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Potential Breakthrough in Cancer-Fighting Nanomedicine

The term nanomedicine, alluding to technologies with mechanisms and surface area characteristics sized in terms of billionths of a meter, has held promise for years, but breakthroughs specific to therapies have been limited. After five years of intense collaborative work by distinguished scientists from Arizona State University (ASU) and China’s National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), a potential major one has ensued. Their new technology may prove to be among the first capable of successfully distinguishing and delivering precise drugs to cancer-cells. This dual action development could represent a major milestone for oncology nanomedicine.

“These nanorobots can be programmed to transport molecular payloads and cause on-site tumor blood supply blockages, which can lead to tissue death and shrink the tumor,” said Baoquan Ding, a professor at the NCNST.

The nanorobots in question are tiny drug delivery systems which can both recognize the cancerous cells molecular signals and offload a proper treatment. The treatment agent is a blood-clotting enzyme, called thrombin, which blocks the blood flow to cancer cells, cutting off their life-sustaining nutrients and ultimately causing them to die. The nanorobots swiftly, and in large numbers, aggregate together at the heart of the tumor by recognizing a specific tumor endothelial protein, called nucleolin. Only tumor cells express this protein in large numbers, and this recognition process is crucial. It ensures that thrombin will only be delivered to tumors and therefore not spark clot formation in and around healthy tissue.

The active clot-forming enzyme is transported on what can best be envisioned as a rectangular DNA origami sheet, 90 by 60 nanometers in size. This is one-thousandth the width of a human hair! This origami DNA sheet is folded in on itself in intricate ways, ultimately forming a hollow tube. Within this tube are an average of four Thrombin enzymes. This whole DNA origami apparatus actually is the nanorobot. After the nanorobot has completed its task, it safely degrades and is easily and naturally excreted by the body.

This nanotechnology has shown to be successful and safe on mice and larger animals, working swiftly and being generally expelled within 24 hours of being introduction into the blood stream. In a primary mouse lung cancer model, this thrombosis triggered tumor shrinkage in only two weeks. Similarly, in a melanoma mouse model, almost 40% of tumors showed complete regression and the median survival time for the cancer-stricken mice more than doubled. In these models, not only were the primary tumors impacted, but further metastasis (cancer spread) was also prevented.

“The thrombin delivery DNA nanorobot constitutes a major advance in the application of DNA nanotechnology for cancer therapy,” said Hao Yan, the director of the ASU Biodesign Institute’s Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics and the Milton Glick Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences.

The America-China team expects to pair up with clinical partners in the near future where they can further the technology and move towards commercialization. They anticipate these DNA nanorobot’s will be tested on humans in two of five years. The technology is expected to serve as a platform for future nanomedical treatments. Other cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, as well as treatments for other chronic diseases, may too be administered using this delivery system—potentially opening a new frontier.

The National Foundation for Cancer Research currently funds two scientists whose work includes potentially transformative nano-scale cancer diagnostic technologies. Rakesh Jain, Ph.D., and his collaborators have recently developed a next-generation diagnostic tool of in vivo optical imaging utilizing nano-sized quantum dots to capture detailed images of internal body structures. Such imaging could potentially be used to study how the blood flow pattern in a tumor changes as the tumor develops, and may also lead to new ways of monitoring disease progression or responsiveness to a drug treatment.

Ovarian cancer expert and NFCR-supported physician scientist, Robert Bast, Jr., M.D., is developing an early detection tool of carbon nanotubes that emit a fluorescent signal when irradiated with a specific light to locate ovarian cancer. He and collaborators are planning a future use where the administered nanotubes may be linked with antibodies against ovarian cancer biomarkers and will accumulate at tiny tumors (100 ovarian cancer cells) for early detection.

Within the cancer nanomedicine therapy field and comparable in some respects to the ASU and NCNST initiative, Esther Chang, Ph.D., who received NFCR funding for over 20 years from 1988 to 2013, and her team have 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. Clinical trials are now treating patients with brain, pancreatic and other advanced cancers and preliminary results appear to be promising.

