NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
September 20, 2005 • Volume 2 / Number 36 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Director's Intramural Award Program Seeks Applications

The NCI Director's Intramural Innovation Award Program is designed to support the development of highly innovative approaches and technology aimed at significant cancer-related problems. Novel proposals with the potential for high impact are sought from NCI's CCR and DCEG. One-time awards for FY06 are offered at two levels: PI Awards with an upper limit of $50,000 are targeted to tenure-track or recently tenured PIs; Career Development Awards with an upper limit of $10,000 are targeted to postdoctoral fellows, staff scientists, staff clinicians, and senior scientists.

Letters of Intent are due by September 30, 2005. Applications are due by October 21, 2005. Please direct questions, letters of intent, and applications to: Janelle Cortner at or 301-846-5712 (CCR staff) or Marianne Henderson at or 301-496-8672 (DCEG staff).

Warning Issued on Herceptin Cardiotoxicity
A letter has been sent to oncologists and others caring for cancer patients about new data on cardiotoxicity related to the use of trastuzumab (Herceptin) by the drug's manufacturer, Genentech. The data come from a phase III clinical trial being conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) testing trastuzumab in women with operable, HER2-expressing breast cancer. The study, NSABP B-31, is evaluating the addition of trastuzumab to standard adjuvant chemotherapy compared with adjuvant chemotherapy alone.

The data show a significant increase in cardiotoxicity in 18.6 percent of patients in the trastuzumab arm of the study, including an asymptomatic decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction, or LVEF (a measure of how well the heart is pumping), and in symptomatic cardiac dysfunction or other cardiac toxicity. In addition, there was a statistically significant increase in advanced cases of heart failure (New York Heart Association Class III and IV) compared with those in the control arm (4.1 percent vs. 0.8 percent).

Final analysis of the study's cardiac safety data - as well as data from a similar trial being conducted by the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), N9831 - is ongoing, the letter explains. "Risk factors for cardiac dysfunction will be analyzed with data from both the NSABP B-31 and NCCTG N9831 trials, when available," the letter continues. "A preliminary exploratory analysis performed by NSABP investigators suggests that age and LVEF following AC chemotherapy may identify patients at greatest risk for symptomatic cardiac dysfunction."

For more information, go to the FDA's MedWatch site.

NCI Hosts Translational Immunology Conference
NCI's Center for Cancer Research and the Center of Excellence in Immunology will host a 2-day conference focusing on novel immunotherapy strategies for the prevention or treatment of a range of human cancers. The conference will be held September 22-23 in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md. This presentation will be webcast at For more information on the conference, visit

CCR Grand Rounds
September 27: Dr. James B. Mitchell, Chief, Radiation Biology Branch; CCR, NCI; "Chasing Free Radicals: Use of Nitroxide Antioxidants in Cancer Treatment and Prevention"

October 4: Dr. Pamela Hinds, Director of Nursing Research, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; "Fatigue in Adolescents with Cancer"

CCR Grand Rounds are held 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., in the Clinical Center's Lipsett Amphitheater.

IMAT PI Meeting Highlights Strengths of NCI Technology Development
The sixth annual principal investigator's (PI) meeting of NCI's Innovative Molecular Analysis Technologies (IMAT) program was held September 7-9 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Erkki Ruoslahti presented the keynote address, and representatives from FDA, the venture capital community, and large and small businesses provided their perspectives to more than 100 PIs and NCI program managers who attended the meeting. Investigators shared research progress and discussed potential collaborations with a broad range of scientific, multidisciplinary, and cross-sector experts. The next receipt date for IMAT applications is October 18, 2005. See for more information on the meeting and the IMAT program.

Science Writers' Seminar to Focus on Behavioral Aspects of Cancer
The next NCI Science Writers' Seminar will take place on October 5 at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Experts from NCI and Fox Chase will discuss the different ways in which physicians and patients react to, communicate, and make decisions about a diagnosis of cancer. Dr. Michael Stefanek of NCI and Drs. Mary Daly, Suzanne Miller, and Neal Meropol of Fox Chase will present information on how basic decision making can be integrated into cancer control activities, how patients and physicians think about clinical trials, and how different types of people process health information.

The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will be webcast simultaneously at The webcast will be archived for later viewing. For additional information, contact the NCI Press Office at (301) 496-6641 or at

Weinberg to Lecture on Tumor Formation
On September 28 at 9:00 a.m., in the Lipsett Amphitheater in the NIH Clinical Center, Dr. Robert A. Weinberg will discuss "Mechanisms Leading to the Formation of Human Malignancies." The lecture is part of the NCI/NIH Stars in Nutrition & Cancer Seminar Series.

A professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a founding member of the Whitehead Institute, Dr. Weinberg is a pioneer in cancer research, most widely known for his discoveries of the first human oncogene and the first tumor-suppressor gene.