Bob Zhang, Author at NFCR - Page 7 of 10

Bob Zhang

Head and Neck Cancers

As the name implies, head and neck cancer is a group of cancers that starts within the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses or salivary glands. Head and neck cancers are the sixth most common group of cancers in the world and oftentimes considered preventable because making certain lifestyle changes significantly lowers a person’s risk.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 61,760 new cases of head and neck cancers will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with over 13,190 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • Head and neck cancers account for 3% of all cancers in the U.S.
  • Men are two to three times more likely than women to develop a head or neck cancer because of their greater use of tobacco and alcohol. However, head and neck cancers found in women have been rising for several years.
  • The consumption of tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco) and alcohol are the most common causes of head and neck cancers.
  • Other risk factors for head and neck cancers may include poor oral hygiene, exposure to occupational inhalants (such as asbestos or wood dust), a diet low in vegetables and fruits, gastroesophageal reflux disease, infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) or Epstein-Barr virus and a weakened immune system.

Head and Neck Cancers Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack head and neck cancers – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Head and Neck
61760
expected diagnoses in 2017
13190
expected deaths in 2017
3
% of all cancer diagnoses

Dr. Esther Chang, who received NFCR funding for over 20 years, has devoted her career to improving the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Dr. Chang and her team developed a nanoscale drug delivery system that carries anti-cancer agents (like the p53 tumor suppressor gene) directly to both primary and metastatic tumor cells. In earlier work, they found that this approach significantly enhanced a tumor’s sensitivity to chemo and radiation therapies in complex tumor models of 16 different types of cancer, including head and neck, prostate, pancreatic and breast cancer and melanoma.

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Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. While the rate of people being diagnosed with kidney cancer has been slowly increasing since the 1970s, the death rate has been slowly declining since the 1990s.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 63,990 new cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 14,400 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • The lifetime risk for developing kidney cancer is about 1 in 63 or 1.6%.
  • Men are twice as likely to develop kidney cancer as women.
  • Kidney cancer is uncommon in people younger than 45 and occurs most often in people 55 or older.
  • The overall five-year survival rate for people with kidney cancer is 73%.
  • Risk factors include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, family history of kidney cancer, advanced or chronic kidney disease, exposure to radiation therapy or carcinogenic chemicals, and long-term use of the painkiller phenacetin.

Kidney Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack kidney cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Kidney
63990
new cases expected in 2017
14400
deaths expected in 2017
1
in 63 lifetime risk

Dr. Wayne Marasco, the Director of the NFCR Center for Therapeutic Antibody Engineering, is a world-renowned antibody engineering expert who works on infectious diseases and cancer immunotherapies. Dr. Marasco’s laboratory has developed one of the largest human antibody phage display libraries ever made (with tens of billions of members).

For cancer, as well as HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, one possible treatment involves the use of human monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) – which are proteins that are produced to bind to only one substance. Dr. Marasco has had great success developing Mabs that attach to an important protein – carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) – that is highly expressed in renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. Once attached, the CAIX antibody can halt abnormal cancer growth.

Most recently, his team at the NFCR Center developed a combination immunotherapy treatment that holds promise for treating metastatic kidney cancer more effectively. The immunotherapy they have engineered includes not only the CAIX antibody that detects and binds to CAIX growth-promoting proteins on cancerous kidney cells, but also unblocks T cells to enable more rigorous attacks against cancer.

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Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer in men and the ninth most common cancer in women worldwide. The incidence rate of liver cancer is larger in developing countries, but is, unfortunately, rapidly growing in the U.S. Currently, liver cancer rates are the highest in Central America, West and Central Africa, and East and Southeast Asia.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 40,710 new cases of liver cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 28,920 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • For the 43% of people who are diagnosed with liver cancer at an early stage, the five-year survival rate is 31%.
  • For those people diagnosed with liver cancer at late stages, the five-year survival rate drops to 17%.
  • In the U.S., liver cancer incidence has more than tripled since 1980.
  • Liver cancer is more than twice as likely to occur in men than in women.
  • The liver is a common place where cancer spreads. Colorectal, breast and lung cancers are the most common sources of cancer that metastasize to the liver.

Liver Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack liver cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Liver
40710
new cases expected in 2017
28920
deaths expected in 2017
31
% survival rate if diagnosed early

Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng’s laboratory is working to bring Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into the mainstream of Western medicine, with hopes of reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, while enhancing the benefits. Since the late 1990s, Dr. Cheng’s team has been exploring the therapeutic properties of PHY906, a Chinese herbal medicine formula and has discovered that when combined with chemotherapy, PHY906 alleviates the unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy for pancreatic, colon, rectal and liver cancer patients. Moreover, their research demonstrated that PHY906 also has its own, solo anti-tumor attributes. If there is continued success in clinical trials, PHY906 could become one of the first FDA-approved oral herbal medicines for anti-cancer treatment.

