Research and Clinical Trials - Facing Cancer Together Facing Cancer Together invites anyone to join the conversation as we connect stories and lives of people touched by cancer. // Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:57:49 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Midstaters wanted for cancer prevention study // //

(York) -- The American Cancer Society hopes to enroll hundreds of people in the midstate in its Cancer Prevention Study-3. The study aims to gather health and lifestyle information to help advance ACS research.

Getting started in CPS-3 is a two-step process. First, participants register online. Then, Carol Miller of the society's York office says they attend an enrollment event at Sovereign Bank Stadium on September 17th.

"I call it a no-brainer," Miller explains. "It's really simple. You fill out a questionnaire, you come for 30 minutes, you're in and you can have a profound influence on the research that will lead to a cure."

Miller says they hope to enroll more than 200 people at the event.

Participants must be 30 - 65 years old and will to commit for the long-term. They will receive a survey in the mail every few years for the next two to three decades. This is the second midstate enrollment event for the Cancer Prevention Study-3. Nationwide enrollment closes at the end of the year.

Research and Clinical Trials Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:34:29 +0000
News: Compound stimulates anti-tumor protein // // News: Compound stimulates anti-tumor protein

HERSHEY, PA–A compound that stimulates the production of a tumor-fighting protein may improve the usefulness of the protein in cancer therapy, according to a team of researchers.

TRAIL is a natural antitumor protein that suppresses tumor development during immune surveillance, the immune system’s process of patrolling the body for cancer cells. This process is lost during cancer progression, which leads to uncontrolled growth and spread of tumors.

The ability of TRAIL to initiate cell death selectively in cancer cells has led to ongoing clinical trials with artificially-created TRAIL or antibody proteins that mimic its action. Use of the TRAIL protein as a drug has shown that it is safe, but there have been some issues, including stability of the protein, cost of the drug, and the ability of the drug to distribute throughout the body and get into tumors, especially in the brain.

“The TRAIL pathway is a powerful way to suppress tumors but current approaches have limitations that we have been trying to overcome to unleash an effective and selective cancer therapy,” said Dr. Wafik El-Deiry, professor of medicine and chief of the hematology/oncology division, Penn State College of Medicine. “The TRAIL biochemical cell death pathway naturally lends itself as a drug target to restore anti-tumor immunity.”

Researchers have identified a compound called TRAIL-inducing Compound 10 (TIC10) as a potential solution. TIC10 stimulates the tumor suppression capabilities of TRAIL in both normal and tumor tissues, including in the brain, and induces tumor cell death in mice. They report their findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

TIC10 is a small molecule. This organic compound binds to a protein and alters what the protein does.

Stimulation of TRAIL protein is sustained in both tumor and normal cells, with the normal cells contributing to the TIC10-induced cancer cell death through a bystander effect. It is effective in cancer cell samples and cell lines resistant to conventional therapies.

“I was surprised and impressed that we were able to do this,” El-Deiry said. “Using a small molecule to significantly boost and overcome limitations of the TRAIL pathway appears to be a promising way to address difficult to treat cancers using a safe mechanism already used in those with a normal effective immune system. This candidate new drug, a first-in-its-class, shows activity against a broad range of tumor types in mice and appears safe at this stage.”

New treatments are needed for advanced cancer, as more than half a million people in the United States will die of cancer in 2013.

“We have enough preclinical information to support the rationale for testing this new drug in the clinic,” El-Deiry said.

TIC10 seems to be nontoxic to normal cells or mice even at doses 10 times higher that an observed therapeutic dose, however more research needs to be completed to satisfy FDA requirements prior to initiation of clinical testing.

Other researchers are Joshua E. Allen, David T. Dicker, Akshal S. Patel, Nathan G. Dolloff, Kimberly A. Scata, Wenge Wang, all of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute; Gabriel Krigsfeld, Patrick A. Mayes, Luv Patel, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Evangelos Messaris, Department of Surgery, Penn State College Medicine; Jun-Ying Zhou and Gen Sheng Wu, Wayne State University School of Medicine.

This study was funded by the American Cancer Society, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Located on the campus of Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., Penn State College of Medicine boasts a portfolio of more than $106 million in funded research. Projects range from the development of artificial organs and advanced diagnostics to groundbreaking cancer treatments and understanding the fundamental causes of disease. Enrolling its first students in 1967, the College of Medicine has more than 1,600 students and trainees in medicine, nursing, the health professions and biomedical research on its campus.

