this very prized designation again,” said Patrick J. Loehrer, M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center. "To receive a funding increase in the current funding climate is icing on the cake."

    To read more and watch a video of Loehrer talking about the prestigious award, see the complete story.

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  • Indiana CTSI sixth annual meeting puts focus on patient role in health care

    A leader of the group created to fill those evidence gaps -- and to spearhead greater efficiency in medical care and delivery in general under the U.S. health care reform law -- struck the keynote at the sixth annual meeting of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, "From Academic Centers to Population Health," Sept. 26 in the Hine Hall Auditorium at IUPUI. A complete video of the event and presenter slides are online.

    Comparative effective research emphasizes the choices that are already available to people; the options that already exist," said David Hickam, M.D., director for the Clinical Effectiveness Research Team at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, a non-government institute created as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to provide support for comparative effectiveness research and other types of research that can help patients and providers to deliver high quality medical care.  

    "The United States spends a lot of money on health care compared to other nations but doesn't necessarily get the desired outcomes," he added. "This raises the question: Do we truly understanding the available evidence? Are we truly working to figure out what new information might improve our evidence base so the choices people make is based upon the best possible evidence?"

    The approach flips the tradition model in which a physician prescribes a treatment based upon all available evidence. Comparative effectiveness research asks physician what gaps exist in the available evidence and then designs studies to fill those spaces to improve their ability to make decisions with the greatest chance of generating positive results.

    The Indiana CTSI is a statewide collaboration of IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame to facilitate the translation of scientific discoveries in the lab into new patient treatments in Indiana and beyond. The director of the Indiana CTSI is Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice president for university clinical affairs at IU and associate dean for translational research and Raymond E. Houk Professor of Psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine.

    For more information on the meeting, see the complete story.

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  • William G. Kaelin Jr. to receive Steven C. Beering Award

    William G. Kaelin, Jr., M.D., has been named the recipient of the 2014 Steven C. Beering Award for outstanding advancements in biomedical and clinical science. Dr. Kaelin serves as a professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School and as associate director for basic science at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

    The official award lecture, "The Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor: Insights into Oxygen Sensing and Cancer" will be from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Walther Hall (R3) Auditorium. A reception is to follow.

    A Howard Hughes Medical Investigator since 1998, Dr. Kaelin's research seeks to understand how, mechanistically, mutations affecting tumor-suppressor genes cause cancer. His long-term goal is to lay the foundation for new anticancer therapies based on the biochemical functions of tumor suppressor proteins. Dr. Kaelin’s work on the VHL protein helped to motivate the eventual successful clinical testing of VEGF inhibitors for the treatment of kidney cancer. This line of investigation led to new insights into how cells sense and respond to changes in oxygen, and thus has implications for diseases beyond cancer, such as anemia, myocardial infarction and stroke. He has served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors, the AACR Board of Trustees, and the Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Board.

    The Beering Award was established in 1983, honoring the important contributions Dr. Stephen Beering made as dean of the IU School of Medicine from 1974 to 1983. Dr. Beering was the youngest dean appointed to the School of Medicine. He left the school to become the president of Purdue University, serving until his retirement on Aug. 14. Created in 1983, the award is presented annually and consists of a medal and $25,000 prize. Seven previous Beering Award recipients have become Nobel laureates, either before or after receipt of the award.

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Research News

  • IUSM, AMA mark major milestone in reshaping medical education nationwide

    It’s been a year since the American Medical Association awarded $1 million to the IU School of Medicine as part of the ambitious $11 million initiative Accelerating Change in Medical Education. Last month, leaders from IU and the other 10 medical schools selected for the grant convened at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine to embark on the next phase to help reshape the way medical students are educated in this country.

    “There has been a universal call to transform the teaching of medicine to shift the focus of education toward real-world practice and competency assessment, which is why the AMA launched the Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative,” said Robert M. Wah, M.D., president of the American Medical Association. “The AMA is proud to be leading the charge to answer this call. Over the last year, we have made significant progress in transforming curriculum at these medical schools that can and will help close the gaps that currently exist between how medical students are trained and the way health care is delivered in this country now and in the future.”

    The IU School of Medicine was among 11 medical schools selected based on their bold and innovative ideas to reshape medical education. In the past year, Indiana has made significant progress in its efforts to create a virtual health care system and a teaching electronic medical record to ensure competencies in system-, team- and population-based health care, as well as clinical decision-making.

