Roswellness Connections (January 2009)
Roswellness Connections intends to offer you - Roswell Park's valued supporters and friends - helpful health tips, while keeping you connected to the latest Roswell Park news and advances. Each issue also features news about the important impact of your generosity to RPCI and its patients. Feedback? Please email Giving@roswellpark.org or call 716-845-1038.
As we begin a new year, we are especially grateful for the meaningful difference you helped to make for our patients and for research to save lives in 2008. Thank you for your continued support through your gifts and participation in fundraisers like The Ride For Roswell, Goin' Bald for Bucks, Team Cure Challenge, Carly's Club activities, The Paint Box Project and more!
Details of doctor visits often forgotten
Many newly diagnosed cancer patients have difficulty remembering all the information they get from their doctors, according to research in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In the study of 260 patients who were seeing an oncologist for the first time, many recalled only half the information they were given. Interestingly, age wasn't necessarily a factor, but prognosis was. The worse the prognosis, the greater difficulty patients had recalling the details.
Roswell Park Cancer Institute recommends that patients take a tape recorder or paper and pencil to each visit to keep track of important information, and offers a handy step-by-step Patient Access guide for those who are preparing to visit Roswell Park for the first time.
Aspirin may affect PSA levels
Men who take aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have lower levels—as much as 9 percent lower—of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a blood protein that helps doctors detect prostate cancer, say researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Experts are now concerned that taking aspirin could reduce a man's PSA level to a point where doctors wouldn't suspect cancer, leading to missed diagnoses. The study didn't determine whether NSAIDs impair the ability to detect prostate cancer, or whether the drugs have a protective effect on prostate cancer risk. If you take daily aspirin for your heart or use the pills or other NSAIDs regularly, talk with your doctor about this concern.
Men who are concerned about an elevated PSA reading can now take advantage of Roswell Park's new High Risk/Early Detection Prostate Cancer Clinic in Amherst, NY. Prostate cancer specialists at the clinic are available to evaluate PSA results and recommend next steps. For more information, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355).
C and E vitamin supplements won't prevent cancer
If you take vitamin C and E supplements in an effort to ward off cancer, you're probably wasting your money, according to findings presented at a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting. In the study, nearly 15,000 men were randomly assigned to take either placebo pills or 500 mg of vitamin C daily, and 400 IU of vitamin E every other day for a decade. Overall, participants in both groups developed cancer at similar rates. While taking single nutrients from a bottle may not affect your cancer risk, experts say the big picture—getting nutrients through healthy eating and exercising regularly—is more important.
Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise In Ovarian Cancer Patients
During the winter, most of us receive a flu vaccine to improve our immune system's ability to fight that disease. Thanks to remarkable new progress being made (research previously backed by your donations!) some ovarian cancer patients at Roswell Park have been taking part in clinical trials of a new ovarian cancer vaccine developed by Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, professor and research program director in Roswell Park's Division of Gynecologic Oncology. Watch the video to learn more about how this vaccine may improve the immune system's ability to fight off a recurrence of cancer without harsh side effects.
Opening New Windows Into the Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
When people talk about estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) tumors, they're talking about ER alpha, which was discovered about 30 years ago. Scientists have known about its mysterious sister molecule, ER beta, for more than a decade. But its role in cancer is still unclear. Gokul Das, PhD, Assistant Member, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, at Roswell Park (seated at right, with collaborator Dr. Michael Buck of the University at Buffalo), may have found a clue to understanding the gene.
Das is using a molecular genetic technique called RNAi-silencing to look at what happens in breast cancer cells when the ER beta gene is shut down; when the ER alpha gene is silenced; or when both genes are inactive. Understanding the role of ER beta could allow oncologists to classify breast cancers more precisely, and to tailor treatment more effectively. Your Roswell Park donations are providing needed funds for the research.
Understanding the role of ER beta could allow oncologists to classify breast cancers more precisely, and to tailor treatment more effectively. ER beta's function may also provide clues to treating other cancers, because it is expressed in tissues beyond the breast, such as the lung and prostate gland.
Click on these links to learn more about the latest news from Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Smokers Quitline Marks Millionth Call
The New York State Smokers Quitline at Roswell Park recently marked the occasion of receiving its millionth call, pushing the state one step closer to achieving its goal of 1 million fewer smokers by 2010.
Established in January 2000, the Quitline has helped an estimated 125,000 smokers quit smoking. The Quitline is staffed by specialists who are trained to provide information and consultation on cessation topics, such as stop-smoking medications, nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine withdrawal symptoms and stop-smoking programs. Physicians and health care providers can also use the Quitline service as a referral for their patients' stop smoking plans and to enhance recommended and/or prescribed stop-smoking medications.
Seventy-five percent of smokers claim they want to quit their deadly addiction, and 60 percent of smokers report trying to quit during 2008. To learn more about how the Quitline can help you stop smoking today, click here.
First Molecular-Level Enzyme Images Could Improve Breast-Cancer Therapy
Researchers at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and Hauptman-Woodward Institute (HWI) are peering into the molecular works of an enzyme that has long defied investigation. And what they're discovering may one day make it possible to design safer, more effective cancer-fighting drugs.
