The Global Oncology Initiative encourages researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to develop innovative and cost-effective ways to control and treat cancer in low resource countries. Ambitious inaugural proposals from three young researchers serve as prime examples.
There could be new hope for people diagnosed with glioma. An enzyme inhibitor in development can control the cancer and reduce the tumor growth rate by as much as 50 percent, according to a Phase I clinical trial conducted by researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and other institutions. The results are particularly striking because the 66 patients in the study failed to completely respond to previous treatments.
A surgical oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has found that a simple procedure dramatically reduces lymphedema, a long-term swelling of the arm, after the removal of lymph nodes in breast cancer patients. This technique “lowers the rate of lymphedema from nearly one in five patients to just 3 percent.” said Eli Avisar, M.D.
A team of researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has obtained promising results with patients who have acute myeloid leukemia that has not responded well to prior standard treatments. Acute myeloid leukemia is a blood cancer characterized by rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells most commonly found in older patients.
As part of the Florida Firefighter Cancer Initiative, experts at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center examined survey responses from 2,399 firefighters statewide about cancer and prevention practices. The findings were published as a Research Letter online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology.
Thirty years ago, Marlene Berg founded Cancer Link with a small group of women to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research. Since then, the all-volunteer nonprofit has raised nearly $3 million to support Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “We are all grateful for the great care provided by Sylvester’s medical team," said Berg.
At the dedication ceremony held November 18, 2016, for The Lennar Foundation Medical Center — the gleaming five-story, 206,000-square foot state-of-the-art outpatient facility constructed by UHealth-the University of Miami Health System on the Coral Gables campus — speakers described a new vision for health care.
Jessica MacIntyre, M.S.N., ARNP, director of clinical operations for the Office of the Director at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was honored at the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Women Empowering and Embracing Women awards program on December 1. She received the “Inspiring and Achieving Award” for her work in health care.
Angelique Muniz boxed in college, and since then she has kept physically active at a local gym, mixing cardio kickboxing with Zumba and yoga classes. But she fought the fight of her life two years ago, when an irritation in her throat turned out to be stage 3 oral cancer. Her aggressive cancer required an aggressive response: the removal and reconstruction of half of her tongue, followed by radiation and extensive therapy.
A consortium made up of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and scientific institutions in Argentina has been awarded a prestigious National Cancer Institute U54 grant to pursue research in AIDS-related malignancies while developing the careers of a critical mass of junior researchers in Argentina.
Recognizing the expertise, proven success record and promise of further discovery, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has awarded a Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) grant to a 12-member team of researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The team is led by Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester.
New findings by researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center may prove to be an important solution to one of the more difficult problems faced in the field of precision medicine when it comes to treating cancer. An article reporting their findings, “Discordancy Partitioning for Validating Potentially Inconsistent Pharmacogenomic Studies,” was published online November 9 by Scientific Reports.
A collaborative study by researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and colleagues has identified a novel therapeutic target for incurable prostate cancer. The research found a critical role for thioredoxin-1, a protein that protects cells from oxidative stress, in the progression of prostate cancer to the incurable castration-resistant stage.
With the telltale beating of a single drum and a tap on the shoulder with an iron arrow, members of the Iron Arrow Honor Society renewed one of the U’s greatest traditions during homecoming week. Marching across the Coral Gables and medical campuses in a solemn procession, they bestowed a leading University of Miami honor on 20 lucky recipients.
Pique Therapeutics, Inc. has announced encouraging results in a clinical trial of PT 107, an immunotherapy developed by a renowned scientist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common form of the disease.
Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned physician-scientist, has joined the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as co-leader of the Tumor Biology Program and associate director for Program Development. His departmental appointments are professor and associate vice chair of surgery, and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.
Denise “Denny” Feinsilver’s legacy as a fierce advocate and fundraiser for cancer research is now a permanent part of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Denny Feinsilver Patient Reception Area was formally dedicated October 2 during a ceremony that included her family and friends, and the leadership of Sylvester and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of a very limited number of sites in the United States that will provide a newly approved innovative treatment for diffuse large B cell lymphoma — an aggressive form of blood cancer. It takes a patient’s own immune cells (T cells), and uses state-of-the-art genetic engineering to transform them into a supercharged cancer-hunting cellular therapy.
Starting in 2018, Comic Cure, a company that uses the power of laughter to uplift and engage social communities around important causes, will partner with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to produce quarterly comedy shows that will be broadcast live to all seven Sylvester locations throughout South Florida. “If laughter is the best medicine, then we are the pharmacy,” said Comic Cure co-founder Benjamin Leis.
