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V i r g i n i a

C o m m o n w e a l t h SPR I N G

U n i v e r s i t y

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Committed to a Cancer-free Virginia

NCI Review Results 1

New Compound Discovered 2

Honoring Nurses 8

Notable Gifts 10


Contents S P R I N G

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Advance is published by VCU Massey Cancer Center, Office of Development and External Relations.

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Editor

Julie Dillon DESIGN

Literati Design C O N T R I B U TO R S

Jenny Owen John Wallace VCU University Relations P H OTO G R A P H Y

Fran Householder VCU Creative Services John Wallace CONTACTS

To contact the editor, subscribe to Momentum, our monthly e-newsletter, or for general questions about Massey, e-mail AskMassey@vcu.edu. To make contributions or inquire about ways to give, call (804) 828-1450 or visit www.massey.vcu.edu/givenow For cancer-related inquiries and free literature searches, contact our Patient Resource Libraries at (804) 828-8709.

2 1 NCI Designation Reviewed 2 Sparks of Discovery

funding and other research achievements

4 Committed to a

C O V E R S TO R Y

Cancer-free Virginia

12 8 Centerpieces 10 Investments in Progress 12 Special Events the latest Massey news

notable gifts

Women and Wellness, Bizarre Bazaar速, Capitol Square Basketball Classic

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Massey Alliance Celebrates 10 Years

To make an appointment, call (804) 828-5116 or (877) 4-MASSEY.

www.massey.vcu.edu

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dvance is a publication for patients, friends, staff and supporters of VCU Massey Cancer Center, an internationally recognized center of research excellence. As a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center, Massey is dedicated to saving and improving lives of those affected by cancer through innovative research and compassionate care.


NCI Reviews Massey’s Designation

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fter a rigorous review by the National Cancer Institute of all aspects of its research enterprise, Massey received a five-year renewal as an NCI-designated cancer center. “By all accounts, this was the best evaluation that the Center has ever received. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” said Massey’s director, Gordon Ginder, MD. Massey was commended for the significant advances made toward NCI Comprehensive status—the top level awarded—and was encouraged to apply for it during the next review in 2016. “This feedback is a solid indicator that we are on track for meeting the goal set in our Vision 2016 strategic plan of achieving NCI Comprehensive designation,” says Ginder.

Obtaining the elevated honor of NCI Comprehensive status would raise Massey’s profile and facilitate expansion of cancer research by attracting even more top researchers, sponsored ­research funding, philanthropic donations and state funding. To satisfy NCI Comprehensive standards, focus remains on:

• building and strengthening cancer

research by multiplying groundbreaking research discoveries and then expediting them from bench to bedside,

• boosting the level of research collaboration within and across disciplines represented in scientific programs,

• continuing to build a national model in disparities research and expanding community outreach and education,

• extending Massey’s clinical trials network,

• increasing patient participation in clinical research,

• growing Massey’s team of accomplished and promising scientists, clinicians and staff. “We have appropriately positioned the Center to support these endeavors, and I have every confidence that with a sharpened focus and redoubled effort, achieving the top designation is within our reach,” says Ginder.

Advocating for Research

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ith an unprecedented $15 million included in ­Governor Bob ­McDonnell’s proposed biennial budget, Massey’s corps of volunteer advocates (comprised of community supporters, research and clinical faculty and Massey staff ) had a primary message of appreciation when they visited legislators at the General Assembly in January during the annual “Massey Day on the Hill.” Though a final budget is not expected to pass through both legislative houses until early summer, volunteers were armed with information supporting the necessity of the ­Commonwealth’s investment in Massey. Advocates, led by George Emerson, chair of the ­Legislative Committee of the Massey Advisory Board, also asked the legislators to support a bill that would expand the criteria for usage of funds available through the Tobacco ­Indemnification and ­Community Revitalization ­Commission ­(TICRC). This bill passed both houses, giving Massey the opportunity to ­apply for additional funding through the TICRC to support research that will ultimately have a positive impact on

Advocating for state funding from the General Assembly involves passionate volunteers and Advisory Board members, dedicated Massey faculty and committed partners in the Legislature. Left-right: George Emerson, Legislative Committee of the Massey Advisory Board; Bill Howell, Speaker of the House; Ted Chandler, chair, Massey Advisory Board; Gordon Ginder, MD, director, Massey Cancer Center and Harry Bear, MD, PhD, chair, Division of Surgical Oncology. the communities of the ­Southside and Southwest tobacco-dependent counties.” “We at Massey, much like our legislators, work on behalf of all Virginians. With continued bipartisan support for funding cancer research, as well as

education and outreach throughout the state, I have no doubt we will reap the rewards of a healthier, more productive and more prosperous Virginia,” says Gordon Ginder, MD, director, Massey Cancer Center.

