Page 1

A Thing of Beauty Organizations work together to help patients Look Good ‌ Feel Better

Volunteer Arline Jackson has given makeovers to more than 2,000 cancer patients. Page 16

seek SPRING 2010

Editor Susan Van Dusen Art Director Laurie Shell Photographer Johnpaul Jones

Seek is published quarterly for the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute by the Office of Communications & Marketing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 W. Markham St. #890, Little Rock, AR 72205-7199; phone (501) 686-5686; Fax (501) 686-6020.

Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Peter D. Emanuel, M.D. Associate Director of Administration, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Shirley Gray Executive Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Foundation Rachelle Sanders Database Manager Kelly Pollnow


As I write this column, spring has finally arrived in Arkansas! It seems to have gotten here about two or three weeks late, considering all of the extra doses of snow and sleet we received this winter. With spring comes the added excitement that we are nearing the grand opening of our new 12-story tower. Some might think that after the construction company hands us the keys, so to speak, we simply walk in and begin normal operations. Nothing could be further from the truth! In reality, we have a multitude of task forces that have worked diligently for several months preparing us for this move. We plan to celebrate our grand opening in grand style on July 30, with an event honoring cancer survivors. If you are in the area, please join us for this joyful celebration, which will be followed on Aug. 2 by our first day to welcome patients in the new building. Until then, we have plenty of inspiring stories to share in this issue of Seek. Read about an incredible group of women from Ashley County who truly define the term “grassroots effort.” If you can imagine it, they can do it — all to promote breast cancer education and screenings at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. They have rallied their community around the breast cancer cause through hosting community dinners, holding rummage sales, sponsoring rodeo nights and selling delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. We are indebted to them for their dedication and drive! You also can read about John King, a courageous man from Bald Knob. After being diagnosed with a large lung tumor initially deemed inoperable, he was given a second chance by the experts on our lung cancer team. By first undergoing chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, Mr. King was able to undergo surgery and have it completely removed. Finally, we highlight advances in breast cancer screening, including UAMS’ new digital mobile mammography unit — the MammoVan. The traveling unit regularly visits 26 Arkansas counties that lack FDAapproved certified mammography facilities. On board the MammoVan you also can find a patient navigator ready to help women with needs such as transportation and follow-up care. Without the help of our patient navigators, many people simply wouldn’t have the ability to receive the health care services they need. I hope you enjoy this issue of Seek, and I also hope to see you at our grand opening this summer.

Peter D. Emanuel, M.D. Director, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute 2


Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

contents SPRING 2010



Bridging the Gap

Cancer Institute takes its mammography services statewide.

Action Figures

A group of women bands together to battle breast cancer.


Natural Born Killers

Research by Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., focuses on the deadliest form of myeloma.

Not Just a Pretty Face


The Right fit


Women in cancer treatment bring their inner beauty out at Look Good … Feel Better.

Researchers use stimulus funds to study a common chemotherapy side effect.


10 12

in every issue Profile ............................................................... 4 Lung cancer survivor John King beat the odds.

Medicine Bag................................................... 14

Daohong Zhou, M.D. Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Blass Lecture caBIG


Expansion........................................................ 22 Moving an institute is no simple task.

Spotlight.................................................................25 A Thingauty of Be

Cover photo by Johnpaul Jones

Day at the Races

Cooks Tour

The Doctor is in … The Heights

to help together ions work … Feel Better Organizat Look Good patients

“It was luck of the draw that I was fortunate enough to be born a Rockefeller. But with that comes the additional obligation, or I should say opportunity, to do some good.”  Winthrop P. Rockefeller 1948-2006 Arline Volunteer given has Jackson to more makeovers cancer than 2,000 Page 16 patients.

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute



Back From the Brink A Bald Knob man credits UAMS with helping him escape death in his battle with lung cancer. By David Robinson



Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits



experience, King was impressed with the multiple ohn King half joked that he should doctors and nurses who showed the care and be the poster child for UAMS. At a healthy determination to save him. 6 feet 4 inches tall, he doesn’t quite fit the mold, Only minutes into his anaphylactic shock, he but he’s sure he wouldn’t be alive today if he said, Arnaoutakis was at his bedside, despite having hadn’t come to UAMS. to come from his seventh-floor clinic in the Cancer Just a few months ago, the 62-year-old Institute to the first floor where King was. Bald Knob man’s substantial frame was slumped “He had to run,” King said. “That’s just one in a wheelchair as he got some bad news from example. These people just plain care.” Matthew Steliga, M.D., a surgeon specializing in King also credits his wife, Donna, a registered lung cancer, esophageal cancer and other tumors nurse for 31 years, for helping him on the road to of the chest. recovery. She has been his advocate, monitoring King had come to UAMS for ear surgery, his medications and helping restore his strength but a preoperative X-ray revealed a grapefruitand lung function with a proper diet and regular sized tumor on his right lung. Plans for his ear exercise. surgery were scrapped and he was “By the time I saw Dr. Steliga fast-tracked to Steliga and other he didn’t recognize me,” King members of the lung cancer team at It’s an absolute again, said. “He said, “Are you really 6’4’?’ the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller miracle that The last time he saw me I was in a Cancer Institute. wheelchair.” Steliga told King the tumor I’m alive.” The radiation and chemotherapy would need to shrink significantly had done their part, too, reducing before it could be removed. King the tumor to about half its size was referred to Konstantinos — small enough for Steliga to remove. After the Arnaoutakis, M.D., a hematologist/oncologist surgery, Steliga had good news for King: The tumor specializing in lung cancer, and Vaneerat was completely removed, 90 percent of it was dead Ratanatharathorn, M.D., a radiation oncologist tissue, and all his lymph nodes were negative for and chair of the Department of Radiation cancer. Oncology. A few months after the surgery, King was Before meeting with the two doctors, King grateful. nearly died from a collapsed lung. He labored “I have never to breathe and was too weak to walk, and been treated Arnaoutakis was concerned that he might not UAMS’ lung cancer program better; I have survive the simultaneous treatment of radiation was created last year with never been in and chemotherapy. But Ratanatharathorn specialists who are giving better hands than countered that King wouldn’t survive if the mass lung cancer patients hope I was at UAMS,” wasn’t reduced in size. by offering new treatments he said. “It’s an “Let’s do it,” King told them. and minimally invasive But first he had to survive another brush with absolute miracle procedures. that I’m alive.” death that resulted from a rare allergic reaction to a chemotherapy drug. As with his other near-death

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute



Bridging the Gap Women statewide are getting access to breast cancer screening like never before. By Nate Hinkel

What has long seemed like an uphill battle, just got easier. With only a handful of major cities scattered across Arkansas, making quality health care services equally accessible to all Arkansans is always a challenge. But thanks to technological advances and cutting-edge research at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, medical services are reaching parts of the state and saving lives like never before. “Just because you live in a rural part of the state doesn’t mean you should not have access to the same health care services other Arkansans have access to,” said Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., breast cancer surgeon and director of the UAMS Cancer Control Program. “It’s paramount we continue getting data about underserved populations and finding ways to get services to them. The number of lives we can change could be quite large.” Considering that the American Cancer Society estimates that 1,820 Arkansas women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and 410 women died from the disease, the Cancer Institute has made it a priority to extend the latest in mammography services across the state. It’s been proven over and over again that early detection and treatment provides the best chance of surviving breast cancer, and getting a mammogram is the first and most effective step toward early diagnosis. 6


Clinic on Wheels The UAMS Cancer Control Program’s research identified 26 counties in Arkansas that lack FDAapproved certified mammography facilities. “So the next question to be answered was, ‘How do we provide these services to the thousands of women in these areas?’” Henry-Tillman said. “We knew the need was there, and we just needed to find the best way to reach them.” The answer was unveiled earlier this year when Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

Sarah Lane (left) and Kimberly Enoch are two of the UAMS staff members who travel the state in the MammoVan providing mammograms for women in underserved communities.

We knew the need was there, and we just needed to find the best way to reach them.”

the curtain was lifted on the MammoVan, a mobile mammography unit that will travel to the counties that lack the facilities to provide digital screening mammograms and breast care education. “Our goal is that the MammoVan will fill the many gaps in health care services for women who may not have the ability to travel outside of their county to receive a mammogram,” said Kimberly Enoch, program manager for the Arkansas Cancer Community Network within the Cancer Control Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Program and for the MammoVan. “We aim to serve up to 1,000 Arkansas women this year by making the service as easy and convenient for them as possible. In subsequent years, we’re optimistic that number will grow.”

