See also our related blogs for the Keller Laboratory and the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Initiative.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Upcoming Lectureship on Canine Osteosarcoma

Dr. Bernard Séguin will present the first annual Scott Carter Memorial Pediatric Cancer Therapeutics Lectureship 4pm on Tuesday May 3 in the Doernbecher Children's Hospital Vey Auditorium (11th floor).  Dr. Bernard Séguin is Associate Professor of Small Animal Surgery & Surgical Oncology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University.  Dr Seguin received his DVM from the Université de Montréal, and thereafter performed residency at Washington State University and Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Colorado State University.  Dr. Seguin’s area of expertise is cancer surgery and his research interests are surgical oncology and osteosarcoma, a primary tumor of bone. He has a strong interest in developing novel limb-sparing surgical techniques, which are aimed at removing the tumor from the limb while preserving its function.  Dr. Seguin will discuss the similarities between treating human and dog patients with osteosarcoma, and a new study designed to offer personalized cancer therapy with novel new drugs that are specifically chosen for each patient based on the biology of their tumor. This work is a collaboration between the OSU School of Veterinary Medicine and the OHSU Pediatric Cancer Biology Program and Knight Cancer Institute.  Dr. Séguin’s seminar presentation is entitled, “Why Treating Man’s Best Friend Benefits Everyone – The Osteosarcoma Story”.

This lectureship is presented in the memory of Scott Carter, a young man who inspired his family and community to find better treatment options for children with cancer.  This annual lectureship is supported by the Scott Carter Foundation.   
[ update 5/6/2011:  To see the archived talk online, click here . ]

Be The Match/Be The One Run-Portland, July 17th

Join Team OHSU!  
The Be The One Run is coming to Portland Oregon on July 17, 2011. This is a walk/run event for people of all ages and fitness levels and includes a 5K, a 1K and a short-distance Tot Trot to benefit the Be The Match Registry.

The Be The Match Registry is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program ands its mission is to make bone marrow transplantation possible for all patients in need, by increasing the number and diversity of donors, providing patient assistance and advancing research in the field of bone marrow transplantation. The program has facilitated more than 43,000 since its inception in 1987.  In 2010, nearly 723,000 potential bone marrow donors were added to the registry and new mothers donated more than 36,000 umbilical cord blood units.  Even though there are more than 9 million donors and 185,000 cord blood units available through the Be The Match Registry, there is still a need for more.

Be The Match is engaging individuals who are motivated to help grow the registry, volunteer, and provide financial support for patients and their families. Portland is one of the first cities in the country selected to hold the Be The One run event because of the close working and service relationship between our community and Be The Match. Portland has the only donor recruitment center in our region. OHSU and Doernbecher are the only center performing unrelated donor bone marrow and cord blood transplants for adults and children in the state. Several of the physicians at the Knight Cancer Institute and Doernbecher are national leaders in bone marrow transplantation research, donor and patient advocacy.

Everyone is invited to participate! You can join as part of the OHSU team, as an individual or form a new team.  You can also help by spreading the word, volunteering for the event or making a financial contribution. More information at
[ content kindly provided by Eneida Nemecek, Doernbecher BMT Program ] 

Monday, April 25, 2011

College Student Dedicated to Curing His Own Cancer Speaks at OHSU

Josh Sommer will discuss how individual patients, patient advocacy groups can help expedite research breakthroughs, accelerate their own cures

WHAT:           Josh Sommer will discuss his campaign to find a cure for a rare bone cancer of the head and spine called clival chordoma, and his belief that patients can and should play an active role in bringing about treatments for their own conditions.

Josh was diagnosed with clival chordoma in 2006 while attending Duke University. Determined to find his own cure, Josh volunteered for two years in an oncology lab at Duke University. In 2008 he received a two-year Echoing Green Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs for his pioneering work in bridging patient advocacy and research.

Today Josh is executive director of the Chordoma Foundation, an organization he and his mom, Simone Sommer, M.D., founded to unite patients, doctors and scientists to accelerate treatments for chordoma, which typically is resistant to chemotherapy and radiation and is prone to multiple recurrences; the average survival after diagnosis is seven years.

“In a few short years, Josh has created a new culture by which patients interact with top researchers and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate research,” said Charles Keller, M.D., leader of Pediatric Cancer Biology Program in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Oregon Stem Cell Center at OHSU. “Josh exemplifies the need for personalized medicine and the Chordoma Foundation has made possible amazing research in the United States and internationally that has resulted in high-profile, high-impact publications in the scientific journal CELL, among others.”