Research and Clinical Trials Thu, 07 Feb 2013 19:02:17 +0000
Study: no increased risk of heart problems from breast cancer radiation // // Study: no increased risk of heart problems from breast cancer radiation

(Philadelphia) -- New breast cancer research finds no increased risk of heart problems after certain types of breast cancer therapy. Smaller studies have previously raised concerns about heart damage when women with cancer opt for radiation treatments.

heart-docDr. Charles Simone of the University of Pennsylvania Health System is the study's lead author.  He says the study looked at the heart health of women more than 25 years after radiation treatments.

"It should really continue to be a standard option for women," Simone says. "This study hopefully should reassure many women that, at least for cardiac outcomes, there's no appreciable increased risk with radiation therapy."

Simone says patients in the study underwent extensive testing, including blood sampling and imaging.

He presented the findings at the American Society for Radiation Oncology's Annual Meeting.

Research and Clinical Trials Thu, 15 Nov 2012 17:14:00 +0000
New PHC4 Report: Multiple breast cancer procedures decline, Preventive procedures on the rise // // New PHC4 Report: Multiple breast cancer procedures decline, Preventive procedures on the rise

Harrisburg, PA - October 9, 2012 - While the number of Pennsylvania women undergoing surgery for breast cancer at hospitals in the Commonwealth remained fairly constant over the past decade, the number of women who had both a mastectomy and a lumpectomy in the same year dropped significantly, according to new figures published today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). The report also indicated that the number of women electing preventive surgery increased from 2002 to 2011. This latest PHC4 report is being released in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

PHC4 records show that 10,977 Pennsylvania women received surgical treatment for breast cancer in hospitals within the state in 2011, compared to 11,074 in 2002. However, 3,173 of those had only mastectomies, an increase from 2,696 in 2002. The number having only lumpectomies also rose from 6,843 to 7,200. The number who had both types of surgeries, however, declined 60 percent, from 1,535 in 2002 to 604 in 2011.

surgery-cancer“By providing the latest information on trends in treatment, this report can be a resource for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer as they discuss options with their physicians,” said PHC4 Executive Director Joe Martin. “The data show that the number of women undergoing breast cancer surgery was consistent from 2002 through 2011, but that there are far fewer instances of a women having both a mastectomy and a lumpectomy in the same year and fewer instances of multiple lumpectomies in the same year. This improvement in efficacy and efficiency of treatment is sparing women the physical, mental and emotional toll of multiple surgical treatments.”

Women sometimes choose preventive surgery before they are diagnosed with breast cancer, because of a genetic predictor, a family history, or a personal history with the disease. That number climbed dramatically from 94 women in 2002 to 455 in 2011.


Mr. Martin noted the increase in prophylactic or preventive procedures saying, “While there have been anecdotal reports in recent years of an increase in prophylactic mastectomies, this report contains new empirical evidence that women are increasingly turning to preventive procedures.”

Among the other key findings in Surgical Treatment of Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania, 2002-2011:

  • Women ages 60 and over accounted for 58% of the breast cancer surgeries in the state in 2011, while women under age 40 comprised just 3%.
  • While the number of women having breast cancer surgery declined by only 97 between 2002 and 2011, the number of hospitalizations declined by 1,400, mostly because fewer women were hospitalized multiple times in the same year for lumpectomies.
  • In 2011, 84 men had surgical treatment for breast cancer in PA.
  • Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) paid an average of $6,109 for an inpatient mastectomy in PA in 2010. Medicaid FFS paid an average of $8,445 for an inpatient mastectomy. Medicare and Medicaid fee-for-service paid for about 28% of all inpatient mastectomies in 2010, which amounted to $5,667,495.

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania. Copies of the free report can be downloaded from PHC4’s website at

Research and Clinical Trials Mon, 22 Oct 2012 15:11:25 +0000
What questions do you have about the healthcare law? // // What questions do you have about the healthcare law?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won't be fully implemented for at least another year-and-a-half.  If it survives what could be a new Congress next year, there are sure to be many questions about the healthcare law, as it is still called by some.

imagingPerhaps, no other action by the federal government in recent years has generated as much controversy, angst, questions, and confusion. Radio Smart Talk has focused on the ACA several times in the last few months and new questions always arise.

On Tuesday's program, we'll attempt to dispel some misconceptions, and ask questions like who benefits and pays for the benefits of the Act and how much of a role will personal responsibility play in the future costs of healthcare?

aca guests

Joining us will be Scott Malan, Senior Vice President, Federal Government Affairs for the Stevens and Lee Law Firm in Harrisburg and a longtime lobbyist in the health care field and Dr. Joseph Anderson, Affiliated Adjunct Professor of Business, Economics, and Public Administration at Penn State, Susquehanna University, Lancaster General School of Nursing, Elizabethtown College, Eastern University, and HACC.