Image is Everything The MammoVan features the most advanced digital radiology equipment, which gives patients the most accurate and accessible readings possible. » seek


The Cancer Institute has long been a leader in offering state-of-the-art radiology services to women in the fight against breast cancer. The UAMS Breast Center was the first facility in central Arkansas to offer digital mammography and is the only center with an MRI unit dedicated exclusively to breast exams. It switched from film screen mammography to digital more than six years ago. “Digital mammograms without a doubt provide the best technology for detecting the earliest stages of breast cancer,” said Sarah Lane, a senior lead diagnostic radiology technologist in the UAMS Department of Radiology who also works with the MammoVan. Lane says the telling advantage of digital mammography is the superior quality of the breast image they receive and their ability to manipulate it to more accurately make a diagnosis. It also allows for her to easily adjust and magnify the image, reducing the time a patient spends being examined. Robert L. Fincher, M.D., director of breast imaging and medical director of the UAMS Breast Center, is a pioneer in the field of breast imaging, having interpreted more than 150,000 mammograms and performed more than 15,000 breast ultrasounds, 8,000 needle localizations and 5,000 core biopsies during his career. He says women who receive an abnormal or inconclusive mammogram are also at an advantage at UAMS. An MRI program known as RODEO (Rotating Delivery of Excitation Off-resonance) can benefit women even further than traditional mammography. The unique 30-minute procedure provides a more specific and sensitive reading, and also is used in annual screenings for high-risk patients.

low screening rates in rural areas and because of long intervals between screening, confirmed diagnosis and treatment. Enoch says a fix for that disconnect is a service called patient navigation, which provides women with personalized assistance in breaking down barriers that might cause delays between abnormal screening and definitive cancer diagnosis. “We provide education and training for patient navigators, and they’re supported by primary care physicians and community organizations,” Enoch said. “Patient navigation has quickly become an integral part of helping breast cancer patients through the process.” The Cancer Institute has three highly trained patient navigators who have assisted more than 3,000 women with breast cancer navigate from their initial screening mammogram though their treatment process. Patient navigators can help with everything from arranging for transportation to locating financial assistance when available. There also are navigators at UAMS for patients with colorectal and prostate cancers, with a cervical cancer system to be in place soon.

Finding Their Way In addition to the challenges some rural women face in getting to mammography facilities, there also can be confusion following a cancer diagnosis about the best route through the treatment maze. That disconnect is often the result of late diagnoses due to 8


Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

Taking it to the Streets Thanks to the MammoVan, women in 26 Arkansas counties now have the opportunity for state-of-the-art breast cancer screening and education. The three-room mobile unit is loaded with the most advanced digital mammography equipment and staffed by a certified mammography technologist and a technical assistant. “Women who visit the MammoVan are given their test results within just two weeks,” said Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., breast cancer surgeon and director of the UAMS Cancer Control Program. “Their results also will be automatically sent to each patient’s primary care physician. If the mammogram shows a potential abnormality, the patient will be

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

referred for follow-up to the appropriate services.” The MammoVan is handicapped accessible, with a wheelchair lift entering directly into the mammography suite. The actual mammography unit is specially designed to accommodate women in a standing or seated position. “Every detail is covered to ensure that patients feel like a state-of-the-art doctor’s visit can be achieved in all corners of the state,” said Kimberly Enoch, program director of the MammoVan. “Regardless of income, geographic location or physical limitations, we want every woman in Arkansas to have the same opportunity for access to a mammogram.” Being able to bring them this valuable tool for breast

health education and promoting early detection of cancer will make a big difference. As of the end of April 2010, the MammoVan had already screened more than 340 women with an average of 23 patients at each stop. For information about the MammoVan’s schedule or to determine if you qualify for services, call (800) 259-8794. Evidence-based data demonstrating the importance in reducing cancer disparities by addressing access to mammography screening was provided by the Arkansas Cancer Community Network (ARCCN). This research network is funded by the National Cancer Institute Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.



A ction Figures Ashley County women band together to raise funds for cancer research. By Jon Parham



Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

It gives meaning to your life when you can help someone in need.”