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Father’s Day

Father's day

For the most part, June usually greets us the same way every year. Higher temperatures, long lines of people waiting for ice cream, longer days and, of course, a grocery store aisle filled to the brim with Father’s Day cards. Mass advertising is a great tool for those of us with no idea what to buy dad for his special day. Maybe a new drill? Possibly a night out to his favorite restaurant? Maybe even a few new ties for work?

But what about the dad that is impossible to shop for? The painfully low-maintenance man who only buys what he needs? What about the dad who lost his dad? What about the dad with a child with cancer? What about the dad battling cancer himself?

In high school, my sister and I always went in on a gift together. Some years it was a gift certificate to the hardware store; other years were greatest hits CDs of his favorite classic rock groups. We’d go out to eat somewhere, the night would end and we’d go on with our summer.

Up until losing my Grandpa Charlie (my dad’s dad) to mesothelioma in 2013, I was somewhat ignorant in thinking that every Father’s Day was celebrated generally the same way, by everyone.

Once we weren’t able to celebrate with grandpa anymore, my dad took up somewhat of a non-spoken no-gifts policy. We understood to be sensitive to whatever he wished, because we couldn’t even imagine a Father’s Day without a father. Compassion and appreciation really started creeping into the picture at this point.

With this in mind, we decided that we had to at least give him a card. So, we went to the grocery store and really took some time to find the card that expressed how we felt about our old man. It was a heartfelt card, but we decided to put our own individual notes on blank spaces of the card to express a few things that the card wasn’t quite able to.

And you know what? Father’s Day came, we made my dad breakfast and gave him his card. We spent the day watching his favorite movies and eating horseradish cheese spread on crackers—his all-time favorite. He didn’t open his card until later in the evening out on the porch by himself. When he came in, I could tell he shed a few tears and I’ll never forget what he told us afterward:

“I couldn’t have asked for a better Father’s Day. I have enough stuff, enough work shirts, but what I’m always running out of is time. Both of you girls are in college now and just making the time to come home and spend the day with me is more of a gift than either of you realize. One day you’ll be in my shoes and it’ll be weird because what’s Father’s Day without a dad? But then you realize the whole point of Father’s Day is the kids: If you two weren’t around, I wouldn’t even be a dad. It’s never too late to treat every day like a miracle.”

Ever since then, we’ve spent every Father’s Day doing just about the same thing. We spend time with him and our grandma, we laugh and just slow down for the day. We think about how it could be much worse and are thankful that it isn’t. We think about the people experiencing pain and loss and send a prayer up for them.

Real life has proven that Father’s Day isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all holiday that the media tends to portray. Some of us have one biological father. Some of us may have a biological father in addition to a stepfather. Some of us may have two fathers. Some of us may not have a father at all. Some of us may even have a father fighting cancer, lost a father to cancer or even be a father with a child battling cancer.

We rarely see these dynamics on TV or on the Internet and if we do, it’s not in celebration. But just like most holidays, what it all boils down to is love. If you’re a father, just pause and look at your children and allow yourself to be amazed that they’re the reason that this day is for you. If you’re a child, look at your father and remember that something in his heart made him realize the world would be a lot cooler with you in it.

If you’re at a crossroads about what to get your father or father figure this Father’s Day, I hope you consider just making something meaningful – honor dad with a card and a donation in his name. All of the loss or cancer in the world can’t erase love, genuine words and feelings. Take a few photos for memories’ sake while you’re at it because the one thing that is both free and irreplaceable, is time.

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Caring for a Father with Cancer

Caring for Father with Cancer

A dad is often portrayed as being the stable, financial provider of the household. He is often thought of as being strong, protective and the ultimate decider on important matters. Of course, this is stereotyping and a gross over-generalization. It does, however, expose some real patterns or, at least, social norms.

