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CU Cancer Center News and Stories

Research

Research    Faculty    Pancreatic Cancer

Two CU Cancer Center Members Recognized as World Experts in Pancreatic Neoplasms

Two University of Colorado Cancer Center physicians have been recognized as world experts in in pancreatic neoplasms by the 2021 Expertscape rankings.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date November 19, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Pediatric Cancer

Using PET Scans to Better Treat Cancer Patients

One of the primary tools that oncologists use to stage cancers is the PET (positron emission tomography) scan, an imaging test that uses a small amount of radioactive sugar to detect metabolically active areas within the body.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 18, 2021
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Research    Community    Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Screening Rates Increase With Access to Medicare

Lung cancer screening is recommended only for those who are at high risk for the disease — adults ages 50­–80 who smoke at least 20 packs a year — but even among members of that high-risk group, screening rates remain low, ranging from 5% to 20% of those eligible for the screening CT scan.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 15, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Magazine

Driving Revolutionary Advances in Cancer Treatment

“When you lose hope, you lose everything,” says Ron Randolph. “It’s like you’re in the bottom of a hole and you see this light at the top of the hole. It’s a very small light, but there’s no way to escape.”


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 11, 2021
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Research    Community    Lung Cancer    Magazine

Improving Survivorship for Individuals Diagnosed With Lung Cancer

There are two things most people believe about lung cancer, says Jamie Studts, PhD, co-leader of the Cancer Prevention & Control Program at the CU Cancer Center: Those who suffer from it most likely caused it by using tobacco, and the prognosis for surviving the disease is poor.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 02, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Breast Cancer Research Gathers Data to Help Women Understand Well-Being Outcomes After Surgery

When a woman receives a breast cancer diagnosis, she may have many questions about her immediate future – the stage of the disease, what treatment she’ll receive, where it will happen.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 22, 2021
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Research    Thyroid Cancer    Clinical Research    Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial Experience Motivates Participant to Become Advocate

Tommy Stewart was already a prostate cancer survivor when, during his annual physical in 2004, his physician felt a nodule on his neck.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date October 04, 2021
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Research    Community

Keeping Up Exercise Levels for Cancer Survivors

The cancer survivorship journey can have many components, but one of the most important is regular exercise. Physical activity for individuals who have completed cancer treatment can build stamina, reduce anxiety, improve quality of life and physical fitness, and even improve survival outcomes.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date October 01, 2021
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Research    Faculty    Lung Cancer

LUNGevity Award Supports Ongoing Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Research

One of the reasons why cancer continues developing and growing is not just because cancer cells exist, but because they can recruit help from the body’s own blood vessels, stromal cells, and immune cells.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 30, 2021
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Research    Pediatric Cancer

Targeting a Rare Secondary Cancer in Children

 It’s one of the most heartbreaking things Adam Green, MD, sees as a pediatric oncologist: children who beat their cancer, only to see an incurable brain tumor arise five years later.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 28, 2021
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Research    Melanoma

Why Don’t Adrenal Gland Metastases Respond to Immunotherapy?

Recent advances in immunotherapy have allowed doctors at the University of Colorado Cancer Center to more effectively treat melanomas that spread to other parts of the body. Immunotherapy drugs such as checkpoint inhibitors, which are commonly used to treat melanomas, work to strengthen a patient’s immune system so that it can prevent a tumor from “turning off” the ability of the immune system to fight it.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 23, 2021
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Research    Head and Neck Cancer    Clinical Trials

Research Leading to Clinical Trial Testing Two-Armed Approach to Treating Head and Neck Cancer

A crucial challenge in cancer research is figuring out how to make immunotherapies more effective, channeling, and selectively guiding the body’s own immune responses in targeting and killing tumors.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 21, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

Putting a Target on Breast Cancer That Spreads to the Brain

Breast cancer patients whose cancer spreads to the brain may soon have new treatment options, thanks to research led by CU Cancer Center member Diana Cittelly, PhD.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 20, 2021
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Research    Pediatric Cancer    Leukemia

CU Cancer Center Member M. Eric Kohler, MD, PhD, Receives Award to Develop Immunotherapy Treatment for Pediatric Leukemia

University of Colorado Cancer Center member M. Eric Kohler, MD, PhD, was awarded a three-year, $270,650 Young Investigator Grant from CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, in partnership with the SebastianStrong Foundation, to develop a new treatment approach for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare blood cancer in children.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 17, 2021
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Studying Resistance to Therapy in BRAF-Mutated Brain Tumors

Looking to understand why some brain tumors with a specific mutation can start to reject drugs commonly used to treat them, CU Cancer Center member Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, led researchers from institutions around the country — including several from the University of Colorado School of Medicine — to study samples of brain tumors before and after being treated with the drug.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date September 15, 2021
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Research    Cancer    ovarian cancer

Innovative Ovarian Cancer Research Newly Supported by R37 MERIT Award

One of the most impactful advancements during the past decade in treating ovarian cancer is the use of PARP inhibitors (short for poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase). PARP inhibitors are a type of cancer drug that blocks the PARP enzyme from helping to repair DNA damage in cancer cells.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 13, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

Seeking a Unique Treatment for Lobular Breast Cancer

Though the two main histological types of breast cancer — lobular and ductal — are treated with the same hormonal therapies, women with lobular breast cancer often have recurrence or metastasis of the disease several years after their initial treatment.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 28, 2021
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Research    Education    Magazine

Educational Pipelines Ensure Future Interest in Cancer Research

When you ask a classroom full of middle schoolers what they want to be when they grow up, you’re likely to get a range of answers, from “pro athletes” and “astronauts” to “musicians” and “movie stars.”


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 26, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    COVID-19    Clinical Trials

Adjusting to the Virus Has Long-Term Advantages for Clinical Trials

The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic were an adjustment period for medical professionals across the board, but they brought up particular challenges for the Cancer Clinical Trial Office (CCTO) at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. A number of procedures that used to take place in person or in the office — collecting signatures from patients and doctors, delivering medications, submitting data to trial sponsors — suddenly had to be done in a whole new way.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 22, 2021
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Research    Lung Cancer

Study Identifies MET Amplification as Driver for Some Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers

A study led by D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, director of thoracic oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and CU Cancer Center member, has helped to define MET amplification as a rare but potentially actionable driver for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 19, 2021
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Research    Patient Care   

Helping Working Cancer Caregivers Manage Stress

It’s difficult enough when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, but employed spouses of those who receive the diagnosis also are confronted with an array of practical problems. It’s now up to them to untangle issues around medical leave, health insurance, caregiving benefits, and more.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 14, 2021
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer    SOP Shared

Study Sheds Light on Mechanism of Liposome Accumulation in Tumors

Dmitri Simberg, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and a CU Cancer Center member, has released the results of a new study of the effectiveness of different types of fluorescent labels used to monitor the accumulation of liposomes in tumors.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 08, 2021
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Research    Honors    Magazine

Director of CU Cancer Center’s Animal Imaging Shared Resource Honored for Contributions to the Field

As director of the Animal Imaging Shared Resource at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Natalie Serkova, PhD, has played an integral part in many groundbreaking projects on the Anschutz Medical Campus.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 07, 2021
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Research

CU Cancer Center Researchers Showcase Their Work at Virtual Event

Nearly 30 researchers and physicians from the University of Colorado Cancer Center shared the results of their work at a June 15 online event titled “Collaborating to Conquer Cancer: A virtual conversation benefiting the CU Cancer Center.”


