roswellness connections(May 2010)

Video Spotlight:
Audio Spotlight:
Roswell Round-Up:
Events and Giving Opportunities:
Donor Impact:
Patient Voice:
Business Partner of the Month

Many thanks to you, our generous supporters and friends, for your continued dedication to our ongoing efforts in the fight against cancer. We appreciate your support through your donations 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! Feedback? Please email or call 716-845-1038.



Anti-smoking vaccineRoswell Park Among Sites Chosen for Trial of First Anti-Smoking Vaccine
May 31 marks the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day—a global effort to eradicate tobacco use and its serious health effects. But for many smokers, the craving for nicotine is stronger than the will to quit. Now a clinical trial underway at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and 19 other sites across the nation will determine whether a new vaccine can power up the body’s own immune system to help conquer that craving.


At each site, the Phase III clinical trial will enroll 50 smokers between the ages of 18-64, says Martin C. Mahoney, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Departments of Health Behavior and Medicine, who leads the trial at RPCI. Dr. Mahoney says participants will receive four doses of the vaccine NicVAXÒ (Nabi Biopharmaceuticals), each dose four weeks apart, while continuing to smoke. A quit-smoking date will be set for two weeks after the fourth injection, after which participants will receive two additional “booster doses” to help keep them from starting up again.


How does the vaccine work? The nicotine in tobacco crosses the “blood-brain barrier” into the central nervous system, where it activates receptors to release dopamine and other neurotransmitters, or “chemical messengers,” which produce the pleasant sensation that drives various kinds of addictions, including nicotine dependence. NicVAX is designed to interfere with that process by producing antibodies “that serve as a sponge, soaking up the nicotine so there’s less of it circulating in the bloodstream,” explains Dr. Mahoney. With less nicotine crossing into the brain, “you don’t get the same strong satisfaction from smoking.” The hope is that this approach “will help people achieve long-term cessation by reducing both the repetitive reinforcement of smoking as well as craving and withdrawal.”


M.D. Anderson and the Mayo Clinic are among the other major centers chosen as sites for the clinical trial. “We’re pleased and excited to have been selected,” says Dr. Mahoney.


Phase III clinical trials are the last step on the road to FDA approval of new drugs.


For more information about the NicVAX clinical trial at Roswell Park, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724).


Study Lifts Weighty Concerns About Lymphedema Risk
Breast cancer patients who have had lymph nodes removed during surgery, or who received radiation therapy as part of their treatment, are often advised to avoid lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds with the arm on the affected side. That’s because some patients later develop lymphedema, a condition in which lymph fluid builds up in the arm and causes swelling.


Although improved surgical techniques have reduced the incidence of lymphedema after breast cancer treatment, some women still avoid heavy lifting and some types of exercise out of fear that they might trigger the condition. But a study of 141 breast cancer survivors followed over the course of a year concluded that “slowly progressive weight-lifting had no significant effect on limb swelling and resulted in a decreased incidence of exacerbations of lymphedema, reduced symptoms, and increased strength.” The study, published in the The New England Journal of Medicine, required participants to wear a tight sleeve called a “compression garment” while lifting weights.


Jill Perna, PT, DPT, CLT, who provides specialized care for patients in the Roswell Park Lymphedema Clinic, says she tries to “emphasize the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle and clarify the misconception that a person is unable to lift more than 10 pounds for life.” For patients who are prone to swelling, she does recommend wearing a compression sleeve and compression glove/gauntlet while exercising. But “some people may not swell at all, and therefore may not require compression for activity,” she adds. “Lymphedema is very individualized.”


If you’ve had surgery or radiation as part of your treatment for breast cancer, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. For information about the Lymphedema Center at Roswell Park, call 1-716-845-8111 or visit the Roswell Park website.


Video Spotlight

PillsA Very Special "Suite" Sixteen
Carly's Club member Jimmy Szafranski, who is battling osteosarcoma, recently was treated to a very special "suite" 16 party at HSBC Arena. Many thanks to Sabres goalie and friend of Carly's Club Ryan Miller, who donated his suite so Jimmy and his friends could watch the game in style! Check out video from the party.