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Lung Cancer

Hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. In fact, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. Thankfully, researchers are making great strides in understanding this disease and how to more effectively treat it.

Key Facts

  • In the U.S., an estimated 222,500 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.
  • Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and claims nearly 160,000 lives every year in the U.S.
  • While cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer, 10 to 15% of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers.
  • Only 16% of people with lung cancer will be diagnosed at the earliest stage, when the disease is most treatable.
  • Currently, a low-dose CT scan is the only proven effective way to screen for lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack lung cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Lung
222500
new cases expected in 2017
160000
deaths annually
16
of cases detected early

NFCR-funded scientists are working around-the-clock on projects that can help us attack lung cancer. For example, in July 2016, the FDA approved the drug Iressa® as a front-line treatment for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) – and the approval is only extended to patients with specific tumor mutations, which were originally identified by NFCR-supported scientist Dr. Daniel Haber.

Also, thanks to NFCR-funded research by Dr. Alice Shaw, a new and better way to treat cancer resistance is emerging. By successfully identifying drug combinations that halted the growth of resistant cells in tumor models, her research will hopefully lead to the development of effective therapeutic strategies for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC (mutations in the ALK gene). Treatments could be clinically tested within one to two years.

NFCR-sponsored scientists Dr. Daniel Von Hoff and Dr. Laurence Hurley have embarked on a new approach to treating difficult cancers – like small cell lung cancer (SCLC) – that involves developing drugs to block DNA so that mutant proteins are not made in the first place. They are creating drugs to block large clusters of DNA called “super enhancers,” which control the expression of a network of genes. SCLC is one of the most rapidly-spreading lung cancers, and their studies may impact SCLC treatment because super enhancers have been associated with disease-critical genes in this type of cancer.

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Ovarian Cancer

Although the rate at which women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer has decreased over the past 20 years, ovarian cancer is still a leading cause of death for women worldwide.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 22,400 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 14,080 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • While all women are at risk of ovarian cancer, the overall lifetime risk of developing the disease is one in 75.
  • The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose ovarian cancer is detected early is about 93%. However, only 15% of women are diagnosed at the early stages.
  • Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose because initial symptoms are similar to gastrointestinal illness and indigestion.

Ovarian Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack ovarian cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Ovarian
22400
new cases expected in 2017
14080
deaths expected in 2017
93
% survival rate if detected early

Dr. Robert Bast, who receives NFCR funding, is best known for developing the OC125 (CA125) monoclonal antibody in 1981 that led to the production of the CA125 radioimmunoassay – the first useful biomarker for monitoring the course of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer. Since this discovery, Dr. Bast and his team have been evaluating ways CA125 can be used to screen for ovarian cancer. For example, results from a large clinical trial involving 200,000 women in the United Kingdom showed that Dr. Bast’s “two-step” approach for the early detection of ovarian cancer – using CA125 detection and sonography – effectively reduces fatalities by 20%.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Co-Director of the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies, has devoted his career to translational medicine – the movement of new therapies from the research institution to patient care – and has personally been a part of over 200 clinical trials. Dr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have conducted early clinical investigations of many new cancer agents, including: gemcitabine, docetaxel, paclitaxel, topotecan, irinotecan, fludarabine, mitoxantrone, dexrazoxane, nab-paclitaxel, vismodegib and others. NFCR’s support for Dr. Von Hoff’s research with gemcitabine was profoundly successful as it became the first drug to improve survival for pancreatic patients. Many treatments he worked on are now helping tens of thousands of patients with breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, leukemia, skin (advanced basal cell carcinoma) and pancreatic cancer today.

Dr. Harold F. Dvorak, who received NFCR funding for over 30 years, discovered that tumor cells secrete a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and this seminal discovery provided the molecular basis for the field of angiogenesis (meaning “blood vessel formation”). Angiogenesis makes it possible for tumors to grow and spread, and Dr. Dvorak’s discovery helped pave the way for research on anti-angiogenesis treatments that can halt and even reverse tumor growth. In 2004, the first VEGF-targeting anti-angiogenic drug Avastin® was approved by the FDA for the treatment of colorectal cancer, and, today, in addition to colorectal cancer, Avastin is approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and certain types of cervical and ovarian cancers.