After seeing breast cancer affect friends, family and neighbors, some women in Ashley County wanted to fight back. That desire to help has grown into an enduring effort that has raised more than $105,000 for cancer outreach and research in the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. In 2005, Bernice Nelms suggested to fellow Hamburg Chamber of Commerce board members that they could do something for several women in the community she knew who had been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. “I said we needed to do something to let people know we care,” Nelms said, adding that she was subsequently tapped to organize what became a dinner and auction that raised some $8,000. “We decided we wanted to keep it going the next year because the response was so good.” Today, about 20 women make up the Ashley County Cares group that grew out of that original event. Along with continuing to hold an October annual dinner and auction, they also have added a growing list of fundraisers: The group has sold cinnamon rolls, sponsored rodeo nights, sold T-shirts, organized a 5K race, held rummage sales and planned other projects. To date, their fundraising has totaled about $105,000 and counting. Nelms saw the work of the Cancer Institute while her mother— today a seven-year survivor — was being treated by breast surgeon Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D. She suggested donating the funds to UAMS to both research and community outreach programs. Since then the funds have been split between breast cancer research programs and the institute’s Cancer Control and Outreach Department — funding more than 600 cancer screenings. Inez Barnes couldn’t participate in the group at first since she was in the midst of treatment for breast cancer. She surpassed the five-year mark in February and is deeply involved now in Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Ashley County Cares, helping stage the 5K Run/ One Mile Walk along with Stacey Breshears, run director. “I don’t ever want anyone to go through what I went through,” Barnes said of painful and exhausting chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Barnes attributes the group’s success to dedication and that “people want to help. I think it gives meaning to your life when you can help someone in need.” Elaine Outlaw and her husband also joined the effort along the way, hosting an annual trail ride on their 130 acres in Milo, Ark. More than 200 riders came last October for a meal, live entertainment and a trail ride, raising nearly $5,000. One Texas group hitched their horses to a wagon and rode all the way to Milo, said Outlaw, who kept the trail ride going following her husband’s 2007 death from cancer, in part to honor his memory. Donna Shields, president of Ashley County Cares, joined Nelms initially to establish the organization. She had two coworkers in the Hamburg schools who had been diagnosed and wanted to help in some way. She believes the group will keep growing, adding more fundraisers and garnering more attention for the cause. In fact, the group recently drew praise from the Arkansas BreastCare organization, which in March presented Ashley County Cares with one of its Josetta Wilkins Awards for “developing a reputation as one of the hardest working organizations fighting breast cancer in the state.” “It doesn’t look to do anything but get bigger. We plan to keep this up until there’s a cure,” Shields said. For Barnes, another message from the group’s success is that size does not matter. “You don’t have to be a big group of people to do something that will help people,” she said. seek


Natural Born By David Robinson


UAMS researchers have bombarded myeloma cancer cells with everything at their disposal. Radiation, chemotherapy, innovative combinations of drugs, and bone marrow and blood stem cell transplants have been used with great success. In fact, the UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy is world-renowned for extending the life expectancy and improving the quality of life for myeloma patients. Still, researchers have been stymied by the most aggressive forms of myeloma. About 15 percent of patients have highrisk myeloma and don’t do well with existing therapies. Another 30 percent to 40 percent of all patients who go into remission will relapse and die from an aggressive form of the disease. “There are currently no good drugs available to tackle the high-risk disease,” said Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., who leads immunology research at the Myeloma Institute. “We can get patients into remission, but the duration of remission is brief, so they relapse fast and overall survival is short.” Now, after years of research with immune cells, van Rhee is 12


on the verge of a breakthrough that could save patients from the deadliest forms of myeloma. The research involves natural killer cells, and clinical trials could begin by the end of the year. I’m actually quite positive that this will be effective,” said van Rhee, who joined UAMS in 2000. “I am excited. There’s been a lot of work that has been going on for quite a few years.” Van Rhee became interested in immune cells when he discovered their powerful role in fighting adult leukemia at Hammersmith Hospital in London in the early 1990s. Today he spends 80 percent of his time seeing patients. The balance of his time is focused on studying the immunological aspects of myeloma. His work is funded by multiple National Institutes

of Health (NIH) grants that total about $750,000 a year. That includes a slice of a $19.5 million research grant to the Myeloma Institute from the NIH’s National Cancer Institute. Natural killer cells are immune cells that exist in the blood and are primarily defenses against virally infected cells. But they also recognize and can kill tumor cells. Natural killer cells have shown definitively that they work in myeloma-infected mice, van Rhee’s most recent study. The key has been the discovery of stimulator cells that cause natural killer cells to expand rapidly so that a more potent dose of natural killer cells can be given to the patient.

The UAMS multiple myeloma program has seen more than 9,000 patients from every state in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries.

Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

“We can now increase the cell dose significantly, which enables the natural killer cells to overcome the higher myeloma burden,� van Rhee said. When clinical trials begin, it will be the first use of the enlarged doses of natural killer cells. If the treatment works as van Rhee envisions, it will save lives, reduce the cost of treating myeloma patients and solidify the Myeloma Institute’s reputation as a world leader in research and treatment.

A Cancer Institute researcher thinks the most aggressive myeloma tumors may soon meet their match.

Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., leads immunology research at the UAMS Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy.