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Sparks of Discovery New Compound Discovered That Rapidly Kills Liver Cancer

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Devanand Sarkar, PhD

evanand Sarkar, PhD, Harrison Scholar at Massey, participated in research that has identified a new compound that rapidly kills hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, the most common form of liver cancer and fifth most common cancer worldwide, while sparing healthy tissue. Recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study demonstrates that HCC cells have what is known as an “oncogene addiction” to the transcription factor Late SV40 Factor (LSF). Oncogene addiction is a term used when a cancer cell is found to be dependent on a single gene to survive. Using the compound Factor Qunolinone Inhibitor 1 (FQI1), the scientists prevented LSF from binding to HCC DNA during the transcription process, which is the first step in a series of actions that lead to cell division and duplication. This action caused rapid HCC cell death in laboratory experiments and a dramatic reduction in tumor growth in mouse models with no observable toxicity to normal liver cells. “We have proven this compound is effective and nontoxic in living animals,” says Sarkar. “While we won’t know how FQI1 reacts in humans until the first clinical trial, we are very excited by our findings and hope they lead to a new drug for a disease that is currently very difficult to treat.”

Patients Receive Half of Recommended Preventive Health Screenings

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ore than 20 percent of U.S. adults receive periodic health examinations (PHE) each year, yet new research shows that ­patients who have an annual routine visit to their doctor may not receive recommended preventive screening tests and counseling services that could benefit their health. Recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a study performed by a team of researchers led by Jennifer Elston Lafata, PhD, co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control program at Massey, found that 46 percent of eligible and due services were missed during PHEs. The results came from audio recordings of 484 PHE visits to 64 general internal medicine and family physicians in southeast Michigan. By analyzing the audio recordings to determine if physicians suggested or delivered 19 guideline-recommended preventive services, the researchers discovered that the services most likely to be delivered were screenings for colorectal cancer, hypertension and breast c­ ancer.

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Jennifer Elston Lafata, PhD Patients were least likely to receive counseling about aspirin use and vision screening, and were also unlikely to have an influenza immunization recommended or delivered. The team also evaluated the factors contributing to service delivery, which

decreased with patient age and increased with the patient’s body mass index (BMI). While approximately half of the 19 preventive services studied were prompted in the patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), the researchers were surprised to find that services were less likely to be delivered during visits where the physician accessed the EMR in the exam room. In addition, the patients whose doctors ran behind in their appointments seemed to receive more preventive services. “It appears that while some preventive services are likely to be received by some patients, several services which are known to reduce disease go undelivered during routine PHEs,” says Elston Lafata. “Technological advances that provide patients with easy access to their personal health records coupled with automated reminders may be one way patients can work with physicians to increase delivery of preventive services and subsequently lower overall health care costs.”


Researchers Identify a New Way to Reduce the Spread of Brain Cancer

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cientists at Massey and VCU’s Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center, along with researchers at Old Dominion University have discovered a mechanism in glioblastoma (GBM) cells, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer, that promotes the disease’s characteristic invasiveness. This finding could lead to new therapies for this difficult-to-treat disease. Reported in the Journal of Neurosurgery, the scientists, led by Massey researcher William C. Broaddus, MD, PhD, showed that suppression of the Wilms tumor 1 protein (WT1) decreases the amount of CD97 gene expression in three glioblastoma cell lines and reduces the cancer’s ability to invade healthy brain tissue. WT1 is a protein that controls the development of several tissue types in humans through a process known as transcription, which is the first of a series of steps leading to gene expression. CD97 is a protein that has been shown in prior research to facilitate tumor cell invasiveness in other malignancies. This study revealed for the first time that CD97 is overexpressed in GBM cells.

“The invasive nature of brain tumors is what makes them difficult to treat,” says Broaddus. In order to reduce WT1 gene expression in their laboratory experiments, the researchers used short interfering RNA (siRNA). siRNA can interfere with the expression of genes, and are often referred to as “silencing” RNA for this reason. The researchers directed the siRNA against WT1 in three different GBM cell lines and reduced invasiveness in all of them. In addition, they demonstrated that WT1 silencing increased the expression of seven genes that play a role in tumor suppression and decreased the expression of nine genes that play a role in tumor formation. Moving forward, the researchers hope to replicate their findings in animal models and other complex experiments that more closely mimic the conditions in the human body. “While we are encouraged by our findings, more research is needed in order to fully understand the biological mechanisms involved,” says Broaddus.

William C. Broaddus, MD, PhD

This finding could lead to new therapies for this difficult-to-treat disease.