This perception of what a dad is can make a cancer diagnosis truly earth-shattering. It can destroy the archetypal image of strength, success and endurance. As a result, it can place the perceived leader in the spot of requiring support; sometimes, for the first time ever. Furthermore, it may provide the first setting in which a father is forced to be openly vulnerable. Conversely, it can also provide us, the children, with a new opportunity for connection, compassion and kind support.

Compassion is powerful. It has the amazing capacity to reduce activation of our fight, flight or freeze responses. Simply showing our love and compassion to our sick dads can literally help them become healthier. Studies have shown that compassion reduces anxiety, helps to improve sleep and helps to improve mental outlook. Compassion can also provoke positive experiences, such as appreciation, gratitude, and acceptance. It can allow both the giver and the receiver to connect to their shared love. As a result, it can create new territory where positive bonding can be explored and created. The simple act of honest and intentional compassion can make a profound difference in our dads’ healing. When in doubt, compassion is always a great starting place.

Sometimes compassion doesn’t feel like enough. In these cases, role modeling healthy living can be another avenue to directly help improve our dads’ cancer journeys. Changing a lifetime of might have been sub-optimal health behavior isn’t easy. It’s often the case that our dads may not know where to begin.

By displaying healthy behaviors, we can help make their health pursuits much more approachable. This may mean we offer to be an exercise buddy, where we work on strength-related postural exercise, myofascial stretching or gentile lymphatic stimulation through easy re-bounding. An approach such as this can provide our dads’ bodies with the conditioning required to increase general resilience, without causing stress. It can also assist in active recovery, which is often critical after enduring harsh treatments. We can also bring over healthy lunches or even cook at our fathers’ residences.

While active support can make a world of difference for dads with cancer, sometimes, our dads may just need some help scheduling in fun time. Planned play can provide a much needed, light-hearted escape from the seriousness of cancer. This may look like going for a walk, playing “throw and catch,” doing a karaoke night or even playing board games. Relaxed fun time plays an important role in maintaining low levels of stress, a positive outlook and a healthy life perspective with meaningful social connection. Supporting our dads with these important experiences during trying times can deeply help them overcome their fears and worries.


This weekend is Father’s Day and is all about honoring fathers—for their love, support and guidance throughout our lives. If you’re at a crossroads about what to get your father or father figure this Father’s Day,  consider just making something meaningful – honor dad with a card and a donation in his name.


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Man Up: June Is Men’s Health Month

“Even in the face of better, more accessible detection and prevention programs, we need men to recognize and adopt healthier lifestyles,” said President Bill Clinton when he proclaimed Men’s Health Week over 20 years ago. “No health care policy can replace the benefits that American men would reap from this change.”

But men’s health is tricky. From a very early age, men are conditioned to “man up” and “stick it out” in any number of situations, health-related and otherwise. The aches and pains and lumps and bumps that may actually be the first signs of a medical emergency are often ignored or regarded as something to soldier through. Because it will all go away eventually, right?

“Since childhood, boys have been told ‘big boys don’t cry,’ so men tend to put feelings aside and not express themselves,” says advocate Ana Fadich. “That can lead to several health problems.”

However, as vice president of the Men’s Health Network, Fadich goes well beyond simple advocacy. June is Men’s Health Month, and Men’s Health Week runs from the 11th until Father’s Day on the 17th. For Fadich and her staff, it’s crunch-time. From Twitter chats to sports events, Fadich aims to inform men in all the places where they “live, work, play, and pray” that they are not invulnerable, and that for the sake of their families, for whom men often are the prime income-earner, to take the initiative to maintain their own good health. This includes a screen for a number of cancers, some of which men might not even know about and others that are uncomfortable for men to even think about.

  • Testicular cancer, for instance, is a young man’s disease, striking as early as 15.
  • Skin cancer is a particular concern because men tend to equate sunscreen with frou-frou beauty products and so forgo it all together.
  • While leaps and bounds have been made with prostate cancer awareness, the prospect of a rectal exam still keeps many men away from the doctor’s office (a simple blood test is all it takes for a correct diagnosis).
  • That discomfiture carries over to colorectal cancer; the thought of a colonoscopy can be simply too much to bear, even if the necessity is acknowledged.
  • The irony is that all these cancers have several obvious symptoms in their early stages when they are most easily and successfully treated, but are either not recognized or not diagnosed in time.