What questions do you have about the healthcare law?

Included in this post are some photos from the live show, including large binders containing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which should give a good idea of just how large the act is.

Listen to the program:


aca-binderRelated stories:

Megan Lello spoke with Doctor J. Robert Beck, chief academic and medical officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. The two discussed how the law would impact cancer patients in particular: The Affordable Care Act and what it means for cancer patients

This episode of  Radio Smart Talk looks to bring the examination closer to home. It focuses on Pennsylvania and what the law means or will mean for its citizens.  Hear from an insurer, organizations representing doctors and hospitals, and small businesses.

Research and Clinical Trials Thu, 04 Oct 2012 14:48:00 +0000
Central PA Healthcare Assessment Findings // // Central PA Healthcare Assessment Findings

As most people are aware, there are many changes coming to healthcare as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully implemented within the next two years.

 health-screeningOne of the ACA's requirements is that non-profit hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment every three years. The assessment is designed to "evaluate the existing healthcare landscape" according to a release.

Three Central Pennsylvania healthcare organizations just completed an assessment for this area. Holy Spirit Health System, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System collaborated for the report.


In general terms, what the assessment found is that the region "needs additional information and services that promote healthy lifestyles and make health education and healthcare easier to access."

The assessment also found that downtown Harrisburg has one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the state and that children in Dauphin, Lebanon, and Perry Counties were above the state rate of obesity.

Appearing on Thursday September 20th's Radio Smart Talk program to discuss the assessment findings are Barbara Terry, Vice President for Mission Effectiveness with PinnacleHealth and Judy Dillon, Community Outreach Coordinator at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

Listen to program:


Research and Clinical Trials Fri, 21 Sep 2012 14:30:00 +0000
The Clean Air Law in PA // // The Clean Air Law in PA

“We’ve done air quality studies, we’ve done economic impact studies, and we have seen that there has been no change in the revenue that is collected from those places that are smoke-free,” says Judy Ochs, the director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control.

pacapitolThe Clean Indoor Air Act, Act 27 of 2008, was signed into law on June 13, 2008.  The legislation prohibits smoking in a public place or a workplace and lists examples of what is considered a public place.  The bill allows for some exceptions, including a private residence (except those licensed as a child care facility), a private social function where the site involved is under the control of the sponsor (except where the site is owned , leased, or operated by a state or local government agency) and a wholesale or retail tobacco shop.  It also imposes penalties for those establishments in noncompliance, as well as those individuals smoking in prohibited areas. -From the PA Department of Health

ashtray“There are five exceptions in the law that are for drinking establishments, cigar bars, and tobacco shops,” she says adding that many businesses have actually seen many benefits to going tobacco-free. “By going smoke-free, especially in restaurants where they don’t have a liquor license, those businesses are very proud to report what has happened to them. They have new customers that are enjoying their food because they didn’t come in when they allowed smoking.” In addition to these benefits, Ochs says “The absenteeism of their wait staff is improved. Their insurance premiums are reduced because a fire hazard has been removed, even their cleaning expenses, so that’s a big win-win.”

Ochs believes that smoke-free environments will have a positive impact on kids who may be working at these establishments because it is a great step in preventing youth initiation. She says, “I think that the more you change the environment, the better you are in being able to keep a child or keep a young adult from even starting a lifetime addiction to the nicotine that’s in tobacco.”

Ochs says one day, all public places in Pennsylvania may ban smoking indoors.  Watch the video:

The state’s indoor smoking ban prohibits smoking in most public places, and Pennsylvanians are sounding off on the law.

Cory Warchola is a bartender at Molly Brannigans on Second Street in Harrisburg.  About the impact of the law on business there, she says, “Well, since the smoking ban our food sales have increased because we think that our customers want to eat in a smoke-free environment. We have seen a decrease in liquor sales, especially later on at night, because that’s when people like to be able to come into a bar and smoke and drink at the same time.”

Watch the video:

Research and Clinical Trials Fri, 21 Sep 2012 13:37:00 +0000
What you need to know about health insurance exchanges under the new healthcare law // // What you need to know about health insurance exchanges under the new healthcare law

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 withstood a Constitutional challenge earlier this year.  Unless a new Congress votes to overturn the entire healthcare law or portions of it, the law will be implemented in its entirety by 2014.

affordable-care-act-patientThe Affordable Care Act or ACA was designed in part to reduce the number of Americans who don’t have health insurance.  The ACA requires everyone to have health insurance or face penalties. 

Under the law, states are supposed to set up health insurance exchanges where individuals or businesses with up to 100 employees can purchase insurance.  If a state doesn’t establish an exchange, the federal government will.