Breast Cancer Patients Prefer to Be Involved in Deciding Their Care

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he results of an international study of early stage breast cancer patients reveal that oncologists should work to understand how involved patients want to be in ­deciding their own care, and that patients who direct their own treatment decisions, even if more than they initially hoped, are more satisfied with the decision-making process and its outcomes. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study investigated how breast cancer patients’ involvement preferences change during the treatment decision-making process, and how satisfying those preferences impacts how the patients feel about the outcomes of those decisions. Led by Richard Brown, PhD, a cancer prevention and control researcher

at Massey, the study included 683 early stage breast cancer ­patients of 62 oncologists in five counties. “The findings of this research are relevant to clinicians ­ because they show patients’ involvement preferences are fluid, and that oncologists’ ability to meet these preferences can ­impact ­patients’ satisfaction with their medical care,” says Brown. The researchers hope to next examine other variables that contribute to changes in decision-involvement preferences, explore disease and cultural differences that relate to fulfilling patient decision-making preferences and document associations between meeting or exceeding involvement preferences and patient outcomes.

For more details and more research news from VCU Massey Cancer Center, visit http://blog.vcu.edu/massey_news

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Committed to a Cancer-free Virginia

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ong known as an exceptional resource for the Richmond region, Massey is also dedicated to extending the most advanced cancer treatments and innovative research throughout Virginia. Recent increases in support from the General Assembly, along with funding from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission (TICRC) have helped broaden Massey’s reach far beyond Richmond, to almost every corner of the Commonwealth. These statewide community engagement initiatives are providing education and health information to communities, assessing community health needs and providing the opportunity for those facing cancer to participate in clinical trials as well as cancer prevention and control trials, which will result in improved prevention and detection of cancer, as well as better quality of life during and after treatment.

Taking Science to the Streets (segment courtesy of VCU Medical Center)

For Robert Houlihan, DHA, FACHE, director of research administration and operations at VCU Massey Cancer ­Center, the true effectiveness of any project or trial hinges on translating findings beyond a clinic’s walls or a journal’s pages. “We need to make an impact in the lives of citizens throughout Virginia and take the science to the streets,” he said. Massey initiatives designed to do just that — such as the Rural Cancer Outreach Program and Clinical Research Affiliation Network — are thriving, but in 2008, Massey saw an opportunity to engage community partners on a more intimate level. With $1 million in funding from the TICRC, Massey set out to increase its capacity for cancer research in rural ­Virginia health districts. However, researchers soon recognized a need to get back to the basics and listen to what members of those communities had to say about the disease’s impact on their lives and the effectiveness of the treatment options and support available to them. The year 2010 brought a second Tobacco Commission grant to Massey, this one worth nearly $2.4 million, and while that money funded a handful of projects, chief among them was a needs assessment led by Massey clinical research affiliation coordinator Carlin Rafie, RD, PhD.

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Working in the Mount Rogers, Pittsylvania/Danville, Piedmont and Crater health districts — all of which were determined to be some of the most adversely affected by cancer in the state — Rafie tasked her team with producing in-depth, encompassing portraits of these communities that could then lay the groundwork for future cancer research, prevention and control. While Rafie and her team studied the cancer burden in each district, as well as the level of infrastructure available for care and support, they also hired people in each region, from diverse business, medical and nonprofit sectors, to serve as coordinators who could help facilitate interviews and lead focus groups with health care and hospice service providers, community cancer survivors and residents. After 12 months of data collection, researchers pinpointed the specific continued on page 6

Southside Virginia

• Empowering rural communities:

Through the Cancer Resource Center of Southern Virginia, Massey is partnering with a Community Task Force that will educate and identify resources to help patients. (TICRC Funded)

• Providing education at Virginians’

fingertips: The Health Information & Advocacy @ Your Library program makes information about cancer and other health questions readily available in ten Southside county public library systems. (TICRC Funded)

Petersburg

• Engaging underserved

communities: Petersburg is not only vastly underserved, but has extremely high cancer incidence and mortality rates. Massey researchers conducted town hall meetings in order to develop longterm, evidence-based programs to address the community’s needs.


Most of Virginia

• Communicating with employers: In partnership with the Legal

• Understanding how employment and insurance impact treatment

• Encouraging healthy habits: Massey’s “One Tiny Reason to Quit”

• Learning how to address needs of all patients: Massey research

Information Network for Cancer, Massey researchers created a DVD to help newly diagnosed patients manage employment concerns. (TICRC funded) advertising campaign encouraged smoking cessation among pregnant women. (TICRC funded)

decisions: New research is being conducted by Massey to identify patients who may opt out of life-saving treatments due to health insurance and work demands. showed that disadvantaged groups of patients often have fewer options when seeking diagnosis and treatment for apparent cancer-related symptoms, and have greater difficulty recognizing early signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer.