Expert Opinion A national expert in umbilical cord transplants was a special guest Feb. 16 at UAMS as part of the Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lectures. John E. Wagner, M.D., presented “Evolution of Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation” and also met with UAMS faculty, students, residents and fellows. Wagner is scientific director of clinical research of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minn., where he has created one of the top umbilical cord blood research programs in the country. In 1990, he was part of the medical team that made history by performing the first umbilical cord blood transplant for leukemia. Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law in 2007 a measure to allow Arkansas to begin storing and researching potentially life-saving blood cells harvested from umbilical cords following the birth of healthy children. UAMS, which has one of the largest adult blood cell transplant centers in the country, will serve as the statewide network’s main storage site.


Guest lecturer John E. Wagner, M.D., (center) is joined by UAMS surgeon Kent Westbrook, M.D., (left) and Cancer Institute director seek Emanuel, M.D. Peter

New Addition

Daohong Zhou, M.D., has joined UAMS as a professor in the Division of Radiation Health of the UAMS College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research focuses on radiation biology and normal tissue response to cancer therapy. Zhou is primary investigator for three grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling almost $4 million to examine radiation-induced injury to bone marrow.

Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

A group of researchers from The Netherlands recently visited UAMS to study its implementation of the National Cancer Institute’s caBIG initiative.

Blass Lecture International Recognition UAMS’ Elizabeth Weitzenhoffer Blass Lecture in Cancer Genetics welcomed internationally recognized researcher Carlo M. Croce, M.D., as its featured speaker April 5. Croce is known worldwide for his research involving the genes and genetic mechanisms implicated in the pathogenesis of human cancer. He spoke on the topic, “Causes and Consequences of microRNA Dysregulation in Cancer.” Croce serves as professor of medicine, director of the Institute of Genetics and director of the Human Cancer Genetics Program at The Ohio State University. The Blass Lecture is presented to help researchers further their efforts in finding cures for cancers and is underwritten in part by an endowment by the late Elizabeth “Betsy” Weitzenhoffer Blass. Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Nine scientists from the The Netherlands recently visited the Cancer Institute to learn more about its cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) initiative. caBIG, a network connecting cancer and biomedical researchers, was developed by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 2004. The network links researchers to better develop and share information about clinical trials and other work that could accelerate progress in cancer research and treatment. The Cancer Institute received the NCI’s Delivering Results Award at the caBIG Annual Meeting July 20-22, 2009, in Washington, D.C., leading the group of nine scientists to travel from The Netherlands to Little Rock to see first hand how the initiative was put in place. Laura Hutchins, M.D., director of the UAMS Division of Hematology/Oncology, received an NCI grant in 2007 allowing the Cancer Institute to participate in its caBIG initiative.



Licensed cosmetologists Amberlee Hayman (left) and Arline Jackson donate their time each month to provide makeovers and skin care consultations to cancer patients.

More than Just a



Look Good … Feel Better gives cancer patients a chance to shine.


By Susan Van Dusen

or as long as she can remember, Amberlee Hayman has lived in a world of beauty. At the tender age of 9, she was already answering phones and scheduling appointments for clients at her family’s beauty salon. “I grew up there,” she said. But when she was awarded a college scholarship, Hayman decided to follow a different career path. She graduated from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia with a biology degree and then enrolled in the respiratory therapy program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Just shy of graduation, however, Hayman knew she wasn’t following her instincts and acted on a decision that she made in her heart years

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

before. She left the respiratory therapy program and enrolled in cosmetology school. “I just knew it was where I was supposed to be,” she said.


rline Jackson could have ignored the letter she received six years ago inviting her to a meeting at the American Cancer Society. But her curiosity got the best of her and she chose to attend, along with several of her fellow cosmetologists. What she heard that night struck a chord, and more than six years — and thousands of volunteer hours — later, it’s still a vital part of her life and career. “When I got to that meeting, I didn’t know what it was about. But by the time I left, I was completely hooked,” Jackson said. »



Looking Good The program that “hooked” Jackson six years ago, and more recently got the attention of Hayman, is a unique venture sponsored by the American Cancer Society and conducted in locations across the country, including the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute and the UAMS Family Home. From its uplifting name — Look Good … Feel Better — to its mission of offering a free makeover and skin care consultation for women undergoing cancer treatment, this program provides something that every woman deserves: the chance to feel beautiful. Hayman was already looking for a volunteer

opportunity when a client contacted her about a year ago with a special request. “She was undergoing treatment for breast cancer and was worried that the changes in her appearance might frighten her 2-year-old son,” Hayman said. “She was just two years older than me. I couldn’t let her leave without finding a way to help her.” After doing what she could for her young client, Hayman began researching the best way to assist other people in the same situation. She came across Look Good … Feel Better and immediately knew she’d found her calling. Founded in 1989, Look Good … Feel Better’s mission is to improve the self image, appearance and

An Open Invitation

Look Good … Feel Better sessions are held twice monthly at UAMS. All cancer patients, regardless of where they receive treatment, are welcome.