    With the enthusiastic support of Eskenazi Health, the team from the Regenstrief Institute -- the IU School of Medicine's partner in the Accelerating Change initiative -- has adapted Eskenazi Health's existing electronic medical record into a stand alone educational resource that will serve as a teaching platform for IU medical students. To date, patient cases for the first one-third of the curriculum have been identified, and the teaching electronic medical record entries are being constructed through de-identification of prior patient data. The first phase of activities related to the grant will include teaching and learning about health care finance, access to care, quality improvement and health care disparities. IU is also developing quality and systems coaches -- faculty educated in current health systems practice with expertise in the teaching electronic medical record -- through an innovative faculty development program.

    For more information, visit the IUSM Newsroom.

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  • IU researchers find higher number of moles may indicate higher breast cancer risk in women

    An IU cancer researcher and colleagues have found that the number of moles on a woman’s body might predict her risk of developing breast cancer. The findings were published online in PLOS Medicine, a top medical journal.

    Epidemiologist and a melanoma expert Jiali Han, Ph.D., the Rachel Cecile Efroymson Professor in Cancer Research at the IU Simon Cancer Center and professor and chair of the epidemiology at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, and colleagues found that women with 15 or more cutaneous nevi, or moles, were 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women with no nevi.

    The more moles a person has is a known risk factor for developing melanoma, but this new research indicates a high count of moles may also be a factor in a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

    The researchers used data from 74,523 white, female nurses who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. Dr. Han used data from the women who had reported the number of nevi less than 3 millimeters in diameter on their left arms from 1986 to 2010. Dr. Han cautioned that additional studies need to be conducted to study the relationship between cutaneous nevi and breast cancer risk, especially in other populations, as this study focused only on white women.

    Other authors of the study included Mingfeng Zhang, Xuehong Zhang and A. Heather Eliassen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Abrar A. Qureshi of Brown University; and Susan E. Hankinson of University of Massachusetts.

    For more information, see the IUSM Newsroom.

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Student Showcase

  • IU medical and liberal arts students to perform 'Cadaver, Speak'

    Students from the IU School of Medicine and the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI will put on a reader's theater performance of Marianne Boruch's poem "Cadaver, Speak: Poems from the Dissection Lab" from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Emerson Hall auditorium. They will perform Boruch’s title poem from her latest collection, under the poet’s direction.

    This program, which will reflect on the complexities of how the human body functions throughout the life cycle, originated at the IU School of Medicine-Lafayette after Marianne Boruch, professor of English at Purdue University, participated in an anatomy course taught by James Walker, Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of anatomy and cell biology at IUSM-Lafayette. “Cadaver, Speak” was first performed in West Lafayette by students from IUSM-Lafayette and creative writing students from Boruch’s class in the Purdue College of Liberal Arts.

    Boruch’s poem, situated in a human anatomy lab, is spoken by a 99-year-old woman who has given her body to science. With humor and candor, the intrepid narrator revisits different episodes of her life, as her organs and limbs undergo dissection.

    This event is sponsored by the Literature and Medicine Student Interest Group and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the IU School of Medicine, the IU Medical Humanities and Health Studies Program and the Department of English at the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

    The performance will be free and open to the public. 

    To RSVP, contact medhum@iupui.edu or 317-278-1669.

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Opportunities

  • Applications sought from cores and programs needing professional business planning assistance

    A good business plan is critical to the success of any research core or program. The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Access Techology Program, in collaboration with the IU Kelley School of Business, offers access to a team of Kelley MBA students who will recieve course credit for partnering with the successful applicants on business solutions for their core or program.

    Cores, resources and units at IU, Purdue or Notre Dame providing a central service to Indiana CTSI investigators are eligible. Priority will be given to proposals that will lead to improvements in organizational efficiency, speed of service, and/or quality; and have the potential to be extrapolated and benefit other cores, resources or units. The proposal must request and define a need for assistance in one or at most two of these following: project management, marking, financial management and resource efficiency management.

    Successful applications to this program will receive business management assistance from teams of Kelley MBA students. Project durations vary from eight to 12 weeks, depending on project scope, starting in February or March and completing anywhere from mid-May to July.