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date July 06, 2021
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Research    Magazine

Metabolism is a Key Research Area at the CU Cancer Center

All cells use the process of metabolism to turn nutrients into energy — including cancer cells. Metabolism is a fundamental function whose role in cancer is being explored by researchers across the CU Cancer Center.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 30, 2021
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Research    Blood Cancer

Two Studies by CU Cancer Center Researchers Explore Link Between Inflammation and Leukemia

Two recent collaborative publications by CU Cancer Center members provide insights into how chronic inflammation can serve as a key factor in the development of leukemia and other blood cancers.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date June 28, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

Promising New Research for Metastatic Breast Cancer

A discovery by CU Cancer Center member Traci Lyons, PhD, is providing new hope for women with metastatic breast cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 25, 2021
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Research    Honors    Blood Cancer

Effect of Oil and Gas Exposure on Childhood Leukemia Risk Studied by CU Cancer Center Researcher

A pilot study of childhood leukemia patients living near Colorado’s oil and gas drilling sites recently led to an American Cancer Society (ACS) grant award for CU Cancer Center member Lisa McKenzie PhD, MPH.  


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date June 09, 2021
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Research    Honors    Head and Neck Cancer    Magazine    Funding

CU Cancer Center Receives Highly Competitive SPORE Grant for Head and Neck Cancer

Research and treatment of head and neck cancers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center reached a new level this month with a highly competitive Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The SPORE was approved by NCI Scientific Program leadership for FY2021 funding; the projected starting date is July 1


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date June 07, 2021
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Research    Pediatric Cancer    Magazine

CU Cancer Members Recognized for Contributions to Immunotherapy in Pediatric Cancer

Three members of the University of Colorado Cancer Center and a longstanding supporter of the campus are part of a group of more than 200 researchers nationwide who were recognized in April with the Team Science Award from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 28, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Esophageal Cancer    Surgical Oncology    Clinical Trials

Investigating a Better Treatment Sequence for Esophageal Cancer

Looking for better ways to treat patients with esophageal cancer, University of Colorado Cancer Center member Martin McCarter, MD, is investigating whether a new treatment sequence will result in better outcomes.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 25, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Lung Cancer

From Debilitating Chemo to One Pill a Day for Lung Cancer

One of the most difficult nights of Hank Baskett Sr.’s life was the night he told his wife he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 24, 2021
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Research    COVID-19   

Are the COVID-19 Vaccines Good News for Cancer Care?

Long before RNA and mRNA became important parts of the COVID-19 vaccine conversation, researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine were studying how RNA biology can improve diagnostics and therapeutics for a range of diseases.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 18, 2021
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Research    Cancer

May Is National Cancer Research Month

May is National Cancer Research Month, during this time we aim to raise awareness of the high-quality, innovative cancer research happening at the University of Colorado Cancer Center. This research continues to help the more than 16.9 million people in the United States who are living with, through, and beyond their cancer diagnoses. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 06, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Blood Cancer

From Start-Up to Established: Lymphoma Program Celebrates Six Years

When Manali Kamdar, MD, joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology as clinical director of lymphoma services in January 2015, she was fresh off her third fellowship (a bone marrow transplant and lymphoma fellowship at Stanford) and ready for a new challenge.  


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date May 05, 2021
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Research    Prostate Cancer

Department of Defense Grants Help CU Cancer Center Researchers Investigate Metastasis

Two members of the University of Colorado Cancer Center have received prestigious Idea Awards from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP).


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 27, 2021
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Research    Head and Neck Cancer

A New Method For Fighting ‘Cold’ Tumors

Not all cancerous tumors are created equal. Some tumors, known as “hot” tumors, show signs of inflammation, which means they are infiltrated with T cells working to fight the cancer. Those tumors are easier to treat, as immunotherapy drugs can then amp up the immune response.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 22, 2021
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Research    Head and Neck Cancer

Inter-campus Collaboration Receives R01 Award to Study Salivary Gland Cancer

Two University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers have received a five-year R01 Award for $497,893 per year from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study a potential new drug treatment for salivary gland cancer. The award is part of an inter-campus collaboration between Antonio Jimeno, MD, PhD, co-leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program, and Tin Tin Su, PhD, co-leader of the Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date April 16, 2021
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Research    Surgical Oncology

Tackling Unconscious Bias in Surgical Oncology

Over the past few years, Camille Stewart, MD, assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology, has conducted research for the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) to examine unconscious bias within the organization. In her studies, Stewart examines unconscious bias and microaggressions by focusing on the subtle differences in introductions of speakers at professional meetings and conferences.


Author Siyab Khan | Publish Date April 15, 2021
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Research

How transcription factors work together in cancer formation

A new study co-authored by University of Colorado Cancer Center researcher Srinivas Ramachandran, PhD, shows how DNA segments known as enhancers function in cells.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 13, 2021
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Research    Prostate Cancer

Better treatment for aggressive prostate cancer

New research from CU Cancer Center member Scott Cramer, PhD, and his colleagues could help in the treatment of men with certain aggressive types of prostate cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 12, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Awareness    Pediatric Cancer    Kidney Cancer

Research supports the practice of personalized treatment to improve fertility outcomes for pediatric kidney cancer patients

Although rare, kidney cancer is the third most common type of solid tumor affecting children. Thankfully, pediatric kidney tumors are generally treatable and most have high cure rates. Treatment outcomes depend on several factors including age, tumor type, staging, genetics, the overall health of the patient, and the risk of treatment side effects.  


Author Noelle Musgrave | Publish Date April 09, 2021
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Research    Lung Cancer

A New Treatment for Brain Metastases from Small-Cell Lung Cancer

A new phase 3 randomized clinical trial overseen by CU Cancer Center member Chad Rusthoven, MD, and Vinai Gondi, MD, from Northwestern University, is testing whether a new treatment approach could result in improved outcomes for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) that has spread to the brain. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 08, 2021
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Research    Melanoma

A Drug That Can Stop Tumors From Growing

Cancer doctors may soon have a new tool for treating melanoma and other types of cancer, thanks to work being done by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 06, 2021
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Research   

CU Cancer Center Researcher Reveals New Effects of Oxygen Deprivation in Cancer Cells

A team of University of Colorado School of Medicine researchers recently published a paper offering new insight into the role that oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia, plays in cancer development. CU Cancer Center member Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, is the senior researcher on the paper, which he hopes will help lead to more targeted treatments for cancer. 


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date March 31, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Pediatric Cancer    Blood Cancer    Leukemia    Magazine

CU Cancer Center Researcher and Physician Poses Double Threat to Pediatric Cancer

M. Eric Kohler’s commitment to both cancer research — particularly CAR T-cell therapy — and clinical care make him a double threat when it comes to battling pediatric blood cancer.   


