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Hockey star’s gift scores thanks, inspires more donations Tim Connolly is assisting on a goal using neither a stick nor a puck. He’s making a gift of $100,000 to the Upstate Cancer Center, which puts Upstate that much closer to its goal of raising $15 million.

Connolly’s donation is in memory of his grandmother, Patricia A. Connolly. She died of uterine cancer in September. An avid fan of hockey, she enjoyed watching Connolly play, and Connolly adored her.

In addition, promotion of his donation during the annual WSYR Radiothon helped bring in $80,000 toward pediatric cancer care and research at Upstate, says Eileen Pezzi, vice president for development. “I believe that helped motivate people to make their gifts.”

Pezzi says, “Tim has demonstrated in many ways his commitment to this campaign.” In addition to his gift, he serves as honorary co-chairman and has been generous with his time to help raise awareness. “For that we will always be grateful,” Pezzi says.

She says many donations come from people who are grateful for the care they received at Upstate University Hospital. Some donate a set amount, say $10 per month, throughout the year. Others make donations in memory of loved ones.

Connolly was born and raised in Baldwinsville. After two seasons in the Ontario Hockey League, he was drafted by the New York Islanders in 1999. Two years later he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres. In July of this year, he signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He plays center, and he celebrated his 400th career goal against the Washington Capitals in November. ■

top: Tim Connolly and his late grandmother, Patricia Connolly; at right: on the ice with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Giving thanks for a second chance WITH NO SIGN LEFT OF HER BRAIN T U M O R , A N U p S TAT E N U R S E I S G R AT E F U L F O R E A C H N E W d Ay By Sean Kirst. Reprinted with permission from the Post-Standard, Nov. 24, 2011 The doctors told Natalie Lefebvre she was dying. To understand how she felt on Thanksgiving morning 2011 demands knowing exactly what she feared the most. Less than two years

ago, Natalie was in the kitchen of her home on Onondaga Hill when she fell to the floor and went into a seizure. She is an intensive care nurse at Upstate University Hospital, and as soon as they put her in the ambulance, she knew: The chances were good that her seizure was caused by a tumor, a result soon confirmed by a brain scan. Natalie began a draining schedule of chemotherapy, and the doctors told her what she could expect. The cancer in her brain, they explained, was a B-cell

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Syracuse New York

Welcome From the Medical Director Upstate University Hospital is the only hospital in our area to be accredited by the American College of Surgeons through the Commission on Cancer. We are very proud of this well-earned designation. A certificate of accreditation may be issued after a cancer program is evaluated and surveyed every three years. Since achieving accreditation in 2003, Upstate has received the highest level of commendation available during each three-year survey. This is a continuous, voluntary process that cancer programs commit to, in order to provide the best quality cancer care for patients and their families. Certain rigorous standards must be met to retain this designation.

psychosocial distress screening.

In January 2012, new standards for accreditation will go into effect. These are based on the concept of “ensuring patient-centered care.� The Upstate Cancer Center shares this fundamental value with the Commission on Cancer. Accredited programs will have to provide treatment, as well as palliative care services, navigation programs and

When the new Cancer Center building opens, you will also find a comprehensive group of services designed to make your cancer journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

I am happy to say that the Upstate Cancer Center already has most of these programs in place or under development. We have patient navigators from the American Cancer Society available to all cancer patients to help with accessing whatever services and information they need. We have a comprehensive inpatient palliative care service and have begun to investigate how to provide this important symptom-management program to outpatients as well. We have a psychiatrist dedicated to helping cancer patients and their families cope with the stress of this diagnosis and its treatment.