Massey Clinical Sites and Clinical Research Affiliates: Locations where patients can be treated and/or access clinical trials, genetic counseling or telemedicine Cancer Prevention and Control Research Sites: Locations where research related to behavioral, policy, organizational and environmental factors that affect cancer risk, diagnosis, treatment and survival is being conducted Community Outreach Sites: Cancer needs assessment (see article, p. 4) and health education activities including HIA @ Your Library

Fredericksburg

Richmond Lynchburg Petersburg

Danville

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Committed to a Cancer-free Virginia continued Access to Cancer Resources in Southside Virginia

Carlin Rafie, RD, PhD, and Wanda Hunt help lead Massey’s statewide initiatives. demands of each district while also identifying some very distinct, overlapping needs across the board, including shortages of oncology and primary care services, as well as support groups for patients, survivors and caregivers. Additionally, the districts expressed a desire for cancer information centers, improved access to tobacco cessation, diet and exercise programs and more effective communication strategies for patients, physicians and oncologists. Researchers are now crafting subsequent project proposals to make a true impact in these communities. Additionally, the coordinators are disseminating the results to key community organizations to stimulant local action and draw resources into the health districts to address the needs.

Consumer health information and resources for the cancer community are now easier to find and access in ­Southside Virginia thanks to the new Cancer Resource Center of ­Southern Virginia (Resource Center). The ­Resource Center’s mission is to facilitate the availability of local, state and national cancer programs and resources to individuals living within the southern regions of the Commonwealth. It identifies the specific needs and services that are of the greatest help to residents affected by cancer through the guidance of a Cancer Task Force composed of local cancer care providers, cancer community organizations and health district leaders — all in partnership with Virginia’s leading cancer resource, VCU Massey Cancer Center. Located in D ­ anville, the Resource Center supports the findings of the cancer needs assessment conducted of several local health districts by Massey. The Resource C ­ enter is supported by Massey through a grant from the TICRC. Polly Cole, consumer health education manager, travels to the area weekly as a liaison from Massey. The Resource Center acts as a switchboard and search engine for directing individuals living in southern Virginia to community cancer resources, such as identifying transportation to treatments

and doctors’ appointments, co-payment assistance programs and providers for the uninsured, as well as managing an online calendar of community cancer events. It also plans cancer-related programs and activities, such as the free cancer prevention and survivorship program series, Keeping Well. In addition, the Resource Center provides diseaserelated, site-specific education packets to cancer patients through the Cancer Task Force and local oncology practices. And, collaborating with the Health Information & Advocacy @ Your Library program (also led by Cole) available at 20 local library branches, it offers the public ­accurate, reliable and current information related to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship. “Cancer exacts a burden on the physical, mental and economic wellbeing of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones. There are a great number of varied sources of support to help lift the burden, but these are often underutilized because their existence is unknown,” says Melanie Vaughan, coordinator at the Resource Center with Charlotte Litzenberg. “Our goal is to serve as the connection between these helpful resources and the folks who need them. Many of these support services can have a positive impact on someone facing cancer.”

Researching for Better Life After Cancer

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esearchers are learning how lifestyle relates to quality of life for cancer survivors through the “Day and Night” observational study now accepting participants in the Southside and Southwest counties of Virginia. Massey Cancer Center and the TICRC are funding the project led by Yi Ning, MD, ScD, an assistant professor in Massey’s Cancer Prevention & Control program. Researchers will observe cancer survivors along with those who have never had cancer in hopes of finding similarities

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or differences in diet, daytime activities and sleep habits that ­indicate a relationship between lifestyle and long-term cancer survival following cancer. The study specifically seeks survivors of stage 1 and stage 2 breast, prostate, colorectal and lung cancer. “Our hope is that this study will provide the needed insight to help tailor interventions and help cancer survivors lead their best lives,” says Ning. For more information, call Susan Mathena at (434) 766-6649. To find out more about clinical trials, visit www.masseytrials.com.