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date March 26, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Breast Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Improving Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Patients

Though breast cancer patients are now living longer than ever before, treatments for the disease can have wide-ranging effects on their long-term quality of life. Physical, social, and sexual wellbeing all can be impacted by radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, antiendocrine therapy and other challenges that go along with a breast cancer battle.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 23, 2021
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Research    Magazine

CU Cancer Researcher Wins Two Awards to Study Drug-Resistant Cancer Cells

Sabrina L. Spencer, PhD, is a CU Boulder researcher and a CU Cancer Center member. Spencer recently won two awards: the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award (from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation) and the Emerging Leader Award (from The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research). The preliminary research she used to apply for the grants, "Melanoma subpopulations that rapidly escape MAPK pathway inhibition incur DNA damage and rely on stress signalling," was published in Nature Communications on March 19, 2021.

We spoke to Spencer about the awards and how she plans to use them to further her research.


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date March 22, 2021
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Research

How RNA Editing Affects the Immune System

Three University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers are part of a team that recently published a paper offering new insight into how the immune system relates to cancer. Quentin Vicens, PhD, Jeffrey Kieft, PhD, and Beat Vögeli, PhD, are authors on the paper, which looks at how an enzyme called ADAR1 operates in pathways associated with cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date March 19, 2021
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Research    Pancreatic Cancer

$500,000 Grant Supports Pancreatic Cancer Multidisciplinary Care

A multiyear grant totaling $500,000 is aimed at making the University of Colorado Cancer Center even better at providing multidisciplinary care for patients with pancreatic cancer.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 17, 2021
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Research    Pediatric Cancer    Brain and Spinal Cancer

Five CU Cancer Center Researchers Receive Grants to Study Brain Tumors

Three projects from University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers have received grants from the Denver-based Michele Plachy-Rubin Fund for Pilot Grants in Brain Cancer Research. Receiving $40,000 each to fund their work around brain cancer are Sujatha Venkataraman, PhD; and the teams of Philip Reigan, PhD, and Michael Graner, PhD; and Natalie Serkova, PhD, and Nicholas Foreman, MD, MBChB.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 04, 2021
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Research    Community    Magazine

The Impacts of Aging on Cancer

For more than a year, a working group at the University of Colorado Cancer Center has been studying the many ways the aging process impacts cancer — including incidence, progression, and prognosis of the disease, therapeutic options and outcomes, and the psychosocial aspects of living with cancer.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 18, 2021
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Research    Philanthropy    Awareness    Lung Cancer    Pediatric Cancer

Golfers Against Cancer Funds Three CU Cancer Center Researchers

The Denver chapter of Golfers Against Cancer this week named University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center researchers Matthew Sikora, PhD, Jamie Studts, PhD, and Jenna Sopfe, MD, as the beneficiaries of three $50,000 grants for cancer research and clinical trials.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 12, 2021
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Research

New Insight Into How Cancer Spreads

Breast cancer is harmful enough on its own, but when cancer cells start to metastasize — or spread into the body from their original location — the disease becomes even more fatal and difficult to treat.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date January 28, 2021
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Research    Breast Cancer

The Role of T Cells in Fighting Cancer

New research from CU Cancer Center member Jing Hong Wang, MD, PhD, and recent University of Colorado Immunology program graduate Rachel Woolaver, PhD, may help researchers develop more effective personalized immunotherapy for cancer patients.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date January 14, 2021
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Research    Innovation

Sean Davis to Lead Health Data Science and AI Efforts for CU Cancer Center

A 13-year veteran of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is coming to the University of Colorado Cancer Center to help lead efforts to develop and apply data science and artificial intelligence and methods to advance research and improve clinical practice.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date December 30, 2020
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Research    Patient Care    Community

10 Most-Read CU Cancer Center Stories of 2020

The global pandemic of 2020 has been a pivotal year for the health care industry. This year lead some CU Cancer Center members to shift their focus to learning more about COVID-19 while others continued their research on cancer. Whether the focus was on COVID-19 or Cancer this year showed how coming together as a community can make a difference. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date December 28, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer    Leukemia    Magazine

CU Cancer Center Leukemia Researcher Receives NCI Outstanding Investigator Award

Craig Jordan, PhD, has spent more than 20 years developing better treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood and bone marrow that can spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and central nervous system.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date November 23, 2020
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Research    Magazine

Reducing Cancer Disparities in Colorado

The CU Cancer Center has launched five studies that are focused on addressing disparities in care and outcomes for Black and Hispanic communities in Colorado.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 19, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer    Leukemia    Magazine

CU Cancer Center study leads to FDA approval of new treatment for AML

Thanks in large part to early work by investigators at the CU Cancer Center, patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have a new treatment option that has fewer side effects and has been shown to increase longevity.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date November 10, 2020
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Research    Publications    Pancreatic Cancer    Surgical Oncology

Simple blood test may help identify patients most likely to benefit from surgery for pancreatic cancer

In the 1860s, French physician Armand Trousseau noticed that patients with a certain form of abnormal blood clotting often went on to be diagnosed with pancreas or gastric cancers. Unfortunately, at age 66 he noticed these same symptoms in himself and died of gastric cancer only a few months later.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date October 20, 2020
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Research    Head and Neck Cancer

Black Lives Also Matter in Cancer Care

Studies have long reported that Black cancer patients have poorer outcomes than their white counterparts. But two University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers decided to investigate the data further and figure out why. What they found was that the outcome disparity was caused not by biology, but simply by differences in access to health care.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date October 01, 2020
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Research    Gynecologic Cancer    ovarian cancer

CU Researchers Come Together to Better Understand Ovarian Cancer Tumors and Treatment Outcomes

After nearly four years of work, a group of researchers and clinicians from the University of Colorado (CU) published a paper this week in the Clinical Cancer Research that shares findings from research looking at how the composition of ovarian cancer tumors changes during chemotherapy and contributes to therapeutic response.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date September 15, 2020
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Research    Gynecologic Cancer   

American Cancer Society Releases Simplified Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines

Last month the American Cancer Society (ACS) released updated guidelines for cervical cancer screening. The most notable change in guidelines is the changes in the age to begin screening. Per the new guidelines, it is recommended that cervical cancer screening begin at age 25. Previously, the starting age for screening was 21.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 18, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer

CU Cancer Center Effort to Link Underrepresented Patients with Leukemia with Cutting Edge Treatments

A key component in treating newly diagnosed leukemia is genetic and molecular testing. With this knowledge, physicians can better determine which treatment options are best suited for patients based on genetic mutations, fusions and other biologic features. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 05, 2020
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Cancer

Multi-organizational study aims to improve outcomes of minority children with brain and central nervous system tumors

Black and Hispanic children diagnosed with brain and central nervous system (CNS) cancers have worse outcomes than their white counterparts in the United States. The reasons behind this are unclear but may include socioeconomic factors and/or limited access to quality care. Now, researchers at the University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital Colorado on the Anschutz Medical Campus are collaborating to better understand these disparities, as well as develop ways to reduce the burden of disease in these populations.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 04, 2020
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Research    Pediatric Cancer

