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"Our Research Identity"
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last month, we held our second Town Hall meeting highlighting the progress we have made over the last 6 months.  One of the most important tasks that we accomplished was the creation of our “Cancer Center’s Research Identity”.  You can think of a cancer center as a house with three pillars. These pillars are Basic Science Research, Clinical Research, and Population Health Research.  Within each pillar are unique research programs that allow everyone within that pillar to work together.  In addition, every cancer center have Trans-Center Themes that allow all the Pillars to work with one another.  This complex interaction is what forms each center's unique identity.  Over the last year, we evaluated our strengths and weaknesses, as well as determined the national trends in cancer research.  Based on this, we have selected the following Research Programs and Trans-Center themes to serve as our “unique identity”:  

Over the next few months, we will be releasing a web based process that will allow our cancer clinicians and researchers to apply for formal UC Cancer Center membership.  Each member will be assigned to one of the three research programs. Researchers will be able to apply to become either full or associate members, and members will have access to core services, programs, pilot funding, and cancer center support.  We are excited about our progress to date, and even more excited about the progress we expect to occur over the next few years.

Syed A. Ahmad, MD, FACS
Professor of Surgery
The Hayden Family Endowed Chair for Cancer Research
Co-Director, UC Cancer Center
William Barrett, MD
Professor & Chairman of Radiation Oncology
Co-Director, UC Cancer Center

Pier Paolo Scaglioni, MD and Caterina Bartolacci, PhD recently published a manuscript in Cancer Discovery, a high-profile cancer journal.  The research article is titled, “Medium-chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase protects mitochondria from lipid peroxidation in glioblastoma” and is the result of a collaboration with investigators at MD Anderson and the University of Michigan.  This article addresses the role of lipid metabolism in Glioblastoma. The investigators report that depletion of medium-chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD), which is involved in the oxidation of medium chain fatty acids, results in energetic impairment, lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress that cause the death of Glioblastoma cells.  

Dr. Scaglioni and Dr. Bartolacci contributed to the cutting-edge lipidomics studies. Their data uncover a novel protective role for medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) to clear lipid molecules that may cause lethal cell damage. Accordingly, MCAD may represent a novel target for drug development. The University of Cincinnati has one of only three labs that can perform this type of work in the United States. This research is in line with the UC Cancer Center’s emphasis of cancer metabolism.   


Multidisciplinary collaboration is accelerating research discovery and clinical trials in the University of Cincinnati, Gardner Neuroscience Institute Brain Tumor Center (UCGNI BTC).  Led by Dr. Mario Zuccarello, Department of Neurosurgery, the UCGNI BTC is launching a new research grant funding mechanism focusing on Research Teams, which is an inter-institutional collaborative enterprise.    

In order to advance therapy in brain tumors, the following translational research has been accomplished: 

  • Dr. Chenran Wang has identified autophagy-dependent fatty acid oxidation as a metabolic vulnerability of glioblastomas. 

  • Dr. Biplab Dasgupta’s group has demonstrated experimental therapeutic targeting of the SCD1 gene in glioblastoma.  

  • Dr. Xiaoyang Qi has demonstrated brain tumor delivery of radioisotopes by targeting phospholipids phosphatidylserine.  

  • Dr. Pomeranz Krummel has designed RNA therapeutics to target gliomas and medulloblastomas using focused ultrasound technology with collaborators.   

The following clinical research highlights from the BTC are as follows.  

  • Dr. Desai in collaboration with Dr. Wise-Draper has almost completed the Phase 1 study in recurrent GBM with Letrozole.  

  • Dr. Garrett has a clinical research study, looking at strategies to detect markers in CSF in GBM patients.  

  • Dr. Rebola and Dr. Sengupta will be opening the ARMCAN App trial in breast cancer chemobrain patients, IRB was just approved. 

In drug delivery and pharmacokinetics, projects led by Drs. Daniel Pomeranz Krummel, Soma Sengupta, Andrew Steckl and Ricardo Barille, are investigating novel platforms to deliver therapeutics tailored to brain tumor vulnerabilities.   

In terms of recent publications: 

  • Pomeranz Krummel and Sengupta, are co-authors on major work that is coming out on April 30, in Science Advances on Focused Ultrasound technology and RNA therapeutics in brain cancers. 

  • Sengupta and Sasaki with colleagues from the BTC, co-authored a single chapter in Gliomas, edited by Waldemar Debinski. 

The BTC Community Advisory Committee recently completed its Sip, Savor and Support event, an online auction that raised over $40,000 in support of research, education and patient advocacy for brain tumor stakeholders.  Through the partnership with our community supporters, the BTC will deliver novel technology and clinical trials to benefit patients and families affected by tumors in the Cincinnati region and beyond.  

The Cure Starts Now Brain Tumor Center at CCHMC, co-led by Drs. Peter de Blank, Trent Hummel and Richard Lu provides care for over 800 children with central nervous system tumors in the region and has a broad national and international referral base for novel experimental therapies for children with high-risk brain tumors. The program is one of the largest in the country and saw over 180 new patients with newly-diagnosed or recurrent brain tumors in the last year. Patients are followed by 6 clinical neuro-oncologists. In addition to regular neuro-oncology clinics, the Brain Tumor Center conducts twice weekly comprehensive multidisciplinary clinics by faculty from a variety of other disciplines to ensure that children and young adults with brain tumors receive optimal care.  

