Volume 1, Issue 6

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Cancer Awareness Month

March is…
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month

Welcome New Employees

Mahboubeh (Mahby) Pishgou, Physician Assistant, Department of Radiation Oncology

Faculty Senate Awards

JohnsonOutstanding Young Clinical Science Faculty Award: Theodore S. Johnson, MD/PhD, Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance; Assistant Professor Department of Pediatrics
GanapathyEducator of the Year Award From Class of 2017:
Vadivel Ganapathy, PhD, Chair, Biochemistry and Cancer Biology Program
Chair, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department; Leader, Signaling & Angiogenesis Program.
LiuBasic Science Research Award: Kebin Liu, PhD, Member, Cancer Immunology, Inflammation and Tolerance Program; Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyLearn more about MCG Faculty Senate Awards…

GRU Research Day

Thursday, March 20, 2014:
Postdoctoral Fellow Oral Presentations

Friday, March 21, 2014:
Poster Session (Wellness Center); Keynote Address


Research Poster Templates & Printing

materials Downloadable 48 x 36 research poster templates are available online.Poster printers are available on the 2nd Floor.Visit our Branding & Identity page now.
Taking pride and showing pride in our community

Director's Corner: Samir N. Khleif, MD

“A neighbor is not he whom I find in my path, but rather he in whose path I place myself, he whom I approach and actively seek.”Gustavo Gutierrez

You’ve probably seen the signs in our lobbies or perhaps posted around campus or area neighborhoods. Perhaps you’ve also seen the static stickers on cars in our parking lot or in the windows of area businesses. Perhaps there is a sign in your own yard or car. Their message is simple, but important.

I Am Proud to Support the GRU Cancer Center.

What this represents is more than merely an understanding that the work we do here is important and beneficial. It represents a certain level of engagement by the community. It represents the idea that the community we serve is just as proud as we are of the work we do here.
And that’s important.

You see, it’s easy to get lost in the work we do here. It’s easy to become so focused on the challenges we strive to overcome and the breakthroughs we chase that we lose sight, for a second, of the big picture. We don’t work for the GRU Cancer Center. We don’t work for Georgia Regents University. We work for the people of this community and the fact that it makes them proud should make us proud as well.

Have you Heard…?

  • Building: A Community
    We are honored that our community has recognized the importance of our vision … . We are particularly glad to have this opportunity to reinforce our need for a new cancer facility. >> Continue reading
  • Calling All ArtistsIn appreciation of the creative talents of the GRU Cancer Center employees, we are developing an Employee Art Exhibit to display the work from our own staff and faculty throughout the year in our lobby. >> Continue reading
  • Hearts and Hands
    Grovetown Elementary School students are working on a project to make blankets for Georgia Radiation Therapy Center’s cancer patients. . >> Continue reading
  • March is Social Workers Month
    Each March we observe National Professional Social Work Month as a way to celebrate the hard work and dedication of social workers across the country and highlight the important contributions they make to society. >> Continue reading

Grants News

  • John K. Cowell, PhD, DSc, FRCPath, received a 1-year, $100K ‘bridge funding’ award from the  American Society of Hematology (ASH) in support of a recent NIH grant submission that was considered to be of high impact by NIH study sections but fell outside of the funding range. The ASH bridge funding program provides funds that will allow additional data to be collected to support re-submissions of such proposals. The proposal by Dr. Cowell focused on assessing whether targeting the FGFR1 kinase would be a new treatment for AML. Funds provided by ASH will support investigations into the use of in vivo AML models to target FGFR1 kinase with novel drugs and to study the mechanisms of resistance to these anti-FGFR1 therapeutics.
  • Esteban Celis, MD, PhD, brings to the GRU Cancer Center the remaining  3 years of his 5-year NCI/NIH R01 grant, “Interferon-gamma limits the effectiveness of peptide vaccines for cancer” that was awarded $1.6M during his tenure at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. One of the major obstacles for developing effective vaccines for treating cancer has been producing vaccines that induce strong immune responses against tumors. Unfortunately, most current vaccine types generate minimal immune responses and have little effect against established tumors. We have designed a novel vaccination approach called TriVax that utilizes 3 basic components: 1) synthetic peptides (protein fragments) derived from tumor antigens that stimulate T lymphocytes; 2) potent immunological adjuvants that activate the immune system; and 3) immune stimulatory monoclonal antibodies that enhance the efficacy of T cells to react with tumor cells. Preliminary results in a mouse model of malignant melanoma using TriVax demonstrates that this strategy is effective in inducing strong anti-tumor-T cell responses capable of decreasing tumor growth and enhancing survival. Interestingly, we also observed that TriVax is a substantially better therapy for established tumors, resulting in total tumor eradications in mice that are deficient of interferon-gamma. These results are confounding because interferon-gamma is a cytokine considered to be beneficial for immunotherapy against cancer. The goal of proposed studies is to undercover the mechanisms involved by which interferon-gamma may be inhibiting the therapeutic efficacy of TriVax and to develop strategies to overcome the negative effects of this cytokine in the treatment of cancer using optimized vaccines. The results from these studies will serve as preclinical data that will allow us to take this novel approach into the clinic to treat human patients with various types of cancer.

Newly Activated Clinical Trials

  • Cindy Neunert, MD, received a $56K sub-contract from Boston Children’s Hospital for “ICON 1: Physician Treatment Decisions and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Pediatric Refractory Immune Thrombocytopebia.”
  • Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD, received $239K from Newlink Genetics for “A Phase I/II Study of the Combination of Indoximod and Temozolomide for Adult Patients with Temozolomide-Refractory Primary Malignant Brain Tumors.”
  • Yousef Zakharia, MD, received $210K from Argos Therapeutics, Inc. for “An International Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Autologous Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy (AGS-003) Plus Standard Treatment of Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma (ADAPT).”
Recent Publications
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About Jagwire

Jagwire is the official source for news and stories from Augusta University and AU Health. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia. Read on for stories of innovation in education and health care, opportunities at the center of Georgia’s new cybersecurity hub, and experiential learning that blends arts and application, humanities and the health sciences. Have a story to share with Jaguar Nation? Contact the Division of Communications & Marketing.
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