Many breast cancer patients share similar stories, but there is always something about each patient’s story that is unique. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are the profiles of three women who are long-time patients of radiologist Nilza Kallos, M.D., Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s director of women’s imaging at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center.
With three children and nine grandchildren spread around the country, Patricia Emard, 64, who retired as assistant director of bus operations for Miami-Dade Transit, enjoys traveling and visiting family members. In fact, in the spring of 2015, she was staying with her daughter, Rachelle, in Washington, D.C., when she discovered a lump in her breast during one of her regular self-examinations.
The Florida Cancer Data System, the State of Florida’s legislatively mandated population-based registry located at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received three important distinctions for the quality of its cancer registry data.
Researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have received a three-year, $1.5 million grant to study a protein known as RAGE — an acronym for Receptor for Advanced Glycation End-products — that may be a link between diabetes and breast cancer.
A University of Miami Miller School of Medicine research team has identified an innovative epigenetic strategy using a single molecule to turn off multiple genes that drive Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers demonstrated that an epigenetic molecule called M344 penetrates the brain, targets the buildup of beta-amyloid peptides associated with Alzheimer’s disease, increases neuroprotective genes and increases memory.
The Miami Dolphins announced the Dolphins Cancer Challenge VII (DCC VII) raised $6,000,157 for innovative cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, bringing the event’s seven-year total to more than $22.5M.
A Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center genetics researcher was honored today with the prestigious “Pioneer Award” and a five-year $5+ million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will support Ramin Shiekhattar, Ph.D., professor of human genetics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, in pursuing a novel line of research on “Enhancer RNA Therapy.”
By sending non-perishable medical supplies, setting up an international communications network and arranging transport for patients needing urgent care, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is mobilizing its resources to help Puerto Rico’s medical community after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation recently made a generous $650,000 pledge to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Health System to help adolescents batting cancer and to promote cancer research. Rizzo, the founder of the Foundation, is a three-time, All-Star first baseman for Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs and a nine-year survivor of lymphoma, who was treated at Sylvester in 2008.
Maria E. Santaella, M.S.N., RN-BC, hemophilia nurse coordinator in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has received the Nurse of the Year Award from the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF). The award was presented during the foundation’s recent annual meeting in Chicago.
Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, was awarded a $300,000 Translational Research Program grant from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Nimer’s laboratory has been studying the RUNX1 protein, previously referred to as AML1, because it is commonly involved in chromosomal translocations seen in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Even before Hurricane Irma’s winds had finally subsided, the Miller School of Medicine campus was in recovery mode, making sure that it, and the University of Miami Health System satellite facilities, would be able to return to business as usual with minimal delay. In fact, with few exceptions, operations were back to normal on Wednesday morning, as employees returned to work, and patients began arriving for appointments.
A predictive tumor biomarker can help clinicians identify lung cancer patients who are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy, according to Gilberto de Lima Lopes, Jr., M.D., M.B.A., a researcher at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
An enthusiastic group of University of Miami Miller School of Medicine students, residents, faculty members and administrators attended the annual meeting of the Florida Medical Association last month, and one student was honored for his research work at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been reaccredited by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) Certification Program of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). This program awards a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet nationally recognized standards for quality cancer care.
Research efforts to improve outcomes for people with ovarian cancer or glioma just got a boost in excess of $3 million. Noriyuki Kasahara, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of biology and pathology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues have received a $2.6 million NCI grant to support their unique technology to deliver targeted chemotherapy.
For Peruvian native Julio Barredo, M.D., director of children’s cancer programs at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, visits to his home country were often painful. He saw a cure rate of only 40 percent for the 700 children diagnosed annually with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer. He knew that many of them were dying unnecessarily.
It was just a staircase, but to Patricia Emard, it could have been a mountain. With the help of the world-class oncologists at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, she had triumphed over breast cancer, but it had taken all she could give. Two surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation had sapped her strength. She looked at the staircase and chose the elevator instead.
The Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC), a prestigious group representing innovators, scientists, patients, providers and payers, has invited Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to join its membership. “The invitation signifies their recognition of our strong work in this area,” said Jonathan C. Trent, M.D., Ph.D., Sylvester’s director of precision medicine.
It was on June 7 that Helen Peck, M.A., executive director of clinical research services at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, received the exciting news that she was being invited to make an oral presentation at the 9th Annual Clinical Research Meeting of the Association of American Cancer Institutes in Chicago.
The Miami Dolphins and UHealth – the University of Miami Health System announced a partnership that will see the local health system serve as the official health care provider of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. Through the partnership, UHealth will have the entitlement to the southeast corner of Hard Rock Stadium.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, is the only institution in South Florida offering fluorescence enhanced Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview®, an optical imaging agent for the detection of bladder cancer.