    Selected cores will be expected to engage with the MBA students for initial project scope (two hours), additional follow-up or onsite meetings (eight to 12 hours) and a final project close-out (one to two hours). The MBA students will contribute 30 to 100 hours each (depending on the project scope, number of team members and course credit assignment) to the project progression in turn.

    Applications are due Friday, Nov. 21More on this program and access to the application are available online. Log in using your institutional username and password. Application instructions are under "CTSI - IU Kelley MBA Core and Project Business Management Assistance - 2014.11."

    For more information, contact Lilith Reeves at ictsi@iu.edu.

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  • Indiana CTSI seeking applicants for predoctoral training awards in translational research

    The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute is seeking applicants for special predoctoral training awards in translational research.

    In biomedical terminology translational research refers to what is popularly termed "bench to bedside," the process by which research in the lab "translates" into patient treatment. Translation may involve applying discoveries made during research (in the lab, through animal studies, etc.) to the development of clinical trials and studies in humans, or carrying out research aimed at enhancing the adoption of best practices, or both. 

    These two types of translational research are usually described as consisting of either “T1 research” (basic biomedical research, e.g. study disease at a molecular or cellular level, as it progresses to the development of new treatment options at the clinical level) or “T2 research” (enhancing access to and the adoption of evidence- based strategies in clinical and community practice, institutionalizing programs, products, and services to improve health). These awards are aimed at predoctoral students whose research is at any point along this spectrum. 

    Funding is available for pre-doctoral graduate students. Criteria for application include: 

    • Candidates must have completed at least one year of a pre-doctoral training program but cannot have completed more than their third year (i.e., applicants must be in the second or third year of their pre- doctoral program when they apply).
    • Co-mentorship by faculty investigators from at least two different disciplines (preferably a clinician and a non-clinician scientist).
    • Research that is translational in nature and takes advantage of the synergism that comes from working at this basic/clinical interface or clinical/community interface.
    • U.S. citizen or permanent resident status. 

    Funding is for two years (with the second year of funding contingent upon satisfactory progress). Benefits include a stipend as well as health insurance and partial coverage of tuition and fees. 

    Trainees will be required to participate in a translational science course, attend a National CTSA meeting and present their work at several Indiana CTSI pre-doctoral gatherings during the academic year.

    Completed applications must be submitted by Monday, Dec. 8, with awards starting July 1. Interested candidates must be prescreened for eligibility by submitting a copy of their CV to Colleen Gabauer by Monday, Nov. 24, at ictsi@purdue.edu. You can also contact Gabauer at 765-496-1016.

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  • Proposals sought for IU Simon Cancer Center pilot projects in epidemiology

    The Epidemiology Consultation Core at the IU Simon Cancer Center is inviting proposals for pilot projects that focus on any of the three topics that are important to our catchment area: smoking, obesity or health disparity. The goal of the Epidemiology Consultation Core is to promote active collaboration between epidemiologists, statisticians, basic scientists and clinicians, thereby facilitating joint research projects and grant funding proposals. The core provides expertise in the areas of genetic and molecular epidemiology; population-based research study design; measurements of risk/exposure (gene or environment related); and selection of appropriate biospecimens for research. Proposals must meet the goal of the Epidemiology Consultation Core by utilizing the expertise provided by the core. 

    Proposals will be funded for up to $50,000 based on project need. It is expected that funds will lead to submission of peer-reviewed proposals to externally peer-reviewed sources such as the National Cancer Institute or American Cancer Society. Priority is given to new investigators or established investigators with a new focus. Established investigators are encouraged to include younger researchers as part of the scientific team. Applicants may have received prior or current extramural research funding, but the proposed project must be significantly different than previous/current funded projects and lead to a new area of fundable research. 

    Investigators are encouraged to discuss with the core director project aims and scope of core involvement before they submit the Letter of Intent.

    Letters of Intent are due Saturday, Nov. 15: A one-page letter of intent specifying the aims, sample and sample size, and timeline and should be submitted to Elizabeth Parsons at eparsons@iupui.edu.