The mission of the Brain Tumor Center is to rapidly delineate the biological underpinnings of high-risk pediatric brain tumors, and to translate these findings to clinical applications that lead to cures and improved quality-of-life for children and young adults with brain tumors.   Read more here.....

Do you have a patient with a personal and/or family history of cancer? If so, this individual may benefit from meeting with a genetic counselor! The goal of a genetic counseling session is to help patients and their physicians gather and understand genetic information about hereditary cancer risk. This information may better facilitate screening or medical management decisions, as well as inform family members of potential cancer risks. 
Elements of a genetic counseling session include: 
  • Evaluation of personal and family history 
  • Comprehensive risk assessment for familial and hereditary cancers   
  • Thorough pre-test counseling regarding the benefits and limitations of genetic testing and facilitation of genetic testing 
  • Post-test counseling to discuss the implications of genetic test results and risk-management options for the patient and family members. 
Currently there are three certified and licensed genetic counselors from the Hereditary Cancer Program at CCHMC who see patients through the UC Barrett Cancer Center. In-person and telemedicine appointments are available every Tuesday – Friday. If you have questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to reach out to Jennifer Hopper, MS, CGC (lead genetic counselor) at 513-803-2155 or

William Barrett, MD, W. Brian Gibler, MD, and Peter Stern, MD, have been named the 2021 recipients of Daniel Drake Medals. 

“This trio has dedicated more than 11 decades of outstanding service to the College of Medicine, served as national leaders and authorities in their respective fields and made significant contributions to their specialties, the college and the health of our community,” says Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean. 

The Daniel Drake Medal is given annually to living faculty or alumni for their outstanding and unique contributions to medical education, scholarship and research. The award was established in 1985 to honor the 200th birthday of Daniel Drake, MD, the founder of the Medical College of Ohio, the forerunner of the College of Medicine, and one of the most influential physicians, educators and scientists of 19th century America. Since then, with this year’s medalists, 91 people have been honored with Drake Medals. 


Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH, is a hematologist-oncologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco. He runs the VKPrasad lab at UCSF, which studies cancer drugs, health policy, clinical trials and better decision making. He is author of of over 280 academic articles, and the books Ending Medical Reversal (2015), and Malignant (2020). He hosts the oncology podcast Plenary Session, and runs a YouTube Channel VinayPrasadMDMPH. As a part of the Biostatistics and Evidence Appraisal for Radiation Oncologists series hosted by UC Radiation Oncology, Vinay Prasad, MD, MPH spoke about "Clinical Trial Design and Endpoints" on November 24, 2020.   

In his presentation, Dr. Prasad discusses clinical trial design and common pitfalls.


If you are a researcher or clinician with a demonstrated interest in cancer prevention, you may want to consider applying for NCI’s Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program.

Sponsored by NCI, this program supports postdoctoral research and professional development plus offers competitive stipends, relocation expenses, health insurance benefits, and travel allowances.  The support is for four years. This is an opportunity to earn your MPH with experienced NCI mentors. 

Disciplines encompassed by the fellowship program include:  Epidemiology, Biomedical Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Nursing, Medicine, Health Services, Disparities, Psychology, Nutritional Sciences, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Biostatistics, Engineering, Translational Science, Public Health, and more. 

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Celebrate with fellow riders and their guests at the exclusive Ride Cincinnati Kickoff Party on Friday, September 17, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the Top of the Park at The Phelps. Enjoy music, food and beverages and pick up your Rider credentials.  On Saturday, September 18, Riders will depart from downtown Cincinnati, completing routes ranging from 15 miles to 100 miles. Riders are then invited back to Yeatman’s Cove to a special rider celebration until 2:00 p.m.  Click here for registration information
UC Foundation Request For Proposal Announcements

If a funding possibility listed below interests you, please contact Amy Pass at at least one week prior to the deadline to ensure coordination and facilitate assistance with approaches. The UC Foundation Corporate & Foundation Relations team, led by Carol Russell, will also assist in the process.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance fights against ovarian cancer on all fronts, including in the lab and on Capitol Hill, while also supporting women and their families. To help advance that mission, OCRA is inviting applications for its Ann and Sol Schreiber Mentored Investigator Award program. Through the program, grants of $75,000 over two years will be awarded to trainees (postdoctoral or clinical fellows) working under the supervision of a mentor who is a recognized leader in the field of ovarian cancer research.
To be eligible, applicants must have an MD or PhD degree. Selected applications will be invited to submit a complete application in July.
The UC Cancer Center is a Cancer Program Member of the Association of Community Cancer Centers, which entitles everyone who is affiliated with the cancer program to receive ACCC member benefits. The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), the leading education and advocacy organization for the multidisciplinary cancer team. We are pleased to provide the following tools and resources, at absolutely no cost to you, as a member of our multidisciplinary team:
  • Subscription to the bimonthly journal Oncology Issues
  • Access to the most up-to-date public policy changes and advocacy issues affecting the oncology team through our Legislative Action Center and a biweekly email newsletter, ACCConnect.
The UC Cancer Center is also a member of the Advisory Board Oncology Roundtable and a subscriber to The Cancer Letter. To access these resources, please contact the UC Cancer Center.
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