States have until November to plan for the exchanges.  Pennsylvania does not have exchanges in place as of yet.

This Radio Smart Talk discussion centers on the questions surrounding the exchanges from the insurance underwriters’ perspective.

Listen to the program:


What questions do you have about health insurance exchanges or purchasing insurance relating to the Affordable Care Act?

Related stories:

Research and Clinical Trials Wed, 29 Aug 2012 16:37:15 +0000
Department of Health Presents Nearly $3.1 Million in Health Research Grants // // Department of Health Presents Nearly $3.1 Million in Health Research Grants

Aug. 14, 2012 Hummelstown – Pennsylvania Department of Health Executive Deputy Secretary Michael Wolf today presented nearly $3.1 million in Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program, or CURE, grants to support three, two-year research projects focused on cancer treatment technologies.

clinical-trials-researchThe grant recipients are Apogee Biotechnology Corporation, Oncoceutics, Inc. and Penn State College of Medicine in collaboration with Keystone Nano, Inc.

The CURE program funds health research with the purpose of discovering new scientific knowledge to help improve the health of all Pennsylvanians.

These competitive grants focus on specific research priorities established and reviewed by the Department of Health in conjunction with the Health Research Advisory Committee, a panel made up of universities and research institutes.

The funds, allocated in the 2011-12 fiscal year, focus on projects that translate the information found within the human genome. The grants support research that commercializes and brings to market new, proven cancer diagnostics or therapeutics.

clinical-trials-beakersThe awards were presented to principal investigators from each facility:
Dr. Charles Smith, on behalf of Apogee Biotechnology Corporation;
Dr. Wafik S. El-Deiry, on behalf of Oncoceutics, Inc.;
Dr. Mark Kester, on behalf of Penn State College of Medicine for their respective projects.

Twelve projects statewide are receiving CURE grant awards totaling $15.3 million. Since the grant program’s inception, the Department of Health has awarded more than $750 million in CURE grants.

“The Department of Health believes in the proposals submitted and that the research will help improve public health and maintain Pennsylvania’s internationally recognized leadership in clinical and health services research,” said Wolf.

More information about the CURE program is found at the Department of Health’s website at 


Below is an overview of the projects and awards: 

Apogee Biotechnology Corporation: Development of ABC294640 for Combination Chemotherapy of Pancreatic Cancer ($832,608):
The project will complete preclinical studies and regulatory activities for a new drug, ABC294640. This drug is currently in phase I testing. It has received Orphan Drug designation from the FDA, and is being developed for use in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Oncoceutics, Inc.: Development and Commercialization of Novel Cancer Therapeutic TIC10 ($1,295,646):
The project will enable and complete clinical trials with the novel cancer antitumor agent TIC10 to improve treatment options and outcomes for cancer patients. This study will determine the toxicity and pharmacokinetic profile of TIC10 in humans to determine its viability as a cancer treatment.

Penn State College of Medicine: Therapeutic Delivery of siRNA Using Calcium Phosphate NanoJackets for Improved Cancer Treatment ($1 million):
In collaboration with Keystone Nano and Calvert Laboratories, the physical, chemical and biological properties of these nanocolloids will be evaluated and the studies will provide the data to support a preclinical package IND application to the FDA.


Research and Clinical Trials Tue, 14 Aug 2012 15:40:05 +0000
What role do clinical trials play in treating cancer? // // What role do clinical trials play in treating cancer?

What role do clinical trials play in treating cancer?

Dr. David Claxton, hematolgist/oncologist and professor at Penn State's Hershey Cancer Institute and Dr. Anthony Olszanski, director of Clinical Pharmacology, Temple University's Fox Chase Cancer Center help us answer that question in this episode of Radio Smart Talk.

Listen to Program:


All cancer treatments used today were first shown to be effective through clinical trials -- using humans for research, testing, and studies.  That's why clinical trials are so critical and will continue to be significant.

According to the National Cancer Institute, "clinical trials are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab and animal testing."

clinical-trial-test-tubesIn cancer, clinical trials are designed to answer questions about new ways to:

• Treat cancer
• Find and diagnose cancer
• Prevent cancer
• Manage symptoms of cancer or side effects from its treatment

5% of all patients that are diagnosed with cancer participate in a clinical trial. That means that 95% do not participate.  About 1.5 million people will get a cancer diagnosis in 2012.  Just think of the impact 1.5 million people could have on the face of cacer research if they participated in a trial.   A panel of Central PA oncologists explain the significance of clinical trials in this video clip from a Facing Cancer Together webinar event.

clinical-trials-colored-beakersRelated stories:

Research and Clinical Trials Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:13:00 +0000