    Final applications are due by Thursday, Jan. 15: The body of the proposal should not exceed three pages, plus one page for aims. The format with page suggestions is outlined below. Proposals need to follow NIH formatting guidelines. An electronic copy in PDF format should be submitted and should include: 

    • Abstract (30 lines)
    • Specific aims (one page)
      • Problem.
      • Aims and hypotheses.
      • Outcomes.
    • Significance (1/2 to 3/4 page)
      • Importance of problem to field.
      • How will project increase scientific knowledge, clinical practice, etc.
      • How will this lead to future funding.
    • Innovation (1/2 to 3/4 page)
      • How does the project challenge current research or practice paradigms.
      • Describe novel theoretical concepts, approaches and methodologies.
    • Approach (up to two pages)
      • Overall strategy, methodology and power and data analyses including data collection, measures, interventions, theory and participants.
    • Preliminary studies (1/2 page)
    • Budget (not included in the page limit): A detailed budget and justification should be attached. Proposals should not include percent effort (salary) for the principal investigator. There is no need to budget for core service. Budget for data generation, such as lab supplies and corresponding lab personnel, is encouraged.
    • Biosketch of all investigators
    • Timetable

    A select panel of cancer center members, content-relevant university experts and external reviewers, as necessary, will review applications. Final funding decisions will be made by the IU Simon Cancer Center Senior Leaders Committee, based on the scientific review of the application and funding priorities.  

    Criteria for review: 

    • Scientific merit:
      • Aims: Do we consider this area of research important? What is the potential impact? Are the Aims clearly described? 
      • Significance: Do we understand the importance of this proposal in an overall program of research that will add value to science and support the Aims of the IU Simon Cancer Center? Are the concepts methods or interventions important? Will this line of research lead to new findings that will be important to health care? Does the proposal support future directions for health care and disease management?
      • Innovation: How does the project challenge or shift current research or practice? Are there novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies and what are the advantages over existing methodologies?
      • Preliminary Studies: Does the principal investigator and team have sufficient expertise to conduct the proposal? Are prior studies related to the current proposal? 
    • Cancer relevance.
    • Appropriate use of Epidemiology Core resources and expertise as a critical component of the proposed research project.
    • Evidence of multidisciplinary and inter-programmatic approach.
    • Translation potential.
    • Potential to lead to external funding.  
    • Ability of investigators to conduct study.
    • Success of prior IUSCC-funded pilot projects lead by the principal investigator of current submitted project.*

    *Note: If you have received previous pilot funding, your outcomes from that funding will be evaluated and considered in this review. It is expected that all funding will lead to submission of externally reviewed research grants.

    If awarded pilot funding through this mechanism, the principal investigator and team will be required to schedule and complete a mapping schema with Crystal Munson (crybanks@iupui.edu) before funds can be released into an account to begin the project, which would be around March 1.

    A complete application in PDF format should be sent to Elizabeth Parsons at eparsons@iupui.edu. You can also contact Parsons at 317-278-0078.

    Questions should be forwarded to Hongmei Nan, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Epidemiology Consultation Core, at hnan@iu.edu.

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Kudos

  • Indiana CTSI poster presentation winners

    Six researchers were honored at a poster presentation during the Sixth Annual Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Meeting, "From Academic Centers to Population Health," on Sept. 26.

    Winners were honored for the top three posters in the both the Indiana CTSI-supported researcher category and the scholars and trainees category. Each winner received $1,000.

    The winners in the Indiana CTSI-supported researcher category were:

    • Robin K. Fuchs, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy in the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at IUPUI, "Bone Health in Children with Cerebral Palsy."
    • Laurie Littlepage, Ph.D., Campbell Family Assistant Professor of Cancer Research and a member of the Harper Cancer Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame, "The Oncogene ZNF217 Promotes Breast Cancer Chemoresistance."
    • Janet E. Panoch, M.D., a research assistant in the Department of OB-GYN at the IU School of Medicine, "Patient Communication Skills Training for High School Health and Wellness Classes."

    The winners in the scholars and trainees category were:

    • David W. McIlwain, a predoctoral researcher in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the IU School of Medicine, "APE1/Ref-1 Regulates Survivin-Mediated Drug Resistance in Prostate Cancer Cells."
    • Eric Orman, M.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine, "Delirium is Associated with Poor Outcomes in Patients with Cirrhosis."
    • Emily K. Sims, M.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine, "Beta Cell Derived miR-21 as an Intrinsic Protective Response and Biomarker in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus."

    McIlwain is also a recipient of the Indiana CTSI Predoctoral (Trainee) Award. Drs. Orman and Sims are also the recipients of the Indiana CTSI Postdoctoral (Young Investigator) Award. Drs. Fuchs, Littlepage and Panoch have also received support from the Indiana CTSI.

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