Gilberto Lopes, M.D., Medical Director for International Programs and Associate Director for Global Oncology at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has made it his life’s mission to improve cancer control in low- and middle-income countries around the globe.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are working together in a unique partnership to find innovative therapies for patients with the deadly eye cancer uveal melanoma.
It was while Manuel Garcia was driving his wife, Iris, home in April 2016 after a weekend getaway in Key West that cancer struck. “Suddenly, I experienced terrible pain, like someone had hit me across both of my legs with a baseball bat,” he said. “I had been feeling tired, but nothing like this. I pulled over and told my wife that she would have to drive the rest of the way. I was in too much pain to continue.”
Jessica MacIntyre, ARNP, NP-C, AOCNP, director of clinical operations for the Office of the Director and co-leader of the Oncology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been named the Humanitarian of the Year in the category of Patient Advocacy by the Southeast Florida Cancer Control Collaborative.
Researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and other institutions have shown that a molecule developed by Stemsynergy Therapeutics (SSTC3) controls the progression of colorectal cancer in several cell lines and human tumor xenografts. SSTC3 modulates the WNT pathway but does not show the on-target toxicity normally associated with WNT inhibitors.
In 2014, Donna Robinson had a routine colonoscopy. During the procedure, the physician detected a small mass. Two days later, on her 58th birthday, she received the bad news. The small mass was actually part of a very large mass that had grown through the wall of her intestine and into other locations in her abdomen. It was locally advanced pancreatic cancer, she was told — inoperable and incurable.
Marcela Vieira couldn’t believe that cancer kept coming back. Her first bout was with breast cancer in 2002, when she was only 36. It returned in 2010. In 2013, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It also returned, in 2014. “At first you don’t believe it, and you ask, ‘Why me?’” she said.
Donald Kumin doesn’t look like someone who has cancer. The vibrant 88-year-old Delray Beach resident regularly plays golf with friends. He and his wife, Irene, are taking a cruise this fall, and at an age when many of their contemporaries have gone into assisted living, they are proud to be leading an active life from their own home.
Six physician-scientists were recognized for their contributions to cancer research and treatment as part of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 18th Annual Zubrod Memorial Lecture and Sylvester Cancer Research Poster Session on May 19. Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., hosted the event.
Maria Figueroa, M.D., a researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate professor of human genetics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, published a paper in the journal Cancer Discovery that provides new insights into how certain molecular pathways influence acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine hosted the inaugural surgery research day and Lily Altschuler Memorial Symposium in Pancreatic Cancer Research on May 12, showcasing scientific achievements of faculty and trainees.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dominican Republic’s Instituto de Oncologia Dr. Heriberto Pieter. The agreement allows Miller School oncology experts to provide their evidence-based expertise to improve cancer care, research and clinical trial initiatives and health outcomes in the Dominican Republic.
For years, a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been known for its ability to generate new blood vessels. As tumors grow, and need more oxygen and nutrients, they secrete VEGF to increase their blood supply. That was a radical discovery 20 years ago, and some believed it would create many therapeutic opportunities against cancer.
Researchers are trying to figure out why changes in the interactions of proteins can cause cancer. Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, was co-senior author on a paper, published in the journal PNAS, that describes how the protein DPF2 regulates blood production. High levels of DPF2 are seen in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
J. William Harbour, M.D., associate director for basic research at Sylvester, and the Mark J. Daily Chair and vice chairman for translational research at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study predictive testing of ocular (or uveal) melanoma, one of the deadliest types of cancer.
To support his research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Owen Tan, a student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been awarded a $5,000 summer fellowship grant from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The Miller School is one of only 21 institutions in the U.S. — and the only one in Florida — to receive a grant. Tan plans to use his to support his research into pediatric brain tumors.
Scientists from the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have produced the first clinical results demonstrating that pancreatic islet cells transplanted within a tissue-engineered platform can successfully engraft and achieve insulin independence in type 1 diabetes. The findings were published in the May 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Mingjiang Xu, M.D., Ph.D., cancer researcher at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues have been studying the protein TET2, a tumor suppressor, for several years. They recently published a paper in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, which describes how TET2 loss can open the door for mutations that drive myeloid, lymphoid, and other cancers.
Scientists at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown that p300, a protein that increases gene expression by attaching acetyl molecules to DNA, may stop myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) from developing into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The study was published in the journal Leukemia.
Friday was the fifth and final day of Patient Safety Week activities. With the theme of the day being preventing infection, hands across campus were washed and sanitized in record numbers. Hand sanitizer bottles were given away throughout UHealth locations, and the Hand Sanitizer Mascot made surprise inspirational appearances.