1:30 p.m. 3rd Monday of each month Outpatient Infusion Area Patient Education Room DCI-102 Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

10 a.m. 2nd Friday of each month UAMS Family Home 4300 West Markham Located on the corner of Markham and Rose streets To register, call the Patient Support Center at (501) 686-5578.



quality of life of people undergoing cancer treatment. The mission is accomplished through free sessions at which a licensed and specially trained cosmetologist teaches participants how to deal with the appearance-related changes that often accompany treatment. Each two-hour session includes a hands-on lesson in the best and safest way to apply makeup, care for your skin, style wigs and choose other types of head coverings. Sessions are offered in each of the 50 states and internationally, including one per month at the Cancer Institute and one at the UAMS Family Home, located across the street from the UAMS campus. The UAMS Family Home provides temporary, low-cost housing for cancer patients and parents of infants in the UAMS Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. It also is home to the Cancer Institute Auxiliary Cancer Support Center.

Feeling Better Cancer Institute patient Katherine Smith considers her Look Good … Feel Better experience “a blessing.” After having previously undergone radiation, chemotherapy and surgery for ovarian cancer, Smith is back in chemo for pancreatic cancer. As with many chemo patients, she has experienced dry, sensitive skin. She said the tips provided by Hayman to deal with her skin changes were particularly helpful. “We learned things we Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

wouldn’t normally have known, like the best ways to use moisturizer to trap the moisture in your skin and prevent it from drying out so much,” Smith said. The cosmetologists show participants who have lost their eyebrows how to draw on realistic ones, as well as how to best apply makeup to highlight their features. In addition to the makeover, each participant receives a free bag filled with name-brand cosmetics tailored to their skin tone. All cosmetics are donated by major national companies through the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, a sponsor of the program along with the National Cosmetology Association. “To learn what we learned and to receive that free bag filled with makeup, was just a blessing,” Smith said.

During their Look Good … Feel Better session, patients learn how to make flattering use of scarves and turbans.

Offering Hope While it may not be a medically necessary part of any patient’s cancer treatment, Look Good … Feel Better fills an important role in lifting the spirits of women forced to deal not only with the internal affects of cancer, but also the external changes that accompany it. “When the women get here, their spirits are dragging,” said Jackson, who has provided about 2,000 makeovers in her six years as a Look Good … Feel Better volunteer. “When they leave they feel like a new person. They want to go out to lunch, not back to the hospital. It’s just the best thing for a woman who’s been given the awful news she has cancer.” Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute




Chile native brings his expertise in head and neck surgery to Arkansas.

By Nate Hinkel

“You have to be in the right place at the right time for the light to have that really striking effect,” explains Mauricio Moreno, M.D. He’s describing a dramatic photograph prominently framed and displayed on his office wall that he shot while visiting Antelope Canyon in Arizona. The slot canyon’s smooth red sandstone walls curve through darkness until focused beams of bright sunlight strikingly enter the chamber’s narrow crevice overhead. 20


Though Moreno, a native of Chile, was indeed in the “right place at the right time” to capture that image, he uses the same expression to explain how he ended up at UAMS. Moreno received his medical degree and completed residencies in general surgery and in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery in Chile. From there, he attended the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he completed fellowships in head and

neck surgical oncology and microvascular reconstructive surgery, followed by a fellowship in head and neck surgical endocrinology. Having already heard of James Suen, M.D., now chairman of the UAMS Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, and a trailblazer in that specialty at MD Anderson, Moreno decided to interview for an opening at UAMS last summer. He got the job and now serves as assistant professor in Suen’s department and as a Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

Mauricio Moreno, M.D., and his wife, Patricia, enjoy some time visiting the sites in their new hometown of Little Rock.

scientist at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. “I guess we were in the right place at the right time,” he says. “We interviewed in six or seven other places, but when my wife and I came to visit Little Rock, everything just felt right.”

