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Summer 2016

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Cheryl L. Willman, MD

Cheryl L.
Willman, MD

The Maurice and Marguerite Liberman Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research

Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Medicine, UNM School of Medicine

Director & CEO,
UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center

This year has been eventful and exciting as we take our place at the forefront of cancer breakthroughs and policy while continuing to bring state-of-the-art cancer care to all New Mexicans.

In late January, President Obama announced his cancer initiative in his State of the Union Address. Vice President Biden is leading this initiative and I was invited to brief the scientific staffs of President Obama and Vice President Biden in February. I was invited to play a larger role in these efforts nationwide and attended the vice president’s Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, DC, on June 29.

We were recently awarded a subcontract as a Center of Excellence in the National Cancer Institute’s Chemical Biology Consortium. The University of New
Mexico received $375,000 for infrastructure and project costs. Dr. Larry Sklar will lead this new center that will enhance drug discovery and development.

Thanks to a $250,000 state appropriation, we have helped eligible women receive “Free 3D” mammograms. Studies have shown that women are called back 15 percent fewer times because the 3D picture helps radiologists make a diagnosis more confidently. We’re thrilled to be able to help so many women in New Mexico.

We hope you enjoy this update from the UNM Cancer Center, which includes many more stories. Please visit us online to stay up-to-date. And, as always, we welcome your feedback.

Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD

A Generous Gift Helps All New Mexicans

The Dana C. Wood Trust and Estate  supports faculty and researchers...

Splash Away Swimmers

Second Annual Swimming Fundraiser May 21

The “Splash Away Cancer!” event raises more than $14,000 with 100 participants...

Breast Cancer Walk Team

“Free 3D” Mammograms for Women a Success

A $250,000 state appropriation helped 1,000 women get mammograms...

Cancer Moonshot

Local and National Cancer Moonshot Summits Bring People Together

Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, D.C. at the White House. Cheryl Willman, MD, Director and CEO of The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, attended. That same day, the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center hosted one of 270 local Cancer Moonshot Summits that took place throughout the country. Vice President Biden addressed all the summits in a video.

The UNM Cancer Center serves the entire state of New Mexico, which has a unique and rural population. The Center has made several breakthroughs in cancer research, including breakthroughs in nanotechnology, cancer care delivery, and using genomics to personalize medicine.

At the Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, DC,
Willman shared research ideas and collaboration opportunities with others throughout the country. The local summit featured a panel of cancer scientists who talked about cancer research in New Mexico; bringing the newest, most advanced treatments to our state; and how the Cancer Moonshot initiative helps cancer research and New Mexicans with cancer.

Read more

Expanding Drug Development

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center has joined a national network of scientists on the leading edge of drug discovery and development in the fight against cancer, centered at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

The Frederick National Lab, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, is managing the expansion of the Chemical Biology Consortium to 22 sites around the country with world-class expertise in high-throughput screening, structural biology, medicinal chemistry, compound profiling, cancer cell biology, and animal models for oncology. The University of New Mexico received a $375,000 subcontract for infrastructure and project costs associated with its participation in the consortium. Larry Sklar, PhD, will head the new center.

Read the full news release

Larry Sklar, PhD

We’ve been asked to form the team which links clinical trials and discovery.

Gift and Matching Funds Help All New Mexicans