Leslie J. Kohman MD

Leslie J. Kohman MD Medical Director Upstate Cancer Center

From the Associate Administrator The construction of the Upstate Cancer Center is well under way. The underground utilities have been installed. The Upstate University Hospital traffic circle has returned to its original location and the drilling of caissons (foundation) has begun. Once complete, we should begin to see the steel structure rise from the ground in April 2012. With the completion date of the Cancer Center still two years away and the external access to the Regional Oncology Center being totally blocked by construction for the remainder of the project, the operations team had to develop a plan for patient access. An Ambassador program was established to escort patients from the main circle of the hospital, as well as from the East Garage bridge connection to the hospital. In addition, a patient shuttle was initiated to transport patients from the West Garage to the main circle. This provides our patients with several


parking options and personalized assistance to their appointments. As construction progresses, so does the Upstate Cancer Center Capital Campaign. In September 2011, we kicked off year two of the three-year capital campaign and have already raised $11+ million (73.5 percent) of the $15 million overall campaign goal. The Upstate Employee Campaign has raised $498,000 (90 percent) of its $500,000 overall goal. Thank you to the Upstate employees for their compassion and to those Upstate departments that continue to raise money through fundraisers such as raffles, cookbooks, apparel sales, barbecues, etc. Finally, I would like to thank the Central New York community for its continued generosity toward this much needed cancer center.

Richard J. Kilburg MBA

Richard J. Kilburg MBA Associate Administrator Upstate Cancer Center

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Winter 2011/2012

Award-winning C are Surgical expertise allows patients with liver cancer to stay in Syracuse A liver cancer diagnosis used to come with little hope. “That’s changing,” says Dilip Kittur MD, chief of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery at Upstate. He began offering surgery to treat people with cancer of the liver, bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreas in 2005, because so many patients had to leave Central New York to get care. Dr. Kittur’s background in transplant surgery, immunology and endocrinology allowed him to easily expand into treatment of these cancers. And this fall a second surgeon, Krit Kitisin MD joined the Upstate team. Cancers of these internal organs are often found at late stages, because symptoms don’t become apparent until the disease has progressed. Most liver cancers are secondary, meaning the cancer has spread to the liver from elsewhere in the body, often the colon.

About 60 to 65 percent of liver tumors are in the right lobe. In those cases, removing the entire lobe will allow the organ to regenerate, or grow back healthy. Dr. Kittur says if the tumor is successfully removed, patients have up to a 50 percent survival rate five years after surgery. ■

Increased Risks You increase your risk of developing liver cancer if you: • have hepatitis B or C • abuse alcohol • develop diabetes • are obese • drink well water that contains arsenic You increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer if you: • have cirrhosis of the liver

Treatment may involve removing the cancer through surgery, or shrinking the tumor first and then operating.

• smoke or use smokeless tobacco • develop diabetes

Depending on the size and location of the tumor, Dr. Kittur may recommend blocking the tumor’s blood supply with beads of chemotherapy in a process called chemoembolization. He also may use radiofrequency ablation to burn the tumor.

• are obese • spend lots of time around certain pesticides, dyes and chemicals

Dilip Kittur MD

Source: American Cancer Society

New Cancer Center Staff Michael A. LaCombe MD (at right) joins the Department of Radiation Oncology as an assistant professor. He comes to Upstate from the Radiation Medicine Institute in Evanston, Ill. LaCombe received his medical degree from Upstate. He will specialize in radiation oncology and is currently accepting new patients. Vanessa Gibson MD (at right) joins Upstate as an assistant professor of surgery. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She did her surgical residency at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and completed a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Gibson will concentrate on esophageal and thoracic malignancies. Jenna Owen joins the cancer center staff as a medical office assistant at Upstate’s Regional Oncology Center.

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award-winning care

Meet the New Department Chairs U R O L O G y :   G E N N A d y B R AT S L Av S k y M d The doctor who leads Upstate’s Department of Urology, Gennady Bratslavsky MD, received the Best Annual Audio Visual Award at the 2011 Annual American Urological Association conference this summer in Washington, DC. The presentation took top honors: “Robot Assisted Laparoscopic Partial Adrenalectomy for Pheochromocytoma: The National Cancer Institute Technique.” Dr. Bratslavsky is a pioneer in robotic assisted renal and adrenal surgeries, recording many firsts in complex surgeries for urologic cancer. He is also accomplished in both clinical and laboratory research, including doing the first robotic removal of a bladder and prostate in a male at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Bratslavsky joined Upstate in August from the Urologic Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, where he worked as a staff clinician since 2007. Previously, he served as a clinical fellow in urologic oncology there. Since 2010, Dr. Bratslavsky has served as a consultant to the Gastroenterology and Urology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and as a steering committee member of the Genitourinary Oncology Center of Excellence for the Clinical Research Center at the Institutes. ■

