Patient Advocates Join Researchers to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Cancer patient advocates take on many roles in their communities. They may go out to churches to promote the benefits of cancer screening, lead patient and survivor support groups, or offer a patient’s perspective on review panels that evaluate research grants. Many times, an experience with cancer pushes people to accept advocacy roles to fill some unmet need or simply to give back.

All of these efforts were on display at this year’s American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in New Orleans Nov. 2-5. Opening the conference, 10 patient survivors and caregivers of various ethnicities and types of cancers took to the stage to describe how cancer has changed them and what cancer research has given them personally.

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Examining the Tumor Microenvironment and Metabolism in Ovarian Cancer

Dong-Joo (Ellen) Cheon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Regenerative and Cancer Cell Biology at Albany Medical College and the 2017 AACR Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award grantee, has been working in the field of ovarian cancer her entire career.

She was first introduced to ovarian cancer research as a graduate student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston when she was tasked with generating CA125 knockout mice. CA125, or cancer antigen 125, is a blood serum biomarker routinely used to diagnose and monitor ovarian cancer.

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A Growing Commitment to Cancer Survivors

Thanks to decades of cancer research that have brought us groundbreaking discoveries and treatments, 15.5 million U.S. cancer survivors have more time to spend with their loved ones. That number is only going up, to an estimated 26.1 million by 2040.

For most of these survivors, their journey comes with complications and lasting side effects. Many continue to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional impact of their cancer diagnosis long after their final treatment. Thousands of survivors face financial challenges resulting from or made worse by their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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The Unequal Geographic Burden of Lung Cancer

The lung cancer death rate—the number of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 U.S. men and women—has been decreasing slowly but steadily in the United States for the past 25 years. The latest National Cancer Institute (NCI) data show that it declined 31 percent from a high of 59.1 lung cancer deaths per 100,000 U.S. men and women in 1993 to 40.6 in 2015.

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From the Journals: Editors’ Picks for October

Back for the month of October are the editors’ picks from the eight esteemed scientific journals published by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). These journals showcase peer-reviewed studies in diverse areas of cancer research, extending from basic discoveries to clinical trials. As always, the articles highlighted below are freely available for a limited time.

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Party with a Purpose Joins AACR to Support Prostate Cancer Research

For the third year running, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has been selected as the beneficiary of the 18th annual Party with a Purpose, a cause-driven gala in Philadelphia that supports lifesaving cancer research. Funds raised at this year’s event will be dedicated to research focused on prostate cancer. This common cancer is estimated to affect nearly 165,000 men in 2018, according to recent statistics.

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AACR CEO Receives Women for Oncology Award

On Friday, Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, was honored with the 2018 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Women for Oncology Award for her role in supporting the career development of women in oncology.

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Understanding Inherited Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. In 2018, 266,120 women and 2,550 men are expected to receive the news that they have the disease, according to National Cancer Institute data.

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of breast cancers in U.S. women and between 5 percent and 20 percent of breast cancers in U.S. men. For women who undergo genetic testing and learn that they have inherited a BRCA1/2 mutation before they receive a breast cancer diagnosis there are ways to reduce their risk of going on to develop the disease.

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What is Convergence? How Can It Further Cancer Research?

The 30th Anniversary AACR Special Conference Convergence: Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Prediction in Cancer is focusing on a relatively new interdisciplinary field that seeks to further cancer research through the use of mathematics and computation, among other disciplines.

We had the opportunity to speak with both co-chairs about convergence and several areas of interest that will be discussed at the upcoming meeting, to be held Oct. 14-17 in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Foti Meets with Israeli President, Discusses Cancer’s Global Impact

On Sunday, Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR, met with the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, at his residence in Jerusalem.

Foti has had a long, fruitful relationship with the Israeli cancer community. Her meeting with Rivlin and First Lady Nechama Rivlin was coordinated by longtime friend and colleague Miri Ziv, the Director General of the Israel Cancer Association.

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