“It is very important for men to do their own self-exams,” says Fadich. “With testicular cancer, you do it in the shower. Feel around and test if there are any lumps, and if there are, go to your doctor and talk about it. Young boys don’t even know the difference between testicles, and say, the prostate. They know the names, and I think it’s great in media you are able to hear about the different ways people address them. But we need more men that are out there to talk about these health issues and get guys to actually do these tests themselves.

“We were seeing that there were a lot of women’s health movements, a lot of programs geared toward women getting their mammograms, making sure they were getting proper nutrition, getting pap smears,” she continues. “And men just didn’t seem to have that, and men were perfectly fine with it because it meant they didn’t have to go to the doctor.”

But men do have to go to the doctor. It was because of that urgency that Men’s Health Week was established in 1994. Far from being restricted to just cancer, it is a time when all the medical conditions affecting men should be on the table and up for discussion, however uncomfortable the discussion may be.

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References:

  • Clinton, William J. Proclamation 6700 — National Men’s Health Week, 1994. Washington, D.C., 1994.
  • Fadich, Ana. “Men’s Health Week: Interview with Ana Fadich,” interview by David Perry. nfcr.org. May, 2018.

 

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Knocking Cancer Out of the Park with the Bowie Baysox

Saturday, June 2, 2018, after weathering storm threats all day, the Bowie Baysox were able to take the field for their annual Knock Cancer Out of the Park night alongside a half-dozen charities in the cancer community near Prince George’s Stadium, including our Play4TheCure team. This game marks the second stop of our Play4TheCure Summer Series.

The other cancer organizations in attendance included the Anne Arundel Medical Center, Bowie Health Center Foundation, National Pancreas Foundation, The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, The Hope Foundation and the American Cancer Society. This provided fans with a great opportunity to see the many different ways organizations give back to the cancer community.

During pregame ceremonies, the Baysox invited members from the participating organizations and cancer survivors down to the field to speak about their survivorship or showcase their organization’s work.

At our table on the concourse, we were able to speak with fans and workers at the stadium about the research NFCR supports and ways for motivated youth and teams to get involved. For our game entertainment, we took a spin at our own prize wheel, made popular by the Frederick Keys, another affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Fans were encouraged to fill out “I Knock Cancer Out of the Park for” signs and after the 4th inning they were invited to stand up for their loved ones that have been affected by cancer. Those holding up signs were shown on the videoboard, reminding us that cancer is a disease that affects so many of us. (Want to include a similar element to your game? We have free “I Play4” signs available to download on our fundraising tools page).

Keeping with the cheerfulness of the day, the Baysox were able to take home a win after taking an early-game lead.

Overall, the game was a great combination of cancer awareness and acknowledgement for the survivors among us who provide hope every day for a future without cancer.

To view more photos from the Baysox game and all other stops on our Summer Series tour, visit our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in contributing to our efforts, click here.

Next Stop: Potomac Nationals, June 15, 2018 at 7:05pm.

Summer Series fundraising total: $3,038

 

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A Day Honoring Survivors!

National Cancer Survivor Day

National Cancer Survivors Day is observed each year on the first Sunday in June. So today, people far and near will be coming together to celebrate life, inspire and support those battling cancer, provide guidance for the families and caregivers of cancer-patients, show gratitude to medical professionals and demonstrate to the world that it’s possible to thrive after cancer.

National Cancer Survivors Day helps to bring awareness to some of the common struggles faced by people battling the disease, improve cancer-survivor legislation, increase resources and promote research. All are worthy initiatives, and the latter, of course, is of special interest to the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR).

With this all being said, the Day also celebrates advances in treatments which are leading to a growing number of cancer survivors. As such, the excitement and mission of the Day can provide helpful motivation for those who are considering donating to cancer research.