Reconstruction Minded Moreno describes his job as about 70 percent clinical and operating room duties and about 30 percent academia and research. Clinically, he has a passion for free-flap reconstructive surgery, a technique he uses to repair the large defects that result from the removal of head

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

and neck tumors. Moreno is able to find a “flap” of skin, usually on a patient’s thigh, that he can reshape to fill a void left from removing a large tumor in the head. The flap contains active blood vessels that he can “rewire” under a microscope to help it flourish and function in its new location, and then he shapes it into the organ that was removed, like a tongue. “Having this reconstructive ability allows us to take on really extensive tumors,” he said. “But most importantly, functionally these patients do well — they can eat and talk — which means that patients can return to their normal life once the treatment is completed.” He’s developed his own

When my wife and I came to visit Little Rock, everything just felt right.”

technique to harvest free flaps that’s used only at UAMS. “Endoscopically assisted harvesting of thigh flaps,” which he calls it, uses a tiny camera to safely identify the exact location and number of the working vessels in the thigh. The technique substitutes the need to make a large exploratory incision in a patient for a small incision just large enough for the camera to do all of the work.

“It’s a step in the right direction, and I hope it becomes the standard approach,” he said.

Laser Fighter Clinical research also is a priority for Moreno. He is working with Gal Shafirstein, Ph.D., associate professor and director of translational research in the Department of OtolaryngologyHead and Neck Surgery, on developing a new strategy for cancer treatment called Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT). The treatment has been around for several decades, but recent advances in laser technology and computer simulation have greatly increased its effectiveness. PDT involves administering a special intravenous agent that gets into a patient’s cancer cells and is then activated by a laser, causing irreversible damage to tumor tissues. “This treatment has been successful in treating other cancers, and we are now planning to use it on patients who are not good candidates for standard treatment such as radiation or surgery,” Moreno said. He expects that someday PDT will become another alternative to fight head and neck cancer. If that happens, those patients will undoubtedly be thankful Moreno was in the right place at the right time. seek


Get a Move On Cancer Institute groups plan for move into expansion.

By Jon Parham

Plans for moving into the 300,000-square-foot expansion to the Cancer Institute are gathering steam. Around the start of 2010 — half a year before patients will be treated in the new building — 11 task forces began tackling the various issues involved in the move. The two-day move is slated to start July 31, and the first patients will be welcomed Aug. 2. 22


The new infusion center will open and researchers will settle into new shared laboratories, while departments like the pharmacy and the Patient Support Center will move from the existing Walker Tower into the adjacent expansion. Clinics remaining in the Walker Tower will be “flipped” so that the current entrance becomes the back and patients enter through Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits

Interior decorator Claire Denham and facilities planner James Scroggins share information about the Cancer Institute expansion with staff members.

You may think you can just pack your boxes and go, but there’s a lot more to it than that.”

the expansion. The move also will signal the beginning of a major renovation of the Walker Tower to turn around the building’s orientation to match seamlessly with the expansion as a single facility. Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

To minimize confusion for employees and patients alike, the planners are focusing not only on the move but what will happen before and after. “You may think you can just pack your boxes and go, but there’s a lot more to it than that,” said Porter Puckett, who can usually be seen working at the facility’s front desk welcoming patients and answering their questions. » seek


Hospital Move Serves as Blueprint

Keep it Flowing

The Cancer Institute is benefiting from the 2009 move of the UAMS Medical Center into its new 540,000-square-foot hospital. In that case, teams of employees, students and volunteers moved 274 patients in a tightly choreographed two-day process. Mary Ann Coleman, associate hospital director, managed the move of 18 hospital departments. She is now assisting with the Cancer Institute’s move. “This will be a very straight-forward move since it does not involve moving patients,” Coleman said. “It must still be carefully planned but on a smaller scale since we will not be moving into the entire expansion immediately.” Initially, about half of the floors will be occupied with other floors still under construction or left as shelled space allowing for future growth. Also, the expansion will have new furnishings, meaning that no furniture will have to be moved. Brian Dinsmore, R.N., associate director of outpatient services in the UAMS Outpatient Center, was a volunteer helping transfer patients during the hospital move. He said having the experience of the hospital move is helping many of those taking part in planning for the Cancer Institute move. “We know there will be challenges and nuances to get used to, but we have all of the key components involved in the planning from employee training to patient services to IT,” Dinsmore said. “Through all of the planning we are trying to put ourselves in our patients’ shoes.”

Besides the move, the task forces are reviewing patient communications, registration processes and the patient experience from the time they receive information in the mail to when they show up for an appointment. With an infusion clinic moving and other clinics getting a new entrance, Coleman echoed Dinsmore’s sentiment that the goal is “to create the best experience for the patient.” The group examining patient communications will seek to consolidate directions and other information into a cohesive format that uses the same terminology and style for all clinics. Move planners will prepare employees for the new facility through training and a series of “road shows” in the months before the move. Visits will be made to employees in research areas, clinics and offices to provide an overview and answer questions. “The first of July will be a turning point,” Coleman said. “The spaces will be complete and the furniture and equipment will be installed. Then we can start taking groups of employees on tours for training and orientation.” A mock clinic day is planned when volunteers will serve in the role of patients. Planners will watch the “patients” move through the system from the parking deck to clinic locations in an effort to address potential challenges before the facility opens.