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Golf for a Cure

Golf For A Cure will be returning soon to Kenwood Country Club.  

If you are interested in sponsorships, donating to the silent auction, or securing a spot, please email Brian Wachtel, Director of Corporate Partnerships & Special Events, at bwachtel@nfcr.org

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Pancreatic Cancer

One of the nation’s deadliest cancers, pancreatic cancer is the ninth most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the 11th most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the U.S. It is also one of the few cancers for which survival has not improved substantially in over 40 years.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 53,670 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 43,090 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and is expected to become the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths by the year 2020, surpassing colorectal cancer.
  • The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 9%.
  • Risk factors for developing pancreatic cancer include family history of the disease, age, chronic or hereditary pancreatitis, smoking, obesity and long-standing diabetes.

Pancreatic Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack pancreatic cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Pancreatic
53670
new cases expected in 2017
43090
deaths expected in 2017
9
% five-year survival rate

At the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies, Co-Directors Dr. Von Hoff and Dr. Laurence Hurley are working on an entirely new approach to treating cancer by developing drugs that block newly-recognized genetic structures called “super enhancers.” These large clusters of DNA regulatory elements control the expression of a host of genes — including the critical cancer gene c-Myc – and offer a great opportunity for cancer disruption. This new approach may lead to great improved treatments for pancreatic cancer, lung cancer (small-cell type, in particular), lymphoma, multiple myeloma, colorectal and other cancers.

Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng’s laboratory is working to bring Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into the mainstream of Western medicine, with hopes of reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, while enhancing the benefits. Since the late 1990s, Dr. Cheng’s team has been exploring the therapeutic properties of PHY906, a Chinese herbal medicine formula. They discovered that, when combined with chemotherapy, PHY906 alleviates the unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy for pancreatic, colon, rectal and liver cancer patients. Moreover, their research demonstrated that PHY906 also has its own, solo anti-tumor attributes. If there is continued success in clinical trials, PHY906 could become one of the first FDA-approved oral herbal medicines for anti-cancer treatment.

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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer affecting American men and it’s the third leading cause of cancer deaths for men (behind lung and colorectal cancers).

Key Facts

  • An estimated 161,360 new prostate cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 26,730 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • About 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
  • The average age at the time of diagnosis is 66, with about 60% of cases occurring in men aged 65 or older.
  • Although men under the age of 40 can be diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is considered rare.
  • There are more than 2.9 million men in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are still alive today.

Prostate Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack prostate cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Prostate
161360
new cases expected in 2017
26730
deaths expected in 2017
1
in 7 men diagnosed in their lifetime

Dr. Paul Fisher and his team have created a new therapeutic approach to cancer therapy, which he calls a Cancer Terminator Virus. As a genetically reprogrammed virus, CTV infects and destroys tumor cells while leaving normal cells alone. The Fisher team also engineered a CTV capable of producing a tumor-killing molecule – interferon gamma (IFNγ). As a natural product of our immune system, IFNγ can kill tumor cells both directly and indirectly by eliciting immune responses. This happens at the primary tumor and metastatic sites. CTV could be a potential treatment for early stage and metastatic prostate cancer, and recently, studies have been expanded to test its pancreatic cancer treatment potential.

Dr. James Basilion and his team at the NFCR Center for Molecular Imaging are developing new tools that can literally change the way doctors are looking at cancer. One newly-designed molecular probe allows researchers to view multiple molecular biomarkers simultaneously and see a tumor’s genetic structure in real time. This visualization allows for the very early detection of tiny tumors that will greatly improve treatment outcomes for patients with prostate cancer and other types of cancer. Center researchers are now adapting their enhanced sensitivity imaging probe for the early detection of liver cancer. The prostate-specific membrane antigen (PMSA) is found in the vasculature of liver tumors and Dr. Basilion is the first to conduct PMSA-based imaging of liver cancer.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Co-Director of the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies, has devoted his career to translational medicine – the movement of new therapies from the research institution to patient care – and has personally been a part of over 200 clinical trials. Dr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have conducted early clinical investigations of many new cancer agents, including: gemcitabine, docetaxel, paclitaxel, topotecan, irinotecan, fludarabine, mitoxantrone, dexrazoxane, nab-paclitaxel, vismodegib and others. NFCR’s support for Dr. Von Hoff’s research with gemcitabine was profoundly successful as it became the first drug to improve survival for pancreatic patients. Many treatments he worked on are now helping tens of thousands of patients with breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, leukemia, skin (advanced basal cell carcinoma) and pancreatic cancer today.