Our organization recognizes this reality and has decided to match all donations, up to $130,000, for the months of May and June. So, if you’ve been on the fence as to making a donation or not, this is an ideal time to support this important cause and have your contribution go far.

There are over 15.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today. Due to an increase in treatment effectiveness and an aging and expanding population, this number is projected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026. This growth is tremendously encouraging. However, it does raise some important questions regarding post-cancer care.

Beating cancer is often considered the final step of an intensive cancer-fighting journey. However, the health-journey doesn’t end when the cancer does. Substantial bone loss, pain and lack of function due to surgery, immune suppression, fatigue and general distress, among other uncomfortable symptoms, can persist for years following. On this Day, it’s important to refresh our compassion towards cancer survivors and show them that we recognize their continued struggles. In addition, as a community, we can help to connect survivors with resources that can help them to continue their health journeys.

National Cancer Survivors Day is the perfect opportunity to come together to demonstrate and celebrate the possibility of success. This Day can help deepen support networks by connecting people from all areas of the community. Finally, it can help to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges for cancer survivorship and can inspire new solutions to these challenges.


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Immunotherapy: Where We’re Headed

It is the “new territory” of oncology: Getting the immune system to successfully fight a standing cancer. No other biological system within our bodies is more suited, adept or evolved to such a purpose. Indeed, our immune system is remarkably successful in spotting and destroying the tiny genetic mutations from which a tumor arises.

Except when it isn’t.

The ability of cancer, any cancer, to go unnoticed by the body is one trait which what makes it so formidable and unique a disease type. Unfortunately, the goal of totally reorienting the immune system in any way is still unrealized. But that is not to say science has not come very close. Indeed, it is getting closer.

June is Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month. And the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is excited to be offering this blog post—a deeper dive into this equally exciting tumor treatment category, still only in its adolescence.

Let’s look at differing elements of immunotherapy.   

Monoclonal Antibodies

A diverse group, monoclonal antibodies, also known as MABs, work by attaching themselves to cancer cells, thereby making it easier for the patient’s body to recognize them as hostile. One type of MABs, called checkpoint inhibitors, block the proteins cancer produces which, otherwise, “inhibit” a desired immune response. They are already used to treat some melanomas and lung cancers. Still other MABs prevent cancer cells from dividing.

Cytokines

Perhaps the most famous cytokine is interferon. At its most basic, interferons are naturally occurring proteins made by the cells of the immune system. While they do not directly kill cancerous cells, interferons do modulate how the immune system responds to a threat, cancer or otherwise. However, scientists have since manufactured interferons using recombinant DNA as cancer therapies, such as interferon alfa-2a (also known as Roferon-A), which is used to treat hairy cell leukemia, HIV/AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma, and chronic myelogenous leukemia. Another type of cytokine is aldesleukin, used most often in attacking kidney cancer.

Cancer Vaccines

A relatively new idea, a cancer vaccine works along the same lines as vaccines for smallpox or the flu, the idea behind a cancer vaccine is to “fool” a patient’s immune system into thinking it is suffering a malignancy—even though, in the case of “preventive” vaccines it may not be, versus “therapeutic” vaccines, where it is. The result is the creation of antibodies capable of staving off cancer before it has a chance to take root, or to stop a cancer already underway, or to destroy any cancer cells remaining after another form of treatment.

Adoptive Cell Transfers

Still very new, the most promising adoptive cell transfer technology, CAR T-cell therapy, is a process by which a patient’s T-cells, also called “killer” T-cells, are harvested and genetically engineered in order to better seek and destroy cancer that has so far eluded detection. These man-made T-cells can persist in the body for years, guarding against cancer’s return.

Oncolytic Virus Therapy

The idea of injecting a virus into an already sick patient can be unsettling, but this type of immunotherapy is already being used to treat melanoma, the most virulent form of skin cancer. A genetically modified virus is put into a tumor, where it invades the constituent cells and begins to make copies of itself, causing the infected cell to eventually burst and die. As those cells die, they release antigens that a patient’s immune system recognizes and then creates antibodies targeting all cells with those same antigens. The virus does not harm the patient.