St. Baldrick’s Grant Aims to Better Understand Aggressive Pediatric Cancer Type

University of Colorado Cancer Center member and associate professor of Pathology Paul Jedlicka, MD, PhD, has received the St. Baldrick’s Research Grant with generous support from Marlee’s Smile. His research will focus on better understanding the mechanisms behind rhabdomyosarcoma, a common and aggressive cancer type in children. The goal of the research is to identify new approaches to interfering with disease progression.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 29, 2020
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Research

Q&A: A Conversation with Cecilia Caino, PhD

Cecilia Caino, PhD, has been researching cancer cell biology at University of Colorado Cancer Center since 2017. Cecilia earned her PhD in Cellular Biology from the University of Buenos Aires with her research component performed at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Wistar Institute. We spoke with Dr. Caino about her research on how cancer cells use energy and how their unique energy strategies could help cancer cells spread.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 16, 2020
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Research   

Cancer Research in the Time of COVID-19

January 2020 was unseasonably warm and dry, so pleasant that students on the Anschutz Medical Campus ate lunch at picnic tables and scientists emerged confused and squinting from hibernation in the campus research buildings. One person who was not there was Deguang Kong, visiting graduate student in the lab of Heide Ford, PhD, University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center Associate Director for Basic Research. With his PhD work wrapping up, Deguang had taken a quick leave to interview for jobs near his home…in Wuhan, China.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 16, 2020
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Research

CU Cancer Center Research May Explain Why Some COVID-19 Patients Take Months to Recover

Many patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have symptoms such as a persistent dry cough, shortness of breath, and in some cases, incredibly low oxygen levels in their blood. Additionally, many patients report having long-lasting side effects, for example decreased lung capacity, even after they recover from the virus.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 13, 2020
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Research    Sarcoma    Cancer    Bone Cancer

What is Sarcoma?

Video Transcript:

Good morning, I’m Dr. Breelyn Wilky from the sarcoma program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date July 01, 2020
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Research    Head and Neck Cancer    Cancer    Clinical Trials

CU Cancer Center Study Aims to Increase Access to Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trials in Hispanic Population

Nearly two thousand people living in Colorado will be diagnosed with head and neck cancer (HNC) in 2020. Generally, a very aggressive disease, head and neck cancer require expert care that is not widely available in community cancer clinics. However, patients that are not well-represented in clinical studies, especially Hispanic patients, are less likely to get care from centers that specialize in the disease, such as the University of Colorado Cancer Center.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 29, 2020
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Research    Lung Cancer    Cancer

CU Cancer Center study tackles racial and socioeconomic disparities in patients with lung cancer

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the United States. In Colorado more than 2,500 people will be diagnosed with the disease and more than 1,400 will die of it in 2020. While advances in lung cancer treatment have gifted many patients with more time, the benefit of these treatments is limited by the racial and socioeconomic status of some patients in Colorado. A new study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center focuses on reducing disparities in lung cancer patients with diverse backgrounds.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 24, 2020
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Research    Honors    Sarcoma

Two New Grants Help CU Researchers Test New Sarcoma Treatments

While many cancer types have added new treatments including genetically targeted drugs and immunotherapies, treatment for the rare types of cancer known as sarcomas have remained largely the same for about two decades. Now, two grants to University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers from the Sarcoma Foundation of America hope to change this.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 22, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer    Cancer

CU Cancer Center Researcher Named Pew-Stewart Scholar Aims to Improve Early Cancer Detection

University of Colorado (CU) researcher Srinivas Ramachandran, PhD, was named one of the five 2020 Pew-Stewart Scholars. These researchers are selected to spearhead innovations in cancer research.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 15, 2020
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Research    Lung Cancer    Cancer

Chad Rusthoven, MD, awarded Coltman Fellowship to support small-cell lung cancer research

University of Colorado radiation oncologist Chad Rusthoven, MD, was recently awarded the prestigious Dr. Charles A. Coltman Jr. research fellowship award from the Hope Foundation for Cancer Research. The award provides two years of salary support to engage early career investigators from Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) affiliated institutions in clinical trial research.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 08, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer    Cancer

Cord blood as source for stem cell transplant may outperform accepted “gold standard” of matched sibling donors

When a blood cancer patient needs a bone marrow transplant, there are four common donor sources: A matched related donor (sibling), a matched unrelated donor (from a donor database), a half-matched donor, or umbilical cord blood. Of course, there are plusses and minuses to each approach, but consensus has generally ranked a matched sibling first, followed by a matched unrelated donor, with cord blood and half-matched donors reserved for patients without either of the first two options. Now a University of Colorado Cancer Center study based on a decade of research and treatment may reshuffle this list. In fact, the comparison of 190 patients receiving cord-blood transplants with 123 patients receiving transplants from the “gold standard” of matched sibling donors showed no difference in survival outcomes between these two approaches, with significantly fewer complications due to chronic graft-versus-host disease in patients receiving transplants from cord blood.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 08, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer    Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Phase III clinical trial results support rituximab as new standard-of-care in pediatric Burkitt lymphoma

Results of the phase III Inter-B-NHL-ritux 2010 clinical trial reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine show 95 percent three-year survival for pediatric patients with advanced B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma treated with the addition of anti-cancer immunotherapy rituximab to standard chemotherapy. The trial represents a major international collaboration between the European Intergroup for Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (EICNHL) and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), and was led in the United States by Thomas Gross, MD, PhD, University of Colorado Cancer Center investigator and pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and in Europe by Véronique Minard-Colin, MD and Catherine Patte, MD, both pediatric oncologists at the Gustave Roussy Department of Child and Adolescent Oncology in Paris, France. The addition of rituximab decreased treatment failures by 70 percent resulting in a 10 percent increase in the three-year survival rate seen with chemotherapy alone (LMB protocol).


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 03, 2020
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Research    COVID-19

CU Cell Technologies Shared Resource makes COVID-19 proteins for research, antibody testing

In mid-March, the University of Colorado Cancer Center Cell Technologies Shared Resource shut down along with almost all the other labs and technologies on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Then shared resource director, Steve Anderson, PhD, got an email from a colleague asking if the facility could make COVID-19 proteins. They could: The shared resource has been making proteins for over 15 years.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 29, 2020
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Research    Blood Cancer    Cancer

Colorado tool, My-DST, may pick best multiple myeloma treatment

In 1844, multiple myeloma was first treated with a rhubarb pill and an infusion of orange peel. Since then, more than 15 drugs have earned FDA approval to treat multiple myeloma and with so many options, a major question has become what cocktail and sequence is best?