Massey Alliance Celebrates 10 Years

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en years ago, a group of young professionals joined ­together to raise funds for VCU Massey Cancer ­Center. Through their effort, Moonlight Magic was born and is now one of Richmond’s must-attend summer events, boasting more than 500 attendees each year and raising more than $300,000 cumulatively for cancer research since its inception. Beyond Moonlight Magic, the Massey Alliance has evolved into a strong junior board of advocates, fundraisers and philanthropists committed to raising funds and educating their peers and the community about Massey’s mission. The Alliance recently unveiled a strategic plan created to outline a path of channeling Richmond’s next generation of philanthropists to raise $100,000 annually by 2016. In addition to Moonlight Magic, the Alliance also hosts another fundraiser, Massey on the River, each fall and conducts educational and community outreach projects. For more information, visit www.massey.vcu.edu/masseyalliance. “The Massey Alliance started as a way for people to engage in an important cause in the community while having fun and meeting new people. It is wonderful to look at the Alliance now and see how it has grown and prospered. I am proud that Moonlight Magic—our very first fundraising event— is still going strong 10 years later. When great people come together to support such an important cause, the results speak for themselves. I believe that the Cancer Center has benefited from the Alliance, and that Alliance members have benefited from their participation. That is what it is all about.” —Will Massey, founding president, 2001–2002 “The Massey Alliance has an incredible reach into the community to raise awareness for Massey Cancer Center’s resources as a research and cancer treatment center. I’m proud to be part of this group during an exciting time of growth—with 10 years of foundation, we are evolving into one of the premier young professional groups in Richmond.” —Procter Fishburne, president-elect, 2011–2012 “With so many of us being impacted by cancer, the Massey Alliance offers a wonderful way for young professionals to turn a negative into a positive. The combination of great networking opportunities, raising critical funds for cancer research and educating the community makes the Alliance a really unique group. Plus, lifelong friendships are made through the Massey Alliance…friendships that are stronger and better because they were formed out of a common belief that we need to take a stand in the fight against cancer.” —Carrie Bickford, chair, Moonlight Magic, 2002–2004 “When I first became involved with the Massey Alliance, it was because cancer directly impacted my family and I wanted to put my own energy into efforts that supported the

Massey’s young philanthropists enjoy the annual Celebrating Massey reception. Left-right: Michelle Kahn Logan, Marty Tompkins Ritter, Mary Harvard Nolde, Eliza Heyward, Liza Jarvis Scott, Whitney Pinna. ­ ission of VCU Massey Cancer Center. Through ­fundraising m and awareness, the Alliance gives young professionals the ­opportunity to directly support the promising discoveries that are occurring at Massey. My time on the board created a commitment to Massey that continues, and the friendships that I created while being a member are life-long.” —Todd Flowers, Massey Alliance Board, 2005–2011 “When I was participating on the Alliance Board, I felt a strong connection to the Richmond community. I got so much from the Massey Alliance—from a sense of service, to lifelong friendships, to an enormous amount of knowledge about cancer prevention for myself. When my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer there was no question as to where she would be treated. It was as if my participation in the Alliance benefited my own mother. It was comforting to know the people at Massey and to know that they cared about my mother. It made it personal.”     —Becky Olson, president, 2007–2009; Moonlight Magic co-chair, 2004 & 2005 “The Alliance is a vital part of Massey Cancer Center as it engages young people to both think about cancer prevention and to raise cancer awareness. I am excited that the Alliance is rolling out a strategic plan and is committed to being the premier young professional board in Richmond and making a difference in the fight against cancer in Virginia. I view having been the president of the Alliance as one of my greatest and most rewarding accomplishments.” —Whitney Pinna, president, 2011–2012

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Centerpieces Faculty News Karen Hayes, nurse practitioner at Massey Cancer Center at Stony Point, received her doctorate of nursing practice from University of Virginia. This is the highest degree for advanced practice nurses pursuing clinical work as opposed to research. Cindy Pilarinos, RN, MPA, joined Massey in February as Clinical Research Nurse Administrator. In this role she will provide leadership and management to Massey’s growing team of clinical research nurses and associates.

Welcome new Massey Members! Left: Dawn Quinn, RN. Right: Marcia Megginson, RN; Deb Zimmerman, MS, RN, Chief Nursing Officer for VCU Health System; Chris Jekanowski, RN.

Honoring Extraordinary Massey Nurses

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he DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses is an international recognition program for nurses across the country. As a participating healthcare facility, VCU Medical Center invites patients and colleagues to nominate those nurses who demonstrate exceptional skill, compassion and dedication in their work. A committee of peers reviews the nominations and selects recipients on a monthly basis. To date, Massey has honored six DAISY nurses. Here are excerpts from the most recent recipients’ nomination forms: “Chris has been great with my 12-year-old daughter in explaining my treatments so she could understand. Her hugs are outstanding, too! Chris goes the extra mile to provide quality care and serves as a wonderful liaison between myself and the doctors. She is not just a nurse, but a friend!” — nomination for Chris Jekanowski, RN, Dalton Oncology Clinic “From the first time I was introduced to Marcia, I felt I already knew her as a friend. She not only made me feel very comfortable discussing clinical trials, but also made my family members comfortable, too. Marcia stays abreast of the program and informs us up front so we know what to expect. Lastly, let’s not forget that beautiful, contagious smile that seems to go for miles!” —nomination for Marcia Megginson, RN, Clinical Research Nurse “The very first time my husband and I stepped into the Thomas Palliative Care Unit, we knew my father-in-law was in good hands. In fact, he was in the best hands…those of Dawn Quinn, RN…Throughout Dad’s stay on the unit, Dawn eased our worries with an amazing balance of humor and compassion…We will always appreciate the way she treated us and the way she provided honest answers to difficult questions. Mostly though, we will always appreciate the way she treated dad — with the respect and compassion that only a truly extraordinary caregiver can provide.” —nomination for Dawn Quinn, RN, Thomas Palliative Care Unit