Gennady Bratslavsky MD

N E U R O S U R G E Ry :   L A W R E N C E C H I N M d Lawrence Chin MD is perfecting minimally invasive methods of taking care of a variety of neurological problems, including tumor removals, spine malformations, blood vessel abnormalities and trauma. For example, Dr. Chin offers a new technique for treating spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the area around the nerves in the spine, a common problem that develops as we age and causes back and leg pain and difficulty with walking. “I developed a technique for approaching the spine without disturbing the surrounding muscle, and it reduces post-operative pain. After surgery, patients don’t require much pain medication,” Dr. Chin says. “They can get up right away and move around.

Lawrence Chin MD


“Using a transspinous approach, we remove critical portions of extra bone and ligaments that are squeezing the

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nerves in the spine, and can give good leg- and sometimes back-pain relief. We’ve had excellent success,” he says. He wrote about this in the journal, Neurosurgery (March 2010). Prior to joining Upstate, Dr. Chin was chair of neurosurgery at Boston Medical Center. He directed the neurosurgery residency program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and was medical director of the University of Maryland Gamma Knife Center and Maryland Brain Tumor Center. Dr. Chin’s clinical and research accomplishments reflect his expertise in surgery for brain tumors, aneurysms and vascular malformations, and in stereotactic radiosurgery. He is a reviewer for the Journal of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgical Focus, Journal of Neuro-Oncology, Neurosurgery, Endocrine Practice and World Neurosurgery. ■

winter 2011/2012

award-winning care Ambassador goes ‘above and beyond’ When a patient arrived at the front of the cancer center and was unresponsive, Larry Ryan came running to assist. Ryan is an ambassador from Patient Access Services. Not only did he help get the patient out of the car, lifting him onto the stretcher, but Ryan then ran with cancer center staff members to the Emergency Department with the patient, who required immediate treatment. It was Ryan who located the patient’s father and walked him to the Emergency Department. “His actions are a reflection of our ‘Patients First’ philosophy and the patient- and family-centered care we strive to provide here at Upstate,” said John McCabe MD, chief executive officer for Upstate University Hospital. Ryan was recognized Nov. 8 for going above and beyond to meet the needs of a patient and his family. ■

Upstate ambassador Larry Ryan (center) is pictured above with, from left to right, Richard J. Kilburg MBA, Rich Williams RN, John McCabe MD and Lisa Gaspe of Patient Access Services.

From patients “From the first visit forward, I have found Dr. Sheila Lemke exceptionally knowledgeable, thorough, warm, caring and encouraging. I feel that she has taken a special interest in my care and treatment. She gives me confidence each week that my condition is treatable.”

“We were impressed with the courtesy, friendliness, and compassion of everyone we interacted with at the Breast Cancer Program and highly impressed with the competency and concern of the oncologist.”

“All of the nurses at the Regional Oncology Center treat patients the same regardless of age, condition, and/or income. They treat you like a friend.”

“I would recommend Upstate Radiation Oncology to others because they were so kind and thoughtful to my sister.” “I would not hesitate to recommend your services to anyone. I feel fortunate to have been cared for by the doctors and staff at the Gamma Knife Center.”

“Everyone involved in my surgery at the Gamma Knife Center was very professional and helpful. Everyone made my procedure much easier than I had anticipated. I wish I could thank each one individually for their care.”

“The staff in Radiation Oncology is pleasant and competent. The nurses are very knowledgeable and helpful, too.”

“Every single staff person I came in contact with at the Gamma Knife Center was very professional and knowledgeable about my care. I couldn’t have been in a better environment.”

“I would like to extend my greatest appreciation and heartfelt thanks for the shuttle service from the West Garage and also to the friendly and cheerful ‘ambassadors’ who take you to your appointments.”

