National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
October 4, 2011 • Volume 8 / Number 19


Rudolf Jaenisch Receives National Medal of Science

Dr.Rudolf JaenischDr.Rudolf Jaenisch

Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, was named one of seven recipients of the 2011 National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama on September 27.

According to a White House statement, Dr. Jaenisch was lauded for "improving our understanding of epigenetic regulation of gene expression: the biological mechanisms that affect how genetic information is variably expressed. His work has led to major advances in our understanding of mammalian cloning and embryonic stem cells."

Supported in part by funding from NCI, Dr. Jaenisch's research has helped shape the understanding of embryonic stem cells and of induced pluripotent stem cells, which will allow scientists to study complex human diseases, including cancer. These cells may eventually be used in regenerative medicine, potentially supporting the growth of healthy cells and tissues derived from a patient's own cells.

The National Medal of Science is the nation's highest honor for U.S. scientists and engineers. The award is presented annually by the president of the United States to individuals deserving special recognition for outstanding contributions to knowledge or for the total impact of their work on the current state of the chemical, physical, biological, social, or behavioral sciences; mathematics; or engineering. 

NCI's James Gulley Wins Presidential Early Career Award

Dr. James GulleyDr. James Gulley

Dr. James Gulley, deputy laboratory chief and head of the clinical trials group in NCI's Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology, has won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Dr. Gulley won the award for using randomized, controlled studies to test novel recombinant vaccines to reduce the progression of prostate and other cancers and increase patient survival.

The award, the highest honor the U.S. government bestows on scientists and engineers early in their careers, is given annually to scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America's preeminence in science and engineering.

"It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers—careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the Nation," President Barack Obama said in a White House release.

New National Cancer Advisory Board Member Named

Dr. Tyler Jacks Dr. Tyler Jacks

Last week, President Barack Obama announced his intention to appoint Dr. Tyler Jacks to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). The NCAB is an 18-member advisory body that meets quarterly and advises the Department of Health and Human Services secretary and the NCI director on NCI activities.

Dr. Jacks is the director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Following postdoctoral training at MIT's Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Dr. Jacks joined the MIT faculty in the Center for Cancer Research and the Department of Biology in 1992. He has pioneered the use of technology to study cancer-associated genes and to create animal models of many human cancer types, including cancers of the lung, pancreas, brain, and ovaries.

Dr. Jacks has also served on NCI's Board of Scientific Advisors and the American Association for Cancer Research's Board of Directors. He is a past president of AACR and was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine in 2009.

Dr. Jacks received his B.A. in biology from Harvard University and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, San Francisco.

The White House announced the appointment of five new NCAB members earlier this year: Drs. Marcia Cruz-Correa, Kevin J. Cullen, Olufunmilayo F. Olopade, Jonathan M. Samet, and William R. Sellers.

Cyber-Seminar Will Address Cancer Control and Prevention for Latino Populations

Research to Reality bannerThe October 18 NCI Research to Reality cyber-seminar will feature Dr. Patricia Miranda, assistant professor of Health Policy and Administration at Pennsylvania State University, who will discuss her research on cancer disparities among Latinos and the need for targeted communications and interventions.

In addition, Dr. Maria Fernandez, an associate professor of health promotion and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas-Houston, will share her work with the National Center for Farmworker Health and its adaptation and implementation of an evidence-based breast and cervical cancer program in a variety of settings in Texas.

For more information and to register for this event, visit the R2R website, where you can watch presentations and join the discussions. This cyber-seminar will be archived on the R2R website approximately 1 week after the presentation. If you missed any of the past cyber-seminars, you can view them in the R2R archive.

Small Businesses: Apply for Cancer Research Funding by 
November 7

NCI Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer bannerNCI's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program recently announced $8 million in new contract funding opportunities to assist small businesses with cancer research and technology development. The 12 new contract funding opportunities represent NCI scientific priorities that are ripe for commercialization. The opportunities range across novel technology areas and include anticancer agents, diagnostics, radiotherapy, device development, nanotechnology-based sensors, and imaging technology.

The deadline for all fiscal year 2012 contract topic proposals is November 7.

Among the opportunities announced are three NIH Technology Transfer (TT) inventions released as contract topics. The goal of each SBIR-TT topic is to identify a small business that can obtain SBIR funding and licenses. Ultimately, the business should perform the necessary research and development to advance the technology toward commercialization.