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assey Cancer Center research membership is open to research investigators, clinicians, cancer survivors, patient advocates and community leaders engaged in and/ or supportive of cancer-related research. Membership eligibility and privileges are defined by a candidate’s level of current cancer-related research activity. Please join us in welcoming the following new scientists as Massey research members: Andrey Budanov, PhD, Cancer Molecular Genetics Program Luni Emdad, PhD, Cancer Molecular Genetics Program Zhenjun Lou, PhD, Cancer Molecular Genetics Program Bhaumik Patel, MD, Developmental Therapeutics Program David Wheeler, PhD, Cancer Molecular Genetics Program


Massey Brings Lesson Plans to Life

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assey’s Goodwin Research Laboratory recently served as a real-world classroom for local high school students learning about cancer research. Two dozen freshman biology students from Henrico High School’s ­International Baccalaureate program were given a rare first-hand look at cancer cells and research labs and the unique opportunity to interact with some of the country’s top research scientists. Back at school, the students had been deep into the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, learning about HeLa cells, an immortal ovarian cancer cell line used in cancer research that was taken, without consent, from Henrietta Lacks in 1951. On their visit to Massey, Clinical Research Nurse Mary Beth Tombes, RN, MN, explained how Lacks’ story was the impetus for developing the process of informed consent, and how clinical research has evolved to include procedures that ensure the safety and consent of participants. The students were then introduced to Massey researchers David Williams, MD, PhD, and Shirley Taylor, PhD, who invited the students to get a firsthand look at cells under a microscope and observe researchers working with actual tissue samples. “VCU Massey Cancer Center gave my students the awesome opportunity to bring those concepts to life. This experience showed them that the knowledge they are gaining in our classroom is being used to save lives and to make a positive impact in the world,” said the class’s teacher, Vonita Giddings. 

Two dozen freshman biology students from Henrico High School’s ­International Baccalaureate program were given a rare first-hand look at cancer cells and research labs and the unique opportunity to interact with some of the country’s top research scientists.

Left-right: Janet Showalter; Lee Showalter; Judy Turbeville; Nathan Turbeville; Gordon Ginder, MD, director, Massey Cancer Center; Charles Cabell; Michael Rao, PhD, president, VCU; Becky Massey; Norwood Davis.

Donors Celebrate “Topping Out” of New Building

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he final steel beam was added to the construction of the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Medical ­Education Center on November 15. Following tradition, a ceremony took place to mark the milestone in the building’s progress, with officials and guests invited to inscribe a message and signature on the final beam. Massey Cancer Center will occupy three floors of the building and utilize shared resources that will be housed there, greatly expanding available research space when the building is completed in Spring 2013.

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Investments in Progress Gift is Meaningful Tribute for Sheridan Family

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Photo by Delia Sullivan

Bentley, Jennifer and Win Sheridan

en and Win Sheridan are all too familiar with the fight against ­cancer. Their lives have been deeply touched by the disease several times, inspiring the couple to commit $60,000 to VCU Massey Cancer Center. “Both of our mothers fought cancer,” says Win Sheridan. “My mother is a survivor, but unfortunately, when Jen was only 18, her mother lost her battle. Experiencing those two very different outcomes to this vicious disease makes it clear how much we still need to learn about how to fight it.” Sheridan, who also lost an uncle to cancer, was introduced to Massey through associates of Apex Systems, Inc., the company he co-founded and for which he serves as co-CEO. ­Impressed with Massey’s role as a leader in treating all patients, regardless of ability to pay, with world-class, researchbased treatments, he decided to accept a position on the Massey Advisory Board, and later an active role in the Research for Life Campaign. Recently, he and Jen made a $50,000 gift toward the ­Cabell ­Foundation Challenge to support Massey’s new research space in the VCU School of Medicine’s McGlothlin Medical Education Center, scheduled for completion in Spring 2013.