“I have complete confidence in Dr. Jayne Charlamb and would — and have —recommended the Breast Care Center to my friends.”

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F o un d at ion f or Up s tat e

Aminy Audi hosted a reception on behalf of the Upstate Cancer Center.

Awareness reception hosts spread news

The Retired Professional Firefighters Cancer Fund donated $15,000 to the Upstate Cancer Center. The money will be divided among the Michael E. Connolly Endowment for Lung Cancer Research, the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund and the Upstate Cancer Research Institute Fund.

Over the last 13 months, the Upstate Foundation has had friends host awareness receptions at their homes or businesses. The receptions were held in various communities to share information about the Upstate Cancer Center campaign. In all, nearly 300 individuals attended these events.

A S p EC I A L T H A N k S TO OUR HOSTS ■ David Northrup, Upstate Council member ■ John Murad, Upstate Council and Foundation board member, and his wife, Renee James ■ Aminy Audi and family, Foundation benefactors

Terry Shenfeld of the Upstate Foundation accepts a $50,000 check from the Lockheed Employees’ Federated Fund from Ronald Ziomek, director of contracts for MS2 Radar Systems.

■ Joe O’Connor, Eastside Business Group ■ Gail Cowley and Libby Rubenstein, Foundation board members ■ Tom Thomas, owner, Wellington House ■ Tom and Mary Jane Vona and family, owners, Vona’s Restaurant in Oswego ■ Ann and Alan Rothschild, Foundation benefactors ■ MetLife Advisors, hosted by Brad DuFrane


The Morrisville Women’s Soccer Team held a fundraiser during one of their games to support pediatric cancer care.

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Winter 2011/2012

F o un d at ion f or Up s tat e

Getting closer to $15 million goal

Donor Spotlight

Gifts and pledges totaling $11,024,834 for the Upstate Cancer Center have helped us reach 73.5 percent of our $15 million goal. The money has come from 2,375 individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations.

The Foundation for Upstate Medical University is grateful for the support of John and Karen Hartnett, who are not only making their own gift to the cancer campaign, they are leveraging a corporate gift through the matching gift program at John’s employer. With John and Karen Hartnett their generous donation, the Hartnetts have identified a naming opportunity within the new cancer center and will be included on the Founding Wall of Honor. Yet not only are the Hartnetts making a monetary commitment, they are equally generous in donating their time to the campaign. They are members of the Foundation’s campaign cabinet, and Karen is co-chair of the community phase of the campaign. They are also members of the Upstate Cancer Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Board.

J O H N & k A R E N H A RT N E T T

The Upstate family (including foundation staff and board members, faculty, employees, advocates and volunteers) has contributed more than $3.2 million. Generous individual donors have contributed more than $3.75 million. Corporations and foundations have contributed more than $1.1 million.

Their motivation to help is their son, Rick, who was diagnosed at Upstate University Hospital in 1991 with a brain tumor. He received chemotherapy, four surgeries and radiation, with his last treatment having been in 1999. At age 21, Rick is considered cancer free, but continues to be followed at the hospital in the Brain Tumor Clinic; Kids Now Off Therapy (KNOT) Clinic; and by the neurology, neuropsychology and other departments. While his surgery was state-of-the art at the time and his outcome unquestionably miraculous, Rick was left with a number of physical and cognitive challenges. John and Karen dedicate their efforts to the hope that with continued funding dedicated to the fight against pediatric cancer, more children will not only survive, but have an opportunity for a better life. ■

The Central New York community at large has contributed more than $1.4 million, including support from fundraisers such as golf tournaments, walks/runs, auctions, sporting events and bowling tournaments. In addition, we have received 602 tribute gifts in honor or memory of a loved one, and 91 gifts from grateful patients.■


Tyonna Johnson, Crystal Davis, Michele Estabrook of the Upstate Foundation, Christina Sellers, Tracey Amos, Beverly Scruggs, and Julya Guins-Clark at the church.