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 28, 2020
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Research

CU Human Immune Monitoring Shared Resource banks COVID-19 samples for research

You’ve heard of the Human Genome Project. Now the University of Colorado Cancer Center Human Immune Monitoring Shared Resource (HIMSR) is partnering with the Cancer Center Tissue Biobanking and Histology Shared Resource to store COVID-19 samples for individual research efforts and for a major project known as the COVID-ome. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 22, 2020
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Research    Cancer    Clinical Research

Variation in how side effects are reported leaves first impressions of new anti-cancer drugs open to manipulation

An important goal of early-phase clinical trials is to discover a drug’s possible side effects. But despite FDA guidelines seeking to standardize this reporting, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study finds significant variation in how drug side effects are reported, potentially making some drugs seem safer or less safe than they really are. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date April 28, 2020
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Research    Innovation

Colorado study overturns ‘snapshot’ model of cell cycle in use since 1974

Cells have a big decision: Should they replicate or sleep? Healthy cells can go either way. Cancer cells’ replication switches are stuck in the ‘on’ position. Now a study by University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers working at CU Boulder’s BioFrontiers Institute and published today in the journal Science overturns the conventional wisdom of how these switches work – a model accepted since 1974 and included in current textbooks. 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date April 02, 2020
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Research    Women's Health    ovarian cancer

Experimental medication to prevent heart disease may treat chemo-resistant ovarian cancer

Most ovarian cancer starts in fallopian tubes. Then it sloughs from its site of origin and floats around in fluid until finding new sites of attachment. It’s not easy for cancer cells to survive away from their moorings. Observations by ovarian cancer doctors at University of Colorado Cancer Center and elsewhere hint at how they might do it: These doctors have seen that ovarian cancer cells often collect in tissues with high fat content. Could these cells be somehow using fat to survive the journey from their point of origin to their sites of growth? 


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 26, 2020
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Research    Cancer

What Patients Should Know About Anti-Cancer Immunotherapy Side Effects

Immunotherapies have revolutionized the treatment of many cancers. The most common anti-cancer immunotherapies are called checkpoint inhibitors, which block a handshake between the protein PD-L1 on tumor cells and the protein PD-1 on immune system T cells. Checkpoint inhibitors including pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) block the action of PD-1 and atezolizumab (Tecentriq) blocks the action of PD-L1, but the result is largely the same: When this tumor-to-T-cell handshake can’t take place, the immune system attacks the cancer.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date March 17, 2020
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Research    Philanthropy    Cancer

Community climbing competition raises funds for CU Cancer Center research

When you think about what defines Colorado’s Front Range, adventure sports including rock climbing are near the top of the list. More and more, biosciences and medical innovation including cancer research are high on the list, too. Now a fun event at the Denver Bouldering Club combines the two. On February 29, the 7th annual Heart & Soul Climbing Competition will raise money and awareness for research at University of Colorado Cancer Center.

“Cancer is something that has affected every member of our staff personally – you could go through the crowd at Heart and Soul and every person would have their own cancer story.

Climbing is a selfish pursuit to some extent, and this is our way to step outside our own bubble and say there’s something else going on in the world,” says John Gass, the gym’s climbing services manager.

The fun event is appropriate for all ages and ability levels, from beginners who can rent climbing shoes at the gym, to pros who will compete for $4,000 in cash prizes in the Open division. Since the inaugural event in 2014, the Heart and Soul Climbing Competition has raised just over $70,000 for cancer research through ticket sales, day-of donations, and online fundraising (if you can’t make it to the event, click to donate!). 

“We’ve gotten bigger and better every year,” Gass says. “This year, we’re hoping to push the bar even higher and make it to that $100,000 mark for cancer research. If we can knock it out of the park, we can make it happen!”

CU Cancer Center researcher James Costello, PhD, promises to keep his welcome speech to 5 minutes, tops, before the 7pm finals. And you may even catch a few of his postdocs climbing earlier in the day – if you see folks in blue CU Cancer Center tee shirts, encourage your kids to ask them about their research! Pointing the flow of the climbing/research collaboration in the other direction, Denver Bouldering Club staff recently had the opportunity to tour labs at CU Cancer Center to see their money at work.

“A couple years ago, one of our employees was going through chemo at the same time he was helping with the event. It was really empowering for him and showed us all why we do what we’re doing,” Gass says.

Tickets are $55 until Feb 28 and $65 at the door. Registration includes free food and door prizes donated by event sponsors including Friction Labs, Milestone Homes, Organic Climbing, Groove Toyota Scion, Stone Brewing, Metolius, X-Cult, Escape, Rhino Skin Solutions, Honey Stinger, Brazos Wine Imports, and more.

Really, don’t be shy: “Heart and Soul takes that stress you feel at most climbing comps and replaces it with a community feel where we’re all supporting each other and supporting cancer research,” Gass says.

See you there for this truly only-in-Colorado event!


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 17, 2020
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Research    Breast Cancer

Colorado study points immune system at triple-negative breast cancer

The lab of CU Cancer Center investigator, Jennifer Richer, PhD, has been hot on the trail of new treatments against triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an especially dangerous form of the disease. Recently, the lab has been exploring changes that allow these breast cancer cells to hide from the immune system while traveling through the body to seed new sites of metastasis. This line of research is paying off, showing chains of events that make TNBC especially aggressive. The question has been where these chains can be broken – where are the weak links?


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 12, 2020
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Research    Colorectal Cancer

Less chemotherapy may have more benefit in rectal cancer

Chemotherapy used to shrink a tumor before surgery, called neoadjuvant chemotherapy, is becoming more common in many cancers, including stage II and III rectal cancer. However, the chemotherapy regimens FOLFOX and CapeOx used in this setting come with significant side effects, to the degree that many patients are unable to complete the recommended schedule. Now a University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium shows they may not have to: A small study of 48 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy, found that patients receiving lower-than-recommended doses in fact saw their tumors shrink more than patients receiving the full dose.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 30, 2020
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Research    Cancer

Colorado’s James DeGregori, PhD, to lead new journal ‘Aging and Cancer’

December 2020 Update: The first edition of the Aging and Cancer journal was published on December 8, 2020. To see Volume One, please click here.

As you age, your cancer risk increases. It seems so obvious! And maybe because it seems so obvious, the connection between aging and cancer has received surprisingly little research attention. Basically, the story has been the longer you live, the more time you have to accumulate a cancer-causing genetic mutation, and we’ve largely left it at that: The more time, the more risk. But recent research shows that in addition to the “accumulation of mutations over time” theory, cancer requires (or at least benefits from) a host of other aging-associated changes that let these cells with dangerous genetic changes take root and grow. Some of these changes, for example those to the tissue ecosystem and the immune system, may be preventable or even reversible.

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James DeGregori, PhD

These features of age and cancer that go beyond just the idea of risk over time are the topic of a new academic journal, appropriately titled Aging and Cancer, by the publisher Wiley. The founding Editor-in-Chief will be CU Cancer Center Deputy Director, James DeGregori, PhD, the Courtenay C. and Lucy Patten Davis Endowed Chair in Lung Cancer Research at the CU School of Medicine.

For example, DeGregori points out that the immune system changes dramatically with age, but the vast majority of anti-cancer immunotherapies are tested in young mice. Is it any surprise that many immunotherapies that show promise in (young) mouse models fail to show clinical benefit in (primarily older) patients? Or, for another example among many, additional attention at the intersection of aging and cancer could help to better define how frailty indexes influence cancer treatments offered to older patients, a topic being studied at CU by researchers including Drs. Dan Sherbenou, Tomer Marks, and Elizabeth Kessler.

“It’s the elephant in the room if the elephant was wearing camouflage,” DeGregori says, “as if it’s been hiding in plain sight all this time: These aging-associated physiological changes matter.”