Committed to the Cause Massey benefits from individuals, corporations and small groups of people who come together for a common goal

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For the second year, Stella & Dot representatives Kelly Cox and Jenny Foley delivered holiday gifts of beautiful boxes of jewelry for Massey’s Acute Care Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant and other inpatient units. u

“The more I have learned about the innovative research and collaborative work taking place at Massey, the more I want to be a part of it. I know Jen’s mother and my uncle would be proud to have their legacy live on in this way,” says Sheridan. The Sheridan’s investment in the Research for Life Campaign comes in addition to renewal of their commitment to the Massey Club, Massey’s leadership annual giving society. “Scientific research is a long-term investment, no doubt about it,” says Sheridan. “But the flexibility of the annual fund to meet immediate needs and respond to opportunities is equally crucial.” The Sheridan’s Massey Club gift was made in honor of Win’s mother, Sally Sheridan; and their Research for Life commitment was made in memory of his uncle, Michael Casey, and Jen’s mother, Sherry Millard. “We believe in Massey’s mission of eliminating suffering caused by cancer. Our hope is that our daughter won’t have to witness her loved ones fight this disease the way we have,” says Jen Sheridan. To learn more about the Cabell ­Foundation Challenge, the Research for Life Campaign, or the Massey Club, please visit www.massey.vcu.edu or call Lee Boykin at (804) 827-0600.


Gift Will Help “Unlock the Power of the Human Immune System”

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s chair of the Massey Advisory Board, Ted Chandler takes his leadership role seriously. So when he and his wife, Laura Lee, started thinking about their gift to Massey’s Research for Life campaign, they knew they wanted to lead by example. “It was important for us to make gifts that would support Massey generally, but also support a specific research priority where we could make a difference while encouraging others to do the same,” says Chandler. The Chandlers decided to invest in Massey’s annual fund and to ­create the Chandler Family Research ­Project Fund. The family fund supports multi-component research from Massey’s Bone Marrow ­Transplant P ­ rogram, called “Biomarkers for ­Tailored Immunotherapy in Bone ­Marrow Transplant,” led by the program’s medical director, John ­McCarty, MD. Tailored immunotherapy refers to new lines of study that are helping physicianresearchers pinpoint how much and what specific kind of therapy would best benefit a patient through analysis of genes, proteins and molecular markers that can indicate an individual’s tolerance of the treatment. “Although much progress has been made in bone marrow transplantation over the last 15-20 years, there is still much about the treatment that is ­empirical,” says McCarty. “Too much or

The Chester /Colonial Heights Friends of Massey Cancer Center has been raising funds and awareness for Massey since 2003. From 5k races, to sales of Rada cutlery, candles and various mixes, this group has raised more than $8,700 since 2009. Massey is grateful for the time and energy this dedicated group of volunteers continues to lend to our efforts to defeat cancer.

Left-right: John McCarty, MD, medical director of Massey’s Bone Marrow Transplant Program; Katie Chandler Merritt, Laura Lee Chandler, Ted Chandler. too little therapy has profound impact on our patients’ outcomes and quality of life.” “Bone marrow transplantation is a very sophisticated form of medicine…but can sometimes be a little like driving a Ferrari down a dark road through the woods. In those cases we desperately want to get on better roads with a better GPS system to guide us,” explains McCarty. McCarty and his team of three addi­ tional physician-researchers conduct more than 160 bone marrow transplants per year, and participate in numerous clinical trial cooperatives with other leading cancer research centers. The Chandler’s gift gives the team needed flexibility to respond to opportunities to participate in promising clinical trials, as

well as to advance their own research and extend it to other transplant centers for collaboration. The Chandlers hope others will follow their lead. “The experience of learning about Massey’s nationally prominent transplant research has been extraordinarily uplifting,” says Chandler. “We now feel personally connected and invested in this priority, and will be passionate advocates for the progress we know Dr. McCarty’s team will make in saving lives.” “This fund gives us a huge advantage. It is truly a wonderful seed from which we can grow some great things, and hopefully unlock the power of the h ­ uman immune system in the most effective way for each patient,” says McCarty.

A group of students from Liberty Middle School in Ashland decided to make fleece blankets for Massey patients as part of a school project. The resourceful students raised funds and solicited donated materials to make blankets and quickly learned just how generous their community can be! In February they made their first blanket delivery with more than 50 handmade blankets ready to be given to patients. u

Spring 2012 • 11


Special Events 17th Annual Women & Wellness Forum Series

S (Left-right) Barbara Brown, chair, 2012 Women & Wellness; Geralyn Lucas, Tim Butturini, regional president of Wells Fargo bank; Grace Butturini.