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Here’s your chance to contribute The Foundation hosts a 50/50 raffle starting in early January. Look for $5 tickets for sale throughout the Syracuse area, or find exact locations by visiting For opportunities to buy tickets or sell them, contact Robin Grabowski at 315-464-5748. The drawing will take place in June, with the winner collecting half of the raffle proceeds.■

On Nov. 20, the People’s AME Zion Church of Syracuse donated $4,000 to the Upstate Sickle Cell Disease Fund, which supports research on this blood disorder. The fund also provides assistance to pediatric and adult patients with sickle cell disease, many of whom receive care from the hematologists/oncologists at the Upstate Cancer Center. This is the third year that the church has donated to the Upstate fund, and total donations from the church are close to $10,000.

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Thanks to research and advances in medical care, life expectancy for people with sickle cell disease has doubled in the past 30 years. The People’s AME Zion Church raises a portion of the donations through its annual Sickle Cell Walkathon which is held in September, in honor of Sickle Cell Awareness month. ■



Award-Winning C are G I v I N G T H A N k S – Continued from page 1 lymphoma. They gave her six to 12 months to live. Natalie, who is divorced, was raising two teenage daughters by herself. She traveled to Chicago for more tests, hoping for better news. It was the same: If she lived for another year, she’d be lucky. That is where the fear began, Natalie said. Some people in the same place wonder if there is only darkness beyond our light, but that was not what kept Natalie awake at night. All she could think of was her children. She had raised her daughters, Rachel and Havanna, in a manner that she hoped would allow them to blossom as adults, and she was terrified at the idea of handing them over to someone else: “I kept thinking, ‘Who’s going to love them the way I love them?’ Even the people I trust the most, if they’re raising my kids, would they try to change them? Would they really allow them to be themselves?” At a time when the seizures came with ominous frequency, a time when the predictions of the doctors seemed to be all too correct — Natalie made what she calls “a deal with the universe.” Speaking to the sky, she promised to stop “wanting everything” — as in possessions, money, a career or property — if in return she could just have the chance to raise her kids, at least until her youngest was finished with high school. Twenty months later, Natalie is here. The therapy worked. Tests show no sign

Kudos These staff members were recently recognized by patients for their superior care on Press Ganey patient satisfaction surveys:


of cancer in her brain. She has returned to nursing at Upstate, this time in pediatric intensive care. Natalie, 47, doesn’t focus on tomorrow.

forgets the bigger picture: The apartment, in many ways, is easier to maintain, and she remembers what the doctors told her in that first meeting.

“I’m thankful every day when I get out of bed and put my feet on the floor,” she said. “I look out the window and everything is so colorful, and every sound that I hear becomes so amazing, and I know this sounds so corny but I mean it: I’ll be driving and I’ll look at a tree and I’ll think, ‘Why didn’t this look so beautiful before?’ I’ve fallen in love with everything again.”

From that standpoint, for Natalie, everything is fine.

“I’ve fallen in love with everything again.” –Natalie LEARN ABOUT THE HEALING W Ay S S U p p O RT G R O U p By C A L L I N G 315-415-5305. She kept her deal with the sky: She had to give up many “things,” including a sense of control. Until her illness, Natalie could afford the mortgage on a house. Treatment for the cancer saved her life, but for a time it also knocked her out of work. Fellow employees donated sick time and vacation to keep her on the payroll for as long as possible, but Natalie finally went on disability. Within weeks, she ran out of money. Natalie and her daughters had to sell her house, which meant they had to give their dog to a relative. They moved into an apartment, but Natalie never

Eleanor Abel PA Jayne Charlamb MD, IBCLC Lisa Cico NP Jacquelyn Connolly RN Lisa Donovan RN Ajeet Gajra MD Teresa Gentile MD, PhD Laura Kilburg NP