Academic journals help to define fields of study, providing a forum for researchers from many disciplines to display and discuss findings that come at a topic from many angles.

“When you create a new forum that highlights an area of study, it stimulates the research – it creates a community, and it helps catalyze interactions with a community. Despite the fact that it should be slapping us in the face, until now it’s mostly been individual researchers here and there,” DeGregori says. “I would say this new journal will help coalesce a field.”

The journal, which is accepting submission for the inaugural issue publishing this spring, will include research papers, brief reports, opinions, commentaries, and reviews.

“This is a multidisciplinary journal,” DeGregori says. “We want to be a forum for research that looks at these connections, from basic research through clinical studies. If it’s really good solid science and it’s relevant to our focus and making an advance, we would be the forum for it.”

Interestingly, cancer research as a whole originally defined cancer by where it lives in the body – think lung cancer or breast cancer. Then the focus turned inside-out to examine the genetics driving cancers. Now cancer research is again broadening its focus to include study of the tissues where cancer grows – the “microenvironment” that acts for or against the disease. And what this research shows is that while mutation may create the potential for cancer, it’s largely the microenvironment that decides whether or not it grows.

“If a doctor has a patient and they want to know if a patient has a high risk of getting cancer, the first thing you should ask is their age. Instead, we tend to focus on things we can do something about – you can not smoke, you can maintain your weight and exercise, and by doing these things, you can reduce your risk of cancer. But you can’t stop yourself from getting old,” DeGregori says. “However, if we understand what factors associated with getting older increase the chance of getting cancer, maybe we could develop interventions to counteract this aging-associated risk.”


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 30, 2020
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Research    Brain and Spinal Cancer

‘Innovative Research Award’ helps CU scientists block brain cancer escape routes

Cancers used to be defined by where they grow in the body – lung cancer, skin cancer, brain cancer, etc. But work in recent decades has shown that cancers sharing specific genetic changes may have more in common than cancers that happen to grow in an area of the body. For example, lung cancers, skin cancers, and brain cancers may all be caused by mutation in a gene called BRAF. And drugs targeting BRAF have changed the treatment landscape for melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer, and are also in use against lung cancers and brain cancers with BRAF mutations.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 21, 2020
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Research    Blood

Cancer study may accidentally help researchers create usable blood stem cells

A massive research effort over more than a quarter century has tried to make personalized blood stem cells for use in treating leukemias, among many other uses. One way researchers have gone about this is to sample a patient’s adult cells and then “deprogram” them to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are capable of forming any of the body’s cell types, including blood cells. Unfortunately, these iPSCs also have the potential to become cancer. So researchers have largely refocused their efforts on making hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which can’t make any cell type, but can produce many types of blood cells. The good news is that HSCs don’t seem to cause cancer like iPCs. The bad news is that researchers have been unable to create HSCs that can take hold and grow in the body.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date January 16, 2020
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Research    Breast Cancer

Tucatinib “game changing” against stage IV HER2+ breast cancer, especially with brain metastases

Phase III clinical trial results reported today in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented concurrently at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2019 show the combination of the investigational drug tucatinib with standard of care treatment including the drugs trastuzumab and capecitabine nearly tripled one-year progression-free survival (33 percent vs. 12 percent), and nearly doubled the two-year overall survivor (45 percent vs. 27 percent) in women with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer. The international, multi-center trial, named HER2CLIMB (NCT02614794), builds on early development and clinical trials involving the  University of Colorado Cancer Center.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date December 11, 2019
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Research    Patient Care

$4M grant aims to reduce stress in cancer caregivers

Patients aren’t the only ones affected by cancer. Often alongside patients are family caregivers who struggle to keep their own lives on track while supporting their loved one’s treatment and recovery. It’s not easy. For example, a study showed that stress increases a family caregiver’s chance of death by 63 percent over four years. Now a nearly $4M grant from the National Cancer Institute to researchers at University of Colorado Cancer Center seeks to lessen the impacts of stress specifically on cancer caregivers who are also employed. The project hopes to help caregivers manage the demands of their jobs and their lives, while also meeting the day-to-day needs of their loved one with cancer.

The grant leverages the expertise of co-principal investigators Cathy Bradley, PhD, a health economist, and Mark Laudenslager, PhD, a stress researcher.

Dr. Bradley, Deputy Director and the David F. and Margaret Turley Grohne Endowed Chair for Cancer Prevention and Control Research at CU Cancer Center, focuses her research on defining the associations between health insurance and employment on cancer outcomes, while identifying socioeconomic disparities in the delivery of and response to care. Dr. Laudenslager, is a professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, and director of the Behavioral Immunology and Endocrinology Laboratory. His works focuses on the physiological impacts of stress such as increased inflammation and shortening of telomeres, the protective caps on chromosomes that shorten with stress and aging.

The current study will test the ability of an intervention that was proven effective in reducing stress in cancer caregivers when delivered face-to-face, now transformed by Laudenslager and former fellow, Dr. Nicole Amoyal-Pensak, for delivery via a website (Pep-Pal) at the caregiver’s discretion.

“Mark has developed effective interventions to reduce stress in caregivers. My research is on employment outcomes of people with cancer. We intersect at the point of employed caregivers,” Bradley says.

Pep-Pal will be delivered via a mobile application and/or website including eight 20-minute sessions: (1) Introduction to Stress Management, (2) Stress and the Mind-Body Connection, (3) How Our Thoughts Can Lead to Stress, (4) Coping With Stress, (5) Strategies for Maintaining Energy and Stamina, (6) Coping With Uncertainty, (7) Managing Relationships, and (8) Getting the Support You Need. In addition, the website includes short (3-minute) videos demonstrating an activity or exercise to decrease stress, focusing on relaxation and mood.

“The caregiver actually gets to select between face-to-face meetings with a social worker, video chat with the social worker, or using Pep-Pal at their discretion. The idea is to maximize caregiver convenience and hopefully keep them more engaged during the three-month program,” Laudenslager says.

The study follows caregivers for one year, starting when the caregiver’s patient begins “adjuvant” therapy (used after primary treatment to keep cancer from returning).

“The grant will allow us to look at whether less stress correlates with improved health and employment outcomes for the caregivers – and perhaps result in improved outcomes for patients,” Bradley says.

If the intervention proves effective in employed caregivers, the team hopes the program could provide a model for reducing caregiver stress, and perhaps be useful with health conditions beyond cancer.  


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 19, 2019
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Research    Breast Cancer

Three-drug cocktail of targeted therapies promising against hormone receptor and HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer

The growth of some breast cancers is driven by hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Other breast cancers are driven by changes in the gene HER2. Still some cancers are driven by both – and breast cancers whose growth can be controlled by hormonal receptors and HER2 can be especially tricky to treat. A University of Colorado Cancer Center phase 1b study presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting 2019 offers an attractive alternative to the chemotherapy that is often used with these patients: the three-drug cocktail of targeted treatments – tucatinib, palbociclib and letrozole – was overall well-tolerated and showed preliminary evidence of promising anti-cancer activity. Results support the continued development of the combination in an ongoing phase 2 clinical trial.