BCG

Short for Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, this technology is currently used to treat bladder cancer. Similar in idea to oncolytic virus therapy, this technology uses a bacterium instead of a virus. A weakened form of the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis is inserted into the bladder, causing an immune response against the cancer cells. This process is being studied for other cancers as well.

All these therapies are administered in familiar ways, such as orally, topically, intravenously, or via the bladder, a process called intravesical. As a field, immunotherapy still qualifies as an emerging science, trailing well behind the conventional cancer treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. At the same time, several immunotherapies have moved out of clinical trials and are open to the public, while other immunotherapies are already in clinical trials.

Multiple NFCR-funded fellows are performing research on the cutting edge of the immunotherapy categories introduced above. For example, Wayne Marasco, M.D., Ph.D., is recognized as a world-leader in the field of monoclonal antibodies, and his efforts hold great promise for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, and other tumor types. Cytokine and viral cancer therapies both are associated with few scientists whose laboratories offer as much promise as do those of Paul Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D. Other recent examples include CAR-T expert, Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D.

This is the field of immunotherapy. And with our understanding of genetics and genetic engineering growing in leaps and bounds every day, it is a field generating tremendous hope for cancer treatments. With justification—and NFCR support!  

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Springtime with Cancer

Spring is nearing its end, and summer is nearly upon us.

As the season of beginnings approaches its end, let’s recall the effortless, fresh and optimistic tone which it inspires in so many of us. It is always possible to connect to the reality of the beautiful nuances and cycles that continue to unfold within the environment. Just as the seasons continue to change, so too can the human physiological processes which underpin health be impacted by these fluctuations.

Let’s take advantage of the benefits as we may!

Spending time outdoors, for example, actually has been shown to reduce some of the stress hormones thought to promote cancer. This is because breathing in fresh air has the amazing capacity to relax the central nervous system. It can also help connect emotions, thoughts and breath. This has the powerful ability to evoke moments of gratitude and, even, joy; which, are considered two of the most desirable emotions. These emotions are actually correlated to cancer survival, studies have shown.

When you combine this with healthy outdoor exercise, you’re really taking steps to improve your health and well-being. Spending time outside is often undervalued and underappreciated. Springtime is the perfect reminder of the real potency which it holds, especially when it comes to mental and physiologic health.  

In addition to the warming temperatures, the springtime offers a multitude of new smells, colors and sounds, all of which seem to symbolize the onset of new life and the connections which come along with it. Such vibrancy can be the substance of inspiration for social connection. It can help to improve relatability and increase social engagement, both of which are shown to increase longevity. This, and the added vitamin D, could be partially why cancer survival rates improve as the weather does. It is recommended that every cancer patient have a solid and diverse support system. There is no better time than spring to reach out to the community for support, advice and connection. If you currently don’t have this support in your life, allow the singing birds to inspire you to seek out more connection.

The freshness of spring often ignites a desire to consume healthier foods. This is partially because springtime generally offers an expanding availability of healthy local fruits and vegetables. It can make seasonal eating much more enticing. Whether you live on the U.S. West Coast and have exposure to apricots, the East with exposure to arugula, the North, with exposure to asparagus or in the South, with exposure to eggplant; take the time to explore what fresh and local foods are available to you. Then, check online for new and easy recipes you can use to create something new with your local ingredients. This can provide you with the antioxidants, phytonutrients and micro-minerals which are beneficial for immune and metabolic health. Both of which are important when fighting cancer and dealing with some of the more destructive aspects of cancer treatments.

Allow the spring—and approaching summer—to inspire healthy exercise, a new mental outlook, meaningful social engagement and tasty seasonal eating.

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NFCR Links German Cancer Research Center and Chinese Medical Institutions

The delegation meeting with the Honorable Zhu Chen & Wei He

The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) has been promoting and facilitating collaboration among scientists from different countries, yet another role played by the organization in its efforts to help defeat the disease. Case in point: Earlier this month NFCR President Dr. Sujuan Ba played the key role in establishing communications between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and multiple world-class medical institutes and hospitals in China.