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“She’s an amazing woman,” said Patricia Knox, a longtime friend and a palliative care nurse practitioner at Upstate. Natalie returned to work a year ago and started what she calls “Healing Ways,” a cancer support group for patients and family members involved with Upstate’s oncology unit. The group, the first of its kind at the hospital, meets every Wednesday. “The idea is to make sure people don’t feel alone in their journey,” said Natalie, who received a nursing award from Upstate for establishing the group. “Everyone goes through stages of grieving and healing, of denial and anger, and it’s better if you can go through them together.” When patients ask, Natalie shares elements of her story. She tells them about the days after her first seizure, when she wrote long letters and set them aside for her children, letters filled with advice she didn’t think she’d be around to give. She went through her clothes. She organized her bills. She did everything possible to make it easier for her family after she was gone. Take Natalie's word for it: She’s happy with her deal. ■

Kara Kort-Glowaki MD Sheila Lemke MD Roberto Carlos Montoya Barraza MC Kathryn Romano MS, RNC, NP Robin Salvaterra RN Rahul Seth DO Dwaine Spence RTT

Winter 2011/2012

Recent Events

Breathe Deep CNY: In Memory of Brenda Shue — formerly the CNY Lung Cancer Walk, Run and Rally – was held Sept. 18, raising money for lung cancer research that focuses on early detection and targeted therapies.

The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Oct. 2 in Clinton Square raised $12,862 for cancer care. The event attracted 120 walkers, among them Upstate employees, including Yvonne Merriam. She was a “pacesetter” for the second year in a row, meaning she raised more than $2,500.

The Carol M. Baldwin A Run For Their Life took place Oct. 23 at Syracuse University’s Manley Fieldhouse (runners pictured at left). Upstate Medical University had the largest team at this first annual event, which drew more than 1,600 people. Upstate’s Nakeia Chambers (pictured below) walked in memory of her aunt, Cheryl Harrison, who was in her 30s when she died of breast cancer. Chambers was one of nearly 300 Upstate employees who participated in the “Run for Their Life.”

Upcoming Event May 12, 2012 – Carol M. Baldwin: A Night to Remember Annual Gala Turning Stone Casino Proceeds benefit cancer research at Upstate

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Academic Difference

Karol Kerr MD, assistant professor of pediatrics

Pediatric cancer research funded

Doctors teach, learn via symposium

Since 2006, the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate has received $306,600 in research support from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The money helps Upstate’s pediatric cancer patients participate in clinical trials and supports research conducted by its physician-faculty.

Cancer specialists from Upstate and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center gave lectures during the annual Upstate Cancer Symposium in September at Weiskotten Hall.

Upstate’s 2011 award recipient — pediatric hematologist/ oncologist Karol Kerr MD — noted, “With St. Baldrick’s support, our pediatric oncology team can continue providing Central New York children with the most up-to-date cancer therapies in collaboration with the Children’s Oncology Group.”

Michael S. Curtis MD, assistant professor of plastic surgery, spoke about breast reconstruction.

Each year, hundreds of Central New Yorkers raise money for childhood cancer research by shaving their heads at an event held at Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant in Syracuse, the second largest St. Baldrick’s fundraiser in the U.S. ■

Pediatric hematologists/oncologists Karol Kerr MD and Irene Cherrick MD have had their research funded by St. Baldrick’s, an international non-profit that provided grants to 30 organizations in 2011. Irene Cherrick MD, associate professor of pediatrics

CO R R EC T I O N The wrong photo appeared with a story in the previous newsletter about Positron Emission Mammography. In this photo, Cathy Lavalley CNMT is at the controls of the new mammography machine, available at Upstate Radiology Associates, 550 Harrison Center, Syracuse.

Mitchell I. Karmel MD, associate professor of radiology, gave an overview of interventional oncology. Gennady Bratslavsky MD, professor and chair of urology, spoke about diagnosis and treatment options for localized prostate cancer. Lawrence S. Chin MD, professor and chair of neurosurgery, addressed stateof-the-art treatment for brain tumors. The guest faculty presenter, Eileen M. O’Reilly MD of Sloan-Kettering, spoke on treatment updates and new directions for pancreas cancer. The moderator was Medical Director Leslie J. Kohman MD.