“I see this as a promising chemotherapy-free combination for patients who have been without good options, especially for those whose disease has spread to the brain,” says Elena Shagisultanova, MD, PhD, investigator at CU Cancer Center and the trial’s principal investigator.

Tucatinib is a targeted HER2 inhibitor; palbociclib stops cancer cells from rushing through the cell cycle required for fast proliferation; and the anti-hormonal drug letrozole restricts the ability of cancers to drive growth using estrogens. Previous work has shown that palbociclib and letrozole combine to kill more cancer cells than letrozole alone. And lab work by Shagisultanova and her mentor Virginia Borges, MD, at CU Cancer Center led them to believe that tucatinib should be a potent addition to this combination.

Results of the current trial show that the theory holds up in humans: of 20 patients enrolled on the study since November 2018, 14 remained on study as of 1/4/2019, five of which had been on the study more than 6 months. The goal of the phase 1b study was to explore the safety of this combination, with no patients experiencing side effects that required study withdrawal.

“All these patients have metastatic breast cancer and up to five different treatments before trying this trial. Also, 45 percent have brain metastases. In this population, our results look promising,” Shagisultanova says.

A phase 2 trial further exploring the combination is offered at CU Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Northwestern University, New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, Stony Brook University, and University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 17, 2019
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Research    Breast Cancer

The Sneaky Way Estrogen Drives Brain Metastasis in Non-Estrogen-Dependent Breast Cancers

Triple-negative breast cancers are more likely than other breast cancer types to metastasize and are especially likely to go the brain in younger women. Researchers have tested various hypotheses to explain this danger. One idea that has gotten little attention is the thought that estrogen might be to blame. After all, triple negative breast cancers lack estrogen receptors (along with progesterone receptors and HER2, thus the name triple negative), and so these cancers can’t possibly be influenced by estrogen. Right?


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date March 01, 2019
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Research    Education    Cancer

Inspiring the Next Cancer Scientists

Inspiring the next generation of cancer scientists is the idea behind the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s annual  “Learn About Cancer Day.”  One hundred twenty students from five high schools in the Denver metro area participated.


Author Taylor Abarca | Publish Date February 27, 2019
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Research    Patient Care    Breast Cancer

For Breast Cancer Survivors, Group Exercise Beats Personal Training for Quality of Life

Study after study has shown that for cancer survivors, exercise is good. But what kind of exercise is best? A pilot study by Colorado researchers hints that group exercise and personal training may lead to similar physical gains, but that a specially designed class for cancer survivors incorporating group dynamics-strategies may increase quality of life beyond that of survivors using personal training. The study now results in a $718,000 grant from the American Cancer Society that will dramatically expand the program, including new offerings through University of Colorado Cancer Center at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. 


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 27, 2019
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Research    Cancer

Young Adult Cancer Survivors Struggle with Debt, Work-Related Impairments

Student loans aren’t the only reason young adults end up in debt. One of the largest-ever studies of work-related risks in young adult cancer survivors finds that of 872 survivors, 14.4 percent borrowed more than $10,000 and 1.5 percent said they or their family had filed for bankruptcy as a direct result of illness or treatment. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that cancer or treatment interfered with physical demands of their job, and 54 percent said that cancer or treatment interfered with their ability to perform mental tasks related to their job.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 25, 2019
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Research    Faculty

Changes in Lung Cells Seen Almost Immediately After Contact with Low-Molecular Weight PAHs

It is well known that exposure to high-molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) increases cancer risk, leading to regulation of compounds like benzo(a)pyrene (BAP). However, less is known about the health effects of low molecular weight PAHs. Now, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study shows cancer-promoting changes in lung cells as soon as 30 minutes after exposure to low-molecular weight PAHs, adding further evidence that regulators may be underestimating the risk of these compounds commonly found in secondhand cigarette and marijuana smoke, as well as other environmental and occupational exposures.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 11, 2019
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Research    Cancer

The State of Cancer in Colorado

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Colorado has the fifth lowest overall rate of cancer in the United States, behind only District of Columbia, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. And the American Cancer Society recently reported that the U.S. cancer death rate has dropped 27 percent over 25 years. In Colorado, the decline in the cancer death rate is even steeper: 31 percent reduction over the same period. Does this mean that cancer in Colorado is a concern of the past? Not so fast, says Myles Cockburn, PhD, co-leader of the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 04, 2019
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Research    Faculty    Colorectal Cancer

Leaders Meet in Colorado to Set Research Agenda for Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

While the overall incidence of colorectal cancer has fallen about 2 percent annually over the previous two decades, the incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer has risen. In adults ages 20-49, the incidence of colorectal cancer rose 1.5 percent annually over this period. For the youngest end of this age range, those aged 20-29, the annual percentage increase in colorectal cancer incidence was 5.2 percent in men and 5.6 percent in women.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 01, 2019
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Research    Faculty    Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Up to 5 Times More Likely to Metastasize Even 10 Years After Childbirth

study by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and Oregon Health & Science University published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network shows that breast cancers diagnosed in young women within 10 years of giving birth are more likely to metastasize, and thus more likely to cause death, than breast cancers in young women who gave birth less recently or not at all.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 15, 2019
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Research    Faculty

New Immune System Understanding May Lead to Safer Nanomedicines

Doctors would like to use all sorts of nanoparticles in the body, for example to construct detailed images of anatomy and disease, and to deliver cancer-fighting drugs deep within tumor tissue. However, millions of years of evolution have equipped the body to identify and reject foreign particles, even nanoparticles. And so one major challenge in the use of nanomedicine has been the immune system’s unfortunate efficiency in responding to what it sees as infection, at best clearing nanoparticles before they can accomplish their goals, and at worst, leading to dangerous immune overreaction that creates side effects and serious risks.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 14, 2019
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Research    Faculty    Colorectal Cancer

To Screen or Not to Screen? That Is the Question.

Nearly a decade ago, a lightbulb went on in Christopher Lieu’s head. At the time, Dr. Lieu was in the beginning of his fellowship and the lightbulb was his recognition of a disturbing trend: More and more young people were being diagnosed with colon cancer.


Author Taylor Abarca | Publish Date January 03, 2019
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Research    Faculty    Cancer

Karyn Goodman, MD, Named Co-Chair of NCI Gastrointestinal Cancer Steering Committee

The National Cancer Institute’s steering committees review and prioritize concepts for large phase 2 or phase 3 clinical trials conducted in the National Clinical Trials Network, thus in large part driving the direction of new treatments. University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Associate Director for Clinical Research, Karyn Goodman, MD, MS, the David and Margaret Turley Grohne Chair in Clinical Cancer, was recently appointed co-chair of the NCI Gastrointestinal Cancer Steering Committee (GISC).