Grand Opening Date Set With construction entering its final phases, Peter Emanuel, M.D., Cancer Institute director, announced July 30 as the grand opening date. The opening event, planned to honor cancer survivors, will take place in the circle drive entrance to the new facility. “We look forward to celebrating the grand opening of our fabulous new facility with our friends, staff and supporters,” Emanuel said. Also on July 30, the current front door of the Cancer Institute will be sealed and all visitors will be directed to enter through the new circle drive. The door will remain sealed for several months while renovations take place in the first floor of the current building. After renovations are complete, the door will reopen but will serve as the institute’s back door. 24


Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits


Day at the Races Who: Honorary chairs Betty and Leon Millsap; hosts Elaine Gartenberg, Beryl Cumberworth, Betty Millsap and Bernard Cluck; Cancer Institute Foundation board members; and supporters. What: The second annual Day at the Races fundraiser and board meeting featured a short program, lunch and an afternoon of horseracing for about 170 attendees. Cancer Institute staff members and friends

When: March 18, 2010 Where: The Jockey Club at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs

Why: Hot Springs residents came out to show their support for cancer research, treatment and education, contributing about $10,000 to benefit the Cancer Institute. Louis Cella and Dixie Burnard

Jo Ellen Ford and Lana Rahn

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Harry Metcalf and Carol Pratt

Rodney Tillman, Martha Tillman, Sherry Jorgenson and Shannon Simmons



The Doctor is in … The Heights Who: Members of the Envoys young professionals’ advocacy group and Cancer Institute supporters What: Members of the Envoys young professionals’ advocacy group and Cancer Institute supporters When: April 6, 2010 Where: Iberia Bank

David Shindler, Diana Smithson and Bob Burnside

Why: The Envoys’ mission is to help advance the outreach efforts of the Cancer Institute by promoting its physicians, scientists, programs and vision. To find out more, visit www. or call (501) 526-2277.

Julie Mehlin, Tiffany Robinson, Gabe Mallard, Will Amerine and Jay Meadors

Jennifer Ronnel and Robin Dean



For more event photos, check out www.cancer. Look for Spotlight article.

Bonnie Sutton and Gwen Thalley

Looking Beyond Cancer’s Limits


Cooks Tour Patrons’ Cocktail Buffet Who: Distinguished Honoree

Award recipient Robert Fincher, M.D.; hosts Mary Kay and Jim East; chairwoman Deah Chisenhall; and about 275 guests. Glazer’s Distributors of Arkansas provided beverages.

What: The Patrons’ Cocktail Buffet kicked off the 19th annual Cooks Tour weekend, which raised about $50,000 for programs benefiting cancer patients in Arkansas. Fincher, director of the UAMS Breast Center, was honored for his contributions to the field of breast imaging.

Clay and Deah Chisenhall

Ann Lewis and Mary Kay East

When: April 16, 2010 Where: The home of Mary Kay and Jim East

Why: Cooks Tour is the Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s longestrunning fundraiser and supports cancer research, patient care and education. It includes two events: the Patrons’ Cocktail Buffet and a tour of homes in Little Rock’s Chenal Valley.

Jo Ellen and Joe Ford and Jim Darr

Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute

Matt and Alisa Coffield; Robert Fincher, M.D., and Bonnie Fincher; Courtney Blaisdell; and Libby Fincher Achee

Russ and Maria Furcron and Jim Montgomery






4301 W. Markham St., #623 Little Rock, AR 72205

Health Notes:

Lung Cancer

e of cancermost common caus e th d an er nc ca on cond most comm Lung cancer is the se e United States. men and women in th th bo in h at de d te rela cancer, more than in 2009 due to lung die to d cte pe ex re nsans we A total of 2,160 Arka d liver combined. ostate, colon, brain an pr st, ea cancers of the br t in the past decade, bu men have dropped r fo s te ra y lit rta mo e and Lung cancer incidenc occurred in women. t no s ha nd a similar tre streaked with ent cough, sputum ist rs pe e lud inc y ma ncer bronchitis. Symptoms of lung ca rrent pneumonia or cu re d an , ge an ch voice blood, chest pain, ncer as a States die of lung ca d ite Un e th in ts ul 0 nonsmoking ad Each year, about 3,40 condhand smoke. result of breathing se

Seek Magazine Spring 2010  

The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Magazine

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