One of twelve “Jewels for a Cure” pieces.

The saleswomen for Women & Wellness’ raffle tickets were easy to spot in their flashing tiaras and bright aprons.

Cecelia Boardman, MD (2nd from left), visited with Massey Advisory Board members (left-right) Cessie Howell, Dianne Harris Wright and Jean Ann Bolling.

12 • Advance

hades of pink and red are always plentiful Massey’s Valentinethemed ­Women & Wellness breakfast and luncheon, but the 2012 event held on February 7 featured a plethora of ruby-colored lips, in honor of keynote speaker, Geralyn Lucas. ­Lucas, a breast cancer survivor and author of the bestselling book-turnedTV movie Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy, has made her bold red lipstick her signature — symbolizing the empowerment, strength and femininity she discovered after undergoing a mastectomy at the young age of 27. Lucas brought her candid, humorous and inspiring story to more than 600 Richmonders who attended Women & Wellness, which was supported by the Jenkins Foundation for the 16th year. Along with her personal experience, Lucas shared her mission of encouraging women to make their cancer screenings a priority, and removing the myth of the “ouch factor” associated with mammograms. Women & Wellness also featured the “Jewels for a Cure” raffle. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase a chance at one of twelve sparkling pieces generously donated by twelve different ­Richmond area jewelers, raising more than $13,000 toward the event’s proceeds. With the help of other major sponsors —Wells Fargo and the Stonehenge Breast Cancer Golf Tournament — Women & Wellness is expected to raise more than $170,000, bringing the event’s 17-year total to more than $2.2 million for women’s cancer research at Massey.


2012 HDL, Inc. Massey Challenge

W Greeters at the Massey Opening Night Shopping Spree at The Bizarre Bazaar® handed out festive bags to attendees. Right: Baugh Auto Body Shop and HandCraft Cleaners sponsored “Tribute Trees,” giving attendees the opportunity to make a donation and dedicate an ornament to a loved one.

hen 40,000 runners and walkers hit the street on March 31 for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, nearly 1,600 did so with a mission...raising awareness and funds for Massey. For the seventh year, Massey was the charitable partner for the 10k and, through the Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. Massey Challenge, provided participants with the opportunity to support local cancer research by raising money through their 10k walk or run. 162 teams were formed and, as of press time, nearly $450,000 had been raised with funds continuing to be collected toward Massey’s ultimate goal of raising $500,000 (gross).

Shopping Spree at The Bizarre Bazaar®

T

he 9th Annual Massey Opening Night Shopping Spree at The Bizarre ­Bazaar® sponsored by SunTrust took place on Wednesday, November 30, at the ­Richmond International Raceway Complex. More than 1,000 people attended the exclusive shopping event and enjoyed festive drinks and food, raising nearly $75,000 for Massey Cancer Center.

Jamie Friedman and Tricia Irvine, along with their MCV Medical School teammates, raised $2,200.

Sponsors and Massey Advisory Board members joined Delegate Chris Jones (center) and Governor Bob McDonnell (center right) in a check presentation to Gordon Ginder, MD, director, Massey Cancer Center (center left).

Capitol Square Basketball Classic

T

he 4th Annual Capitol Square Basketball Classic was held on February 28 at the VCU Siegel Center. Pitting lobbyists versus the Governor and his staff, and delegates versus senators, the friendly evening of competition netted nearly $12,000 for Massey.

Amanda Wray (left) ran and raised $1,245 in honor of her husband, Dustin, and his three battles with cancer.

Spring 2012 • 13


Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center 401 College Street P.O. Box 980214 Richmond, Virginia 23298-0214

Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Richmond, VA Permit No. 869

Events Calendar April 22

May 17

Swim for Massey 10:30 am–12:30 pm NOVA of Virginia Aquatics

Secret Garden Party

April 29

June 9

VCU School of Medicine Charity Golf Tournament 11:00 am–5:00 pm The Tradition Golf Club at Brickshire

May 3

Free Head & Neck Cancer Screenings Massey’s Dalton Oncology Clinic (downtown Richmond) MCV Physicians at Temple Avenue (Prince George) 1:00–4:00 pm Appointments suggested, call (804) 628-2541

5:30–8:30 pm

Becky’s Healing Garden and other downtown gardens 10th Annual Moonlight Magic presented by Skanska

6:30–10:30 pm

James River Cellars Tickets now available at www.massey.vcu.edu/ moonlight

May 5

Moss on the James Tea Party Goodwin Research Laboratory

For more information on these and other events supporting Massey, please visit www.massey.vcu.edu or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teammassey.

Advance--Spring 2012  

Spring 2012 issue of VCU Massey Cancer Center's Advance magazine

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