Wednesday, the third day of Patient Safety Week, focused on the safe use of medications. It was a day of important educational outreach, an amusing but informative takeoff on the TV game show “Jeopardy” and an opportunity for UHealth’s pharmacy experts to enjoy some time in the spotlight. Thursday’s activities will focus on the safe use of alarms.
Thursday, the fourth day of Patient Safety Week, focused on the safe use of clinical alarms. UHealth staff learned about finding the proper balance between alarms that go off too regularly — and therefore get ignored, and those that don’t go off often enough, and potentially endanger patients in need of assistance.
Tuesday, the second day of Patient Safety Week, was marked by flashes of green and orange on wrists through the UHealth system. The day’s theme was “Identify Patients Correctly,” and the wrist bands given out featured white raised lettering that said “Name & DOB,” reminding all staff of the required way to accurately identify patients. Wednesday’s activities will focus on the safe use of medications.
Patient Safety Week had an energetic start, with activities across the entire UHealth system. One major event was the introduction of the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to UHealth leaders. Created by Johns Hopkins patient safety researchers, CUSP improves patient safety culture while providing frontline caregivers with the tools and support they need to tackle the hazards that threaten their patients.
Patient Safety Week, observed March 12-18 this year, is an annual national campaign to foster education and increase awareness related to patient safety. Daily special patient safety activities across the medical campus will be held Monday, March 13, through Friday, March 17. All facilities of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System will offer educational resources and informational materials for patients and staff.
The American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) selected William F. Pirl, M.D., M.P.H., associate director for Cancer Support Services at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, for the Outstanding Education and Training Award at its national conference on February 16. APOS grants the annual award to an individual who makes substantial contributions to educating or training others in the field.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, recently received four stars as part of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, conducted on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Sylvester was the only hospital in Miami-Dade County to receive four stars.
A brilliantly sunny South Florida Saturday warmed the already upbeat spirit of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge VII on February 11, as 4,000 participants and volunteers cycled, ran, walked or performed countless tasks to support the search for cancer cures at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
When Ileana Cohn, a Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center breast cancer patient, scheduled her 16th, and final, chemotherapy session at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center for Feb. 8, she told her husband, Andy, “I want a celebration.” She could hardly have imagined the lengths to which he and staffers at The Lennar Center would go to make the afternoon special.
The Florida Department of Health has announced the award of 16 grants totaling more than $16 million from the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program and the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program. Six investigators at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were recipients of Bankhead-Coley and King grants totaling $5,728,856.
Women faculty members at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine shared the tough lessons and great accomplishments of the past — along with the inspiring promise of the future — at an event Friday commemorating the 196th birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States.
After spending two years as an associate editor for the Journal of Global Oncology, Gilberto Lopes, M.D., M.B.A., medical director for International Programs at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System, was recently named the new editor-in-chief of the journal.
The University of Miami Health System is hosting a community-wide grand opening celebration at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center on the Coral Gables campus this Sunday, January 29, from 1 to 4 p.m. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to bring their family and friends to see UHealth’s spectacular new home for the health care of the future.
Steven Chen, Ph.D., who directs the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Shared Resource at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and research colleagues from other institutions recently received a five-year grant of more than $5 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study proteogenomics.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have named Craig Lockhart, M.D., Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology. Lockhart, currently professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, will join Sylvester and the Miller School in April.
When the body is working well, hematopoietic (blood) stem cells in the bone marrow generate healthy red and white blood cells. However, faulty genes can produce abnormal cells, leading to myeloid leukemia and other conditions. Researchers have been working for years to untangle this complicated biology.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently announced the launch of the new Caribbean Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship, supporting subspecialty training in low- and middle-income countries in the Caribbean. The fellowship is a collaboration between Sylvester, the Caribbean Gynecologic Cancer Society, and the University of the West Indies.
Nicolas Acquavella, M.D., is a board-certified medical oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System. He focuses on providing innovative and advanced treatment options to patients with advanced and metastatic melanoma. Here, he discusses unique treatments on the horizon.
Sometimes proteins do a lot more than we expect. Dab2, for example, has long been linked to cancer. The molecule is associated with a chain of signaling proteins called the Ras-MAPK pathway. In many cancers, elements of Ras-MAPK mutate and start telling cells to grow uncontrollably.
You’re invited to join Team Hurricanes for the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) on Saturday, February 11, 2017. Every dollar raised during DCC directly funds cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of UHealth – the University of Miami Health System. Since 2010, DCC has raised $16.5 million for cancer research at Sylvester, and it’s one of our cancer center’s most important fundraising initiatives.