Josh is the inaugural speaker of the Miles Alpern Levin Lectureship, sponsored by the Miles Alpern Levin Initiative for Rhabdomyosarcoma Research and hosted by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Pediatric Cancer Biology Program at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

WHEN:          Tuesday, April 26, at 4 p.m. The lecture will be streamed live at this website

WHERE:       OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, 11th floorVey Auditorium, 700 S.W. Campus Drive, Portland, OR 97239

DETAILS:     In addition to addressing the important role of patient advocacy he will focus on various issues and special challenges that are associated with cancer detection, diagnostics, prognostics and treatment of rare cancers; strategies to improve screening, scientific collaborations and interactions, and new technologies.

NOW AVAILABLE:  Click here to view the recorded lectureship.  

CureSearch Spring 2011 Newsletter highlights PCB

The Children's Oncology Group is an important framework for the progress that has been seen for 80% of the childhood cancers that are now survivable, and the COG is an important part of finding new treatments for the remaining 20%.  We are grateful that COG/CureSearch for Children's Cancer has highlighted our Pediatric Cancer Biology Program in it Spring 2011 Newsletter for both our rhabdomyosarcoma research and our program mission at OHSU and with COG.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Trading Hair for Hope

Our heartfelt support goes to the "DCH Razor your heads for the cure" team including DCH resident, Katie Oldread, who this year are shaving their heads to raise funds for the St. Baldrick's Foundation and childhood cancer research.  Pledges are said to be welcome, here.  


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peds Hem Onc Fellow selected for AACR Workshop

Congratulation to OHSU-Doernbecher Children's Hospital Pediatric Hematology-Oncology fellow, Nameeta Richards, who has been selected to participate in the 20th Annual AACR Aspen Workshop: Molecular Biology in Clinical Oncology, July 16-22, 2011.  This is a prestigious opportunity for the brightest young adult and pediatric oncology and oncologic surgery to receive mentorship from international thought leaders in Oncology research.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

OHSU Fellows present Targeted Therapy Studies

Congratulations to OHSU Pediatric Hematology Oncology fellows, Dr. Praveen Anur, and Dr. Jason Glover who presented their well-received studies, "Dasatinib supressess TNF-alpha over-production in FANCC deficient cells" and "Exploring novel targets in the tyrosine kinase family in Neuroblastoma", respectively, at the American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology annual meeting in Baltimore, MD.  Praveen's mentor is Fanconi Anemia expert, Dr. Grover Bagby, and Jason's mentor is Dr. Brian Druker.  
These two studies exemplify the OHSU commitment not only to personalized cancer care, but also to the training of the brightest young minds of the next generation. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pediatric Cancer Biology Nanocourse

Congratulations to the five high school students selected for the Childhood Cancer Nanocourse & Internship for Key Club Students in August 2011.  The course will give students didactic training in childhood cancer treatment, clinical trials and basic science research.   The experience will also include individual research project assignments, with the opportunity to collaborate with fellow student scientists.  This Nanocourse sponsored by the OHSU Pediatric Cancer Biology Program is modeled after the AACR Physician-Scientist workshop held each year in Aspen, Colorado, which is for the brightest young minds and future biomedical leaders.  As the selected 5 high school Key Club students have demonstrated, however, it is never too early to start!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Our thanks to the Students of Sunset High School

Our Pediatric Cancer Biology program is grateful to the Students of Sunset High School for their generous contribution of $10,000 to fund a Personalized Cancer Therapy Drug Library.  It is amazing that these students were able to raise such a significant amount, which undoubtedly took a great deal of work and dedication.  Their gift will make a measurable impact on our research efforts to develop a way to identify specific non-chemotherapy drug (or drugs) that would be best to stop tumor cell growth for each individual patient.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Personalized Medicine on the horizon

As molecularly-targeted medicines are developed to supplement or replace chemotherapy and/or radiation, the driving mutations or protein expression changes in a cancer (or the surrogate biomarker indicators thereof) will need to be identifiable on a patient-by-patient basis.  While key examples of "actionable mutations" do exist (eg., Herceptest for providing a basis for treatment selection), broad panels are only now being developed.  An example of a newly available test for 649 gene mutations across 53 genes is the Multiplex Solid Tumor Panel, offered at the OHSU Dept. of Pathology.  
The stated goal of this assay is to have "developed a panel of multiplexed assays to screen for 649 mutations across 53 genes. The panel is designed to facilitate rapid identification of mutations that can be targeted with therapeutics now in clinical development or already FDA-approved."
Cost is approximately $2500 per patient sample.  Many caveats exist as to whether such a test can be used to directly inform patient care, yet the clinical availability of this assay is a step in the right direction.  
For more details, click here .  
[ for the peer-reviewed publication, click here for PubMed ID 21726664 (J Mol Diagn. 2011 Sep;13(5):504-13. Epub 2011 Jul 2).