Newsletter Staff: Leslie Kohman MD Medical Director Richard Kilburg MBA Associate Administrator Jeanmarie Glasser Assistant Director 315-464-5925 Linda Veit, Project Manager 315-464-6303 Heidi Chapman, Staff Assistant 315-464-6065 Upstate Medical University Marketing and University Communications Design and Editorial Support 315-464-4836


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winter 2011/2012

Academic Difference Distinguished cancer researcher at Upstate Christopher Turner PhD, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at Upstate, is one of four State University of New York faculty members honored recently as a Distinguished Professor. It is the highest honor given to SUNY instructional faculty. Dr. Turner is the second from Upstate to receive the distinguished professor appointment. “In bestowing our highest faculty honor, we proudly recognize the extraordinary achievements of these faculty members and thank them for their continued commitment to excellence,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher PhD.

Christopher Turner PhD

“I’m very delighted the institution put my name forward for the appointment,” Dr. Turner said. “I’d like to recognize all the people who have worked with me the past 20 years on the research and made it possible. I owe the honor to a lot of individuals.” Dr. Turner is internationally known for his research on paxillin and other proteins, and their roles in regulating cell migration associated with the progression of cancer and other diseases. His lab at Upstate has had continual support from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Turner has published almost 100 original papers and reviews since 1991, his first year on the Upstate faculty. He also has served on many review panels for grants in the U.S. and abroad, and continues to lecture worldwide. ■

Crosshairs conference

Image of a breast cancer cell (above), Nicholas Deakin PhD (at right)

Research award Christopher Turner PhD, Cell and Developmental Biology, co-authored a paper with Nicholas Deakin PhD, a post doctoral student in his lab, which was recognized with the 2011 Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC) Paper of the Year Award. The paper is titled, “Distinct Roles for Paxillin and Hic-5 in Regulating Breast Cancer Cell Morphology, Invasion, and Metastasis.” David G. Grubin, editor-in-chief of MBoC, said, “This ground-breaking research provides new methods to discover how tumors invade cells.” Dr. Deakin presented his research at the mini-symposium at the ASCB Annual Meeting in Denver in December. ■

Participants of the 11th annual “In the Crosshairs: Lung Cancer” conference learned about preventing lung cancer, as well as new diagnostic and treatment procedures. The event took place in November at the OASIS and HealthLink Learning Center off Carrier Circle in East Syracuse. It also featured pulmonary function testing (pictured above) and smoking cessation strategies. ■

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Lung cancer vigil Glow sticks and candles were used to “Shine a Light on Lung Cancer” during the vigil held at dusk on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. About 75 people gathered outside the front of the hospital on Adams Street, lighting luminaries in honor and memory of loved ones affected by lung cancer. People all over the country raised awareness about lung cancer by supporting the vigil, organized through the Lung Cancer Alliance. ■

Cancer Prevention Study attracts 900+ Central New Yorkers The American Cancer Society partnered with Upstate Medical University to enroll 434 people for the third national Cancer Prevention Study. The society enrolled 911 Central New Yorkers during October. The study looks at people who have never been diagnosed with cancer (other than basal or squamous cell skin cancer) to help determine causes of cancer and ways to prevent the disease. The goal is to eliminate cancer as a major health problem for future generations. Participants completed surveys, then gave blood samples and had their waist circumferences measured.


Some of the best information we have about cancer comes from the first cancer prevention study in the 1950s and the second one in the 1970s. That’s

how the link was discovered between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and premature death. That’s how we learned that obesity increases the risk of dying from cancer, that aspirin use can lower the risk of colon cancer, and that air pollution has a great impact on heart and lung conditions. The current study will include 500,000 men and women, age 30 to 64, who will receive follow-up surveys every two or three years for the next 20 to 30 years. If any of the participants are diagnosed with cancer, their original blood sample – which is frozen – will be retrieved for further study. ■

At right: Donna Bacchi MD, MPH, chair of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Upstate, is pictured having her blood drawn by phlebotomist Gina Gausman of Quest Diagnostics. Dr. Bacchi was one of 434 Upstate employees and students who enrolled in the cancer prevention study. 750 East Adams Street l Syracuse, NY 13210

Knowing changes everything.


Upstate Cancer Center News