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Sarcoma

Sarcomas are cancers that start in bones, muscles, connective tissues, blood vessels or fat, and can be found anywhere in the body. There are more than 50 different types of sarcoma, which fall into two main categories: bone cancers and soft tissue cancers.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 12,390 new cases of soft tissue sarcomas and 3,260 new cases of bone cancers will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 6,540 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • Sarcomas are rare in adults and make up approximately 1% of all adult cancer diagnoses.
  • Sarcomas are relatively more common among children. Between 1,500 and 1,700 children are diagnosed with a bone or soft tissue sarcoma in the U.S. each year. This makes up about 15% of cancers in children under the age of 20.540
  • The overall relative five-year survival rate for people with sarcoma is around 50%.
  • When the sarcoma starts in an arm or leg, the five-year survival rates are slightly higher for each stage when compared with sarcoma that starts in other locations.

Sarcoma Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack sarcoma – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Sarcoma
15650
new cases expected in 2017
6540
deaths expected in 2017
50
%  five-year survival rate

Dr. Web Cavenee has fundamentally changed the way scientists now think about the onset of cancer and its progression. He provided the first indisputable evidence of the existence of tumor suppressor genes.

He and his team have developed a high-throughput CHIP-NextGen sequencing method to identify miRNAs that drive the development of aveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft-tissue sarcoma that has a poor prognosis and is most common in young adults and teenagers.

Dr. Wei Zhang has devoted his entire career to the pursuit of precision oncology – specifically to the key molecular and genomic events that drive the development and progression of cancer. Over the last 18 years, Dr. Zhang has identified multiple novel cancer markers and oncogenic signaling molecules, including targets for the treatment of a soft tissue sarcoma that develops from tissues surrounding nerves called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST). Results have provided evidence that the tyrosine kinase receptor pathway is a potential therapeutic target for patients with MPSNT.

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Skin Cancer

Studies show the number of skin cancer cases in the U.S. are growing at an alarming rate. In fact, over the past three decades, more people have been diagnosed with some form of skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 80,000 new cases of invasive melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with nearly 10,000 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis.
  • Melanoma accounts for less than 1% of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
  • The overall lifetime risk of developing skin cancer is one in five (for both melanomas and non-melanomas).
  • The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98% in the U.S. The survival rate falls to 62% when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 18% when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.

Skin Cancer Research

In addition to specific projects listed below, genomics research is helping us attack skin cancer – and all types of cancer. NFCR has distinguished itself from other organizations by emphasizing long-term, transformative research and working to move people toward cancer genomics.

Skin
80000
new cases of invasive melanoma expected in 2017
10000
deaths expected in 2017
18
% five-year survival rate with metastasis

Dr. James Basilion and his team at the NFCR Center for Molecular Imaging are developing new tools that literally change the way doctors are looking at cancer. The team developed an imaging technique that may revolutionize cancer surgeries and be particularly helpful with treatments for skin cancers, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM – the most aggressive brain tumor) and with breast lumpectomies. This new technology allows surgeons to assess the margins of their surgeries as they are being conducted to see if the cancer cells have been removed. This could eliminate or dramatically reduce local tumor recurrence.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, Co-Director of the NFCR Center for Targeted Cancer Therapies, has devoted his career to translational medicine – the movement of new therapies from the research institution to patient care – and has personally been a part of over 200 clinical trials. Dr. Von Hoff and his colleagues have conducted early clinical investigations of many new cancer agents, including: gemcitabine, docetaxel, paclitaxel, topotecan, irinotecan, fludarabine, mitoxantrone, dexrazoxane, nab-paclitaxel, vismodegib and others. NFCR’s support for Dr. Von Hoff’s research with gemcitabine was profoundly successful as it became the first drug to improve survival for pancreatic patients. Many treatments he worked on are now helping tens of thousands of patients with breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, leukemia, skin (advanced basal cell carcinoma) and pancreatic cancer today.

Dr. Helmut Sies, who has received funding from NFCR for over 30 years, spent his career studying the role of micronutrients in cancer prevention and specifically focused on carotenoids and flavonoids. He discovered that lycopene – a carotenoid and antioxidant found in tomatoes and carrots – can reduce the damaging effects of oxygen produced by our body’s essential metabolic processes and has strong skin cancer prevention effects. His research also illustrated how flavonoids (found in cocoa products) can prevent skin damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, improve blood vessel function and reduce cardiovascular risk.

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