Understanding the enzyme in question, aromatase, is critical to breast-cancer research because it produces estrogen, the hormone responsible for the development and function of female sexual characteristics. Unfortunately, estrogen also encourages the growth of "hormone-dependent" breast cancers. Drugs that stop aromatase from producing estrogen—aromatase inhibitors, or AIs—have been frontline therapies against hormone-dependent cancers for decades. But although aromatase has been studied for almost 40 years, its estrogen-producing process has remained poorly understood.
Now, in the current issue of the journal Nature, Debashis Ghosh of RPCI and HWI, and Jennifer Griswold, Mary Erman and Walter Pangborn of HWI report that, for the first time, they have been able to examine the mechanism of aromatase action at the molecular level.
According to Dr. Ghosh, "The technology we've developed will help us to understand how aromatase inhibitors prevent the enzyme from making estrogens, and then to design, synthesize and test a next generation of AIs — highly specific for aromatase, but with minimal side effects." Learn more about this breakthrough research.
Roswell Park Lauded for Clinical Research Standards
Roswell Park has been accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP). The voluntary accreditation demonstrates that Roswell Park meets the highest standards for protection of participants in clinical research and provides safeguards which exceed federal regulations. Only three other National Comprehensive Cancer Centers have earned this designation.
AAHRPP's standards exceed federal regulations by requiring organizations to address conflicts of interest, provide community outreach and education, and apply the same stringent protections to all research involving study participants.
"Courageous cancer patients with trust, hope and altruism participate in research studies which are designed to improve cancer therapies for everyone," said Donald L. Trump, MD, FACP, President & CEO, RPCI. "By voluntarily embracing stringent AAHRPP standards, Roswell Park demonstrates to patients and their loved ones, and those considering participation in clinical research, that the highest quality of care is provided."
The AAHRPP is a non-profit organization that works with organizations that conduct research to raise the level of protection for research study participants. The accreditation program utilizes a voluntary, peer-driven educational model.
Events & Giving Opportunities
Treat Your Sweetheart to Valentine's Day Gifts from The Paint Box Project!
The Paint Box Project® has launched its first-ever Valentine's Day Chocolate & Gift Sale, featuring original artwork by Roswell Park's pediatric patient-artists and their siblings. All proceeds benefit cancer research and patient programs. Choose from a number of sweet gifts crafted by Buffalo's own Choco-Logo, including our famous nutcorn and several new items like habañero-flavored Hot Hearts! Other fun gifts include the Hopeful Hearts Apron, a cute heart-adorned notepad and the beautifully designed Everyday Note Card Variety Pack. Be sure to browse the rest of our collection, on sale for 30-50% off, to find the perfect gift or treat for the special people in your life.
Goin' Bald is Back!
Now you can visually show your support for cancer patients you love while raising needed dollars for new research. Goin' Bald for Bucks kicks off on March 6, and we seek new companies, schools or just you and your friends to host Goin' Bald events! Organizing a Goin' Bald for Bucks fundraiser is an easy way to help find cures while having fun along the way!
Participants collect pledges benefiting Roswell Park from colleagues, family, friends, and other supporters, and then gather to have their heads shaved or their hair cut. (If you also want to then donate your hair to Locks of Love, a national program, 10 inches of hair or more must be cut.)
Have local cosmetology students, your friends at the salon or anyone with a good pair of scissors do the cutting. Roswell Park's staff is always available to assist you with the organization and publicity of your Goin' Bald for Bucks event. Visit www.baldforbucks.org or contact Misha Russo at (716) 845-8164 to learn more.
Register Today for The Ride For Roswell 2009!
Register now and start training for The Ride For Roswell 2009, presented by Wegmans and Wellness Sponsor Praxair. This year's Ride will be held on June 27 and will feature fun, memorable rides for the entire family. Routes include 3-, 8-, 20-, 30-, 33-, 44- and 62.5-mile distances, plus a 12-mile Peloton route, sponsored by Sahlen's, for top fundraisers. Save $5 by registering online, and register between January 5 and January 31 to be entered to win a $250 gift certificate to Walden Galleria. Remember, if you were an Extra Mile Club member or a team captain in last year's Ride, your registration is free!
Thanks to your support, last year's Ride raised a record-breaking $2 million. Your help is needed now more than ever to ensure we can continue helping cancer patients and new research. Look for an upcoming Ride Rally in your neighborhood and visit www.RideConnect.org to talk online with other riders and our Ride fundraising experts. To learn more, visit www.RideForRoswell.org or call (716) THE-RIDE (843-7433).
Take the 2009 Team Cure Challenge
Registration is now underway for local and national Team Cure Challenge walks, runs, swims and cycling events also benefiting Roswell Park. Many distances are available--and no experience is needed. Just the willingness to help loved ones and friends in the cancer fight. Join [link]Team Cure Challenge[end] today or read about upcoming events like the Buffalo Shamrock Run, Buffalo Marathon and Lake Tahoe marathon.