A leading European biomedical research institution headquartered in Heidelberg, DKFZ conducts comprehensive and in-depth oncology research, and its findings are employed to develop new approaches for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Among its many talented researchers are Dr. Harald zur Hausen, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology, and Dr. Stefan Hell, winner of 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Dr. Ba has been working in partnership with DKFZ and the Hong Kong-based Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) to craft a research and scientific exchange visit to China by the German institution’s management team and top scientists. The mission culminated last week and included herself and DKFZ Scientific Chair and CEO Dr. Michael Baumann, Administrative Director Dr. Josef Puchta and International Relations Coordinator Dr. Eike Martin, as well as NFCR Scientific Advisory Board Chairman Dr. Webster Cavenee and, representing AFCR, Dr. Michael Wang, a member of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Thanks to NFCR and AFCR’s coordination, the delegation met with His Excellency Zhu Chen, Ph.D., Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress and the country’s former Minister of Health, and His Excellency Wei He, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Agreement was reached by the group to advance communication and collaboration between DKFZ and Chinese scientific research and clinical institutes. Dr. Chen’s affiliation with NFCR runs particularly deep, as he was winner of our 2012 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research.

The delegation meeting with CMU & BTH

The delegation too visited Capital Medical University (CMU), a top academic institution. There they met with CMU President Dr. Yongfeng Shang, President Dr. Yongjun Wang of CMU’s affiliated Beijing Tiantan Hospital (BTH), BTH Neurosurgery Chairman Dr. Jizong Zhao and Dr. Wenbin Li, Director of the China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases (NCRC-ND), whose facility they too toured. The parties expressed interest in building up long-term cooperation in the field of brain tumor research and treatment, and to gradually expand to all cancer types. Exchange programs could allow CMU graduate students and young scientists to study at DKFZ and participate in collaborative research projects.

The delegation meeting with NCRC-ND

During the mission, NFCR and AFCR also arranged for DKFZ to visit Peking University Cancer Hospital, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai Institute of Hematology and Fudan University Huashan Hospital. These engagements with the hospitals’ leaders were designed to allow for future cooperation and exchange programs between the various parties and improve global efforts to defeat cancer and, ultimately, find a cure for the deadly disease.

The delegation meeting with Peking University Cancer Hospital

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RECAP: Play4TheCure Summer Series Game One

The Play4TheCure team had our very first tour stop as part of the P4TC Summer Series. After a long week of rain, the sun came out and the Frederick Keys were able to host their Play4TheCure #ALLCAPS game as a part of a double header on Sunday.  The #ALLCAPS theme is in support for the local professional hockey team, the Washington Capitals, currently playing in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Keys took on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at home wearing the Washington Capitals “Summer Classic” themed jerseys, winning both games of the doubleheader. The Play4TheCure team was set up on the concourse passing out information, answering questions and handing out bracelets, temporary tattoos, bags and t-shirts. Also on the concourse were members of the Frederick Keys marketing team auctioning off the game-worn Capitals-themed jerseys and a signed puck by Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. Winning fans were able to go on the field after the game to meet the players, take photos and have them sign their game worn jerseys. 

Before the start of the second game Steve Yax, a cancer caregiver, threw out the first pitch on behalf of Play4TheCure. Afterwards, he joined us as a volunteer on the concourse to speak with fans about our work.

As game one started so did the always popular prize wheel surrounded by kids running up for the chance to win Keys themed prizes. This was a great way to get kids involved and excited about giving back to a great cause!

The Keys also held a 50/50 raffle, so one lucky fan was able to take home $131, as Play4TheCure received the other half, funding cancer research for a CURE.

We loved being out there spreading the word about our program, we still have three more games included in our Summer Series; make sure you come out and support!

Next Stop: Bowie Baysox, Saturday, June 2, 2018 at 6:35pm.

Summer Series fundraising total: $2886

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