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date October 15, 2018
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Research    Leukemia    Cancer

Cancer Hijacks the Microbiome to Glut Itself on Glucose

Cancer needs energy to drive its out-of-control growth. It gets energy in the form of glucose, in fact consuming so much glucose that one method for imaging cancer simply looks for areas of extreme glucose consumption – where there is consumption, there is cancer. But how does cancer get this glucose? A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published today in the journal Cancer Cell shows that leukemia undercuts the ability of normal cells to consume glucose, thus leaving more glucose available to feed its own growth.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date September 28, 2018
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Research    Faculty    Cancer

Innovative Cancer Immunology Researcher Joins CU Cancer Center

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is always looking for unique approaches to advance cancer science and advanced ways to strengthen our programs. A powerhouse in the field of immunology is now part of the CU Cancer Center leadership team. Eduardo Davila, PhD, co-leader of the Tissue-Host Interaction program, will lead our efforts to understand the role of the immune system in the development and progression of cancer.


Author Kelli Jones | Publish Date September 04, 2018
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Research    Faculty    Head and Neck Cancer

Improving Humanized Mouse Models for Head and Neck Cancer Research

If a new anti-cancer drug shows promise in a Petri dish, often the next step is to test the drug’s effect in mice. This system tends to work well with drugs that directly target cancer, but breaks down with immunotherapies. That’s because tumors from human cancer samples can only grow in mice with suppressed immune systems. Immunotherapies activate the immune system against cancer. And in a mouse model in which the immune system has been suppressed, there is no immune system to activate against cancer.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date August 23, 2018
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Research    Faculty    Cancer

Richard Schulick Named Director of University of Colorado Cancer Center

Richard D. Schulick, MD, MBA, a renowned cancer surgeon and accomplished administrative leader, has been named director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center to lead a $100 million investment in the program over the next five years.


Author Mark Couch | Publish Date June 07, 2018
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Research    Patient Care    Lung Cancer

Blood Tumor Markers May Warn When Lung Cancer Patients Are Progressing on Targeted Treatments

For many years, oncologists have known that cancers can secrete complex molecules into the blood and that levels of these molecules can be easily measured. These so-called ‘tumor markers’ are traditionally associated with a single dominant cancer type, for example Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) linked to prostate cancer, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) to colorectal cancer, CA125 to ovarian cancer, CA19.9 to pancreatic cancer and CA27.29 to breast cancer. However, the real challenge has been to determine a practical use for these markers. They don’t appear to be useful as a means of screening otherwise healthy people for evidence of underlying cancers.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date September 06, 2017
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Research    Community    Brain and Spinal Cancer    Cancer

Malaria Drug Successfully Treats 26-year-old Brain Cancer Patient

After her brain cancer became resistant to chemotherapy and then to targeted treatments, 26-year-old Lisa Rosendahl’s doctors gave her only a few months to live. Now a paper published January 17 in the journal eLife describes a new drug combination that has stabilized Rosendahl’s disease and increased both the quantity and quality of her life: Adding the anti-malaria drug chloroquine to her treatment stopped an essential process that Rosendahl’s cancer cells had been using to resist therapy, re-sensitizing her cancer to the targeted treatment that had previously stopped working. Along with Rosendahl, two other brain cancer patients were treated with the combination and both showed similar, dramatic improvement.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 17, 2017
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Research    Prostate Cancer    Cancer

EBRT with Brachytherapy Offers Modest Survival Benefit in Prostate Cancer

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published ahead of print in the journal Brachytherapy shows that intermediate risk prostate cancer patients experience modest benefit from the addition of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) to brachytherapy. The study is based on the results of 10,571 patients, of which 3,148 received brachytherapy plus EBRT and 7,423 received brachytherapy alone. Overall survival rates were 91.4 percent versus 90.2 percent at five-year follow up, and 85.7 percent versus 82.9 percent at seven-year follow up.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date February 08, 2016
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Research    Faculty    Cancer

Cannabis & Cancer: Cause, Cure, Conundrum

Within two miles of the University of Colorado Cancer Center are at least seven recreational marijuana dispensaries with names like Pink House, Terrapin Care Station, Sweet Leaf, Lightshade and Starbuds. And the influence of what happens off campus doesn’t stay off campus. Our patients are using marijuana – some recreationally, some to alleviate the symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments, and some with the belief that cannabis and cannabis-based products could improve or cure their disease.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date December 14, 2015
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Research    Faculty    Skin Cancer    Melanoma

Will One Bad Sunburn Give You Skin Cancer?

It seems like everybody’s got a story about that “one bad burn” – the time you fell asleep next to the pool and tattooed a white handprint on your lobster-red chest, or forgot to pack the sunscreen while hiking a Colorado 14er. As you know, sunburn increases your chance of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. But what about just one bad burn? And what can you do about it now?


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date July 27, 2015
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Research    Faculty    Cancer

Dietary Supplements Shown to Increase Cancer Risk

While dietary supplements may be advertised to promote health, a forum at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015 by University of Colorado Cancer Center investigator Tim Byers, MD, MPH, describes research showing that over-the-counter supplements may actually increase cancer risk if taken in excess of the recommended daily amount.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date April 20, 2015
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Research    Faculty    Cancer

After Great Dane Success, Cancer Doc Eyes Brain Tumors

Two University of Colorado Cancer Center publications set stage for K9 cancer vaccine test with human glioblastoma.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date June 27, 2013
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Research    Faculty    Pancreatic Cancer

Bitter Melon Juice Prevents Pancreatic Cancer in Mouse Models

A University of Colorado Cancer study published this week in the journal Carcinogenesis shows that bitter melon juice restricts the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to metabolize glucose, thus cutting the cells’ energy source and eventually killing them.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date March 12, 2013
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Research    Colorectal Cancer

As Colorectal Cancer Gets More Aggressive, Treatment with Grape Seed Extract Is Even More Effective

When the going gets tough, grape seed extract gets going: A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Cancer Letters shows that the more advanced are colorectal cancer cells, the more GSE inhibits their growth and survival. On the other end of the disease spectrum, GSE leaves healthy cells alone entirely.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 16, 2013
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Research    Head and Neck Cancer

Grape Seed Extract Kills Head and Neck Cancer Cells, Leaves Healthy Cells Unharmed

Nearly 12,000 people will die of head and neck cancer in the United States this year and worldwide cases will exceed half a million.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date January 26, 2012
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CU Cancer Center In the News

Healio

Association of Community Cancer Centers Names Innovator Award Recipients

news outletHealio
Publish DateNovember 06, 2021

The Association of Community Cancer Centers announced recipients of its 11th annual Innovator Awards.

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Cure Today

‘Coming Out’ to Cancer: LGBTQIA+ Discrimination in the Health Care System

news outletCure Today
Publish DateNovember 05, 2021

Uncomfortable and possibly discriminatory situations are what keep many LGBTQIA+ community members from seeking health care on a regular basis.

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Centennial Citizen

Former Castle Pines Mayor Pivots to Fight Pancreatic Cancer

news outletCentennial Citizen
Publish DateNovember 03, 2021

Of all cancers, pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest to suspect, screen for or treat. For Castle Pines resident Maureen Shul, the disease took away two family members and changed her outlook on life.

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The Denver Post

Wings of Hope Raises More than $100,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Research at CU Cancer Center

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateOctober 05, 2021

Despite the continuing effects of COVID-19, a dedicated community of supporters converged Sept. 18 for the sold-out Evening of Hope, generating more than $100,000 to benefit pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

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