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Vol. 2, No. 25                                                                                                            Dec. 18, 2019

Cancer Institute Member Spotlight

Merideth Addicott, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Center for Addiction Research
Department of Psychiatry
UAMS College of Medicine
Dr. Addicott's tobacco research agenda includes the stress-smoking relationship, the effects of nicotine and tobacco addiction on neuroeconomic decision making, and the effects of ketamine on tobacco addiction. Read more>
Seeds of Science Small Grant Award
Since 2009, the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute has invested in outstanding cancer researchers through the Seeds of Science grant-funding program. This year, two $50,000 awards will be offered.

Download the complete RFP here by clicking the link under "Seeds of Science Small Grant Award." 

Applications are due at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

Funds supporting the Seeds of Science come from two sources:
•    The Envoys are a group of community and business leaders that came together in 2009 to advocate on behalf of the Cancer Institute. The Envoys initiated the Seeds of Science program and have funded the work of 21 cancer researchers through pilot awards in the last 10 years. 
•    On Saturday, September 28, 2019, the 18th annual Hot Springs Village Walk for Cancer Research hosted nearly 400 participants who came out to walk or kayak in support of cancer research. The Cancer Institute is excited to partner with the Village Walk for a second year to offer a Seeds of Science Award.  

Eligibility:  Applicants must be Cancer Institute associate or full members.  

Award:  Two separate awards with a maximum budget of $50,000 each will be granted. Funding is for one year (04/01/2020-03/31/2021). Winners will be announced at a Doctor Is In event  hosted by the Envoys on March 5, 2020. 
Purpose: Funding will support impactful, cancer-focused projects. Proposal examples include but are not limited to:
-    Pilot or feasibility studies
-    Secondary analysis of existing data
-    Small, self-contained research projects
-    Development of research methodology
2019 Research Wrap-up
As 2019 draws to a close, we look back on a year of transition at the Cancer Institute. As we turn the corner into 2020, we only have great things on our horizon!
  • During 2019, we saw the continued engagement of Laura Hutchins, M.D., as interim director of the Cancer Institute, as the search for a permanent director continued.
  • Thanks to many dedicated Arkansans, the Arkansas Legislature approved a new funding stream to support the Cancer Institute’s effort to obtain NCI Designation. This $10 million became available in July, and the funds go toward building cancer research infrastructure in alignment with NCI’s guidelines for an NCI Designated Cancer Center.
  • The 2019 Cancer Institute Gala for Life was one for the history books. It raised $1.2 million and was highlighted by the announcement of the new Cancer Institute Director Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D.
  • In December, the baton to lead the Cancer Institute officially passed from Dr. Hutchins to Dr. Birrer.
  • Throughout the year, researchers in the Cancer Institute made headlines with their scientific discoveries and grant funding:
    •  A partnership between the Cancer Institute and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville resulted in a five-year, $2.03 million R01 grant from the National Cancer Institute.
    • An article co-authored by UAMS dermatopathologist and bone/soft tissue sarcoma pathologist Jerad Gardner, M.D., demonstrated the ability to use international Facebook patient support groups to rapidly reach large numbers of rare cancer survivors.
    • Robert Eoff, Ph.D., received a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his work on DNA damage, cell replication and its implications for diseases like dementia, ALS and cancer.
    • Samuel G. Mackintosh, Ph.D., received an NIH S10 High-End Instrumentation Award totaling $763,971 to fund the purchase of a mass spectrometer.
    • Alan Tackett, Ph.D., received a five-year $1.75 million grant from the NCI to identify new tumor targets in the treatment of metastatic melanoma.
    • A research team led by Vladimir Zharov, Ph.D., D.Sc., published and article titled “In Vivo Liquid Biopsy using Cytophone Platform for Photoacoustic Detection of Circulating Tumor Cells in Melanoma Patients” in the June 12 issue of Science Translational Medicine.
    • Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., published a commentary on a new combination therapy for treating newly diagnosed Castleman disease patients in the April 18 issue of Blood.
    • Donald J. Johann Jr., M.D., was awarded a $1.47 million grant from the FDA to continue a clinical trial to determine if new approaches can be developed to monitor and screen for lung cancer with a blood test.
    • A study led by Brendan C. Stack Jr., M.D., showed the potential to alter neck dissection surgeries in about 21 percent of head and neck cancer patients and was published in the Feb. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
  • The Cancer Institute got out into the community to conduct research with projects such as Health Habits of Long-Haulers led by Joseph Su, Ph.D., M.P.H.
  • We engaged with communities and shared information about research at events such as the Hot Springs Village Walk for Cancer Research and Komen More than Pink Walk.
Laura Hutchins, M.D., Honored as Dean’s Distinguished Scholar

Dr. Hutchins’ determined spirit and thirst for knowledge carried her through medical school, internship, residency and a fellowship at UAMS, followed by multiple leadership roles on the faculty, including 15 years as director of the UAMS Division of Hematology/Oncology and 20 years as associate director for clinical research in the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

In recognition of her service, Hutchins was named the College of Medicine’s 2019 Distinguished Faculty Scholar. Read more>
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