Audio Spotlight

The Latest in Kidney Cancer Treatment at RPCI
Dr. Roberto Pili and Dr. Thomas Schwaab discuss kidney cancer and the various treatments in use at RPCI to fight it. 


Roswell RoundUp

Dr. James MarshallCan Eating More Fruits and Veggies Slow the Spread of Prostate Cancer?
Dr. James Marshall, PhD, Senior Vice President for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at RPCI and the newly named Roswell Park Alliance Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention, has received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF).


The grant is one of 12 Creativity Awards given by the PCF to “support innovative projects because of their potential to fast-forward discovery and deliver game-changing results for prostate cancer research.” Dr. Marshall’s grant will fund a multisite intervention trial that will test the results of putting men with small, low-grade prostate cancers on a diet low in animal products. Read more about this grant and the innovative research it supports.


National Cancer Survivors Day: A Celebration of LifeStep Right Up...and Be Part of the Celebration of Life
It's time to celebrate! Cancer patients, survivors and their families (limit of 3 guests with each cancer survivor) are invited to spend a fun-filled afternoon at the 2010 National Cancer Survivors Day celebration. Taking place from 1 pm - 4 pm on Sunday, June 13, this free event brings the carnival to Roswell Park, complete with games, clowns, jugglers, face painting and more. Come network with other survivors and representatives from dozens of cancer survivorship and advocacy groups. You'll even have a chance to "dunk the doc"! Learn more or RSVP today at


Roswell Park Receives Center of Excellence Designation in Adult BMT Transplantation
OptumHealth Care Solutions, one of the nation’s largest health and wellness companies, recognized Roswell Park as a designated member of the OptumHealth Centers of Excellence network in the area of adult bone marrow transplantation. The Centers of Excellence network was created to provide patients with the assurance they are receiving treatment from a medical center and physicians who are committed to standards of excellence.


Evaluation criteria are reviewed and revised on a regular basis in order to incorporate current quality parameters and benchmarks as they relate to the applicable field of medicine. These criteria assess a program’s:

  • Procedural volume and associated outcomes.
  • Team changes, stability of the team and the ability of the back-up team to manage the program.
  • Projected trends and technological advances in the specific field of medical science.

Overall commitment to its field through the synergy of multiple, related programs within the medical center.


Read more about the designation and what it means for patients.



Events and Giving Opportunities

Ready to Ride? Ready to Ride?
The Ride For Roswell is right around the corner! If you haven’t registered to ride or volunteer yet for the June 26 event, there’s still time to get started. If you have registered, now is the time to kick your fundraising into full gear! Visit our Fundraising section to download materials that will help you meet and exceed your goals.


The Ride For Roswell’s 15th anniversary event is set to be a fun-filled, family-friendly celebration you won’t want to miss. Visit to sign up or learn more today, and help us make this landmark year for The Ride a success!`


Teaching a Lesson in Hope
Have Your Signed Up to Ride?When Carrie Aman takes on the Buffalo Marathon on May 30, she’ll be running to prove to herself that she can do it—but she'll also be running for a very special little girl. Carrie, a second-grade teacher at Armor Elementary School in Hamburg, is running the half-marathon with Team Cure Challenge in honor of Ellie DeLucia, a former student who is battling an inoperable brain tumor.


“Training is challenging,” said Carrie, “especially those long runs in the bad weather! But your trainers and fellow runners keep you motivated. And when things get tough, I just think about Ellie and how much she’s counting on me.” Pictured: Carrie and Ellie share a moment at school.


Think you have the same determination as Carrie? Runners are currently registering and training for events like the Tops 5K Run/Walk, set for August 28 in Williamsville, or the Lake Tahoe Challenge, scheduled for September 22-26, 2010. Take on your own event—held across the country and throughout the year—at


Never Stop Buffalo: Make Your Gift Today!
This year alone, more than 34,100 men, women and children in New York state will lose their lives to cancer—each of them someone's father, mother, sibling, or child. Your support of Roswell Park Cancer Institute enables us to pursue research and clinical trials with the power to save lives. That’s why we’ve established our spring Annual Fund Drive goal to raise $115,000. Your gift is urgently needed to meet this goal and help our

researchers pursue the most innovative treatments and techniques to beat cancer. Put your support to work immediately with a secure online gift at, or call 716-845-4444 today.

How Big is your heart?Help Yroswell Kiss the Summer Hello and Go Bald with Mayday Parade!
Join WKSE-98.5 and Yroswell to kick off summer right at the June 5 Kiss the Summer Hello concert. In addition to a great line-up of music, you’ll also be the first to catch a glimpse of the brand-new full-length version of YRoswell’s “How Big is Your Heart?” music video. Plus, you can enter today to "Go Bald for Bucks" with Mayday Parade! One lucky person will be chosen to come on stage at Kiss the Summer Hello and have their head shaved by the pop punk band in support of Goin’ Bald for Bucks. Learn more at today!


Donor Impact

Making Treatments Easier for Ovarian Cancer Patients
Couple in Kaminski ParkLast year, more than 21,000 American women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, a disease that can often be difficult to both diagnose and treat. But what if you could use the body’s own immune system to fight ovarian cancer? Thanks to new research funded by your donations, scientists at Roswell Park are exploring how the answers to stopping ovarian cancer may already be within patients’ cells.


Led by Xuefang Cao, PhD, Roswell Park scientists are exploring the role of certain regulatory molecules known as “Treg cells” in the development of ovarian cancer. Normally, when a tumor develops, the immune system attempts to infiltrate the process, but alone cannot stop a tumor from developing or growing. Dr. Cao’s team believes these Treg cells may be slowing or stopping the immune system’s response, and their research is discovering how to intervene on that process. This research could lead to new methods of strengthening the immune system’s ability to fight ovarian cancer, making other, harsher treatments less necessary.


Sara Saldi (pictured at right with her husband, Don) was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2009, and has endured surgery and chemotherapy in her battle with the disease. The care she received at Roswell Park was exceptional, she said, but treatments were tough, and she understands the importance of supporting research like Dr. Cao’s.


“If you’re thinking of donating to support research at Roswell Park, don’t hesitate. As a patient, I could see firsthand how every cent a donor gives is used in the most efficient and effective ways,” said Sara. “It was very gratifying to be treated here, because I knew I was doing the right thing for my health. We are so lucky to have a renowned facility like Roswell Park right here in Buffalo.”


Patient Voice

Nancy Gambino: “Roswell gave me my life back”
Nancy GambinoNancy Gambino endured seven surgeries for her bladder cancer before she came to the WNY Robotic Surgical Center at Roswell Park. She was identified as one of Roswell’s first candidates for a new use of robotic surgery, which had already proven highly successful as the new standard of care for prostate cancer removal.


“When they said I would lose my bladder I was devastated,” she shared. “But I thought if this will save my life... I have a lot of living to do. I wanted to keep going and see my grandkids grow up.” With the help of robotic surgery, Nancy’s blood loss during her surgery was cut in half, and post-surgery complications were greatly reduced.


“Roswell has given me my life back—at a quality I was used to,” Nancy said. “I would not have this without the robotic technology, and I cannot praise my doctors enough.” Read Nancy’s full story here.


Business Partner of the Month

Praxair Praxair
Praxair, Inc., locally headquartered in Tonawanda but reaching customers across the globe, helps bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, healthcare and more. But as a sponsor of The Ride For Roswell, the team at Praxair provides critical support that helps riders and the event succeed.


Plus, employees at Praxair have made taking part in The Ride an annual tradition, and Team Praxair is consistently one of the largest and most successful teams at the event.  Last year, Team Praxair raised $70,000, and this year, they’re showing no signs of slowing down!


“Rain or shine, the determination to fight the enemy called cancer is stronger than the challenges that nature puts in the path of riders,” said Terry Bourgeouis, Praxair team member.  Thank you to our friends at Praxair for their enthusiastic and consistent support of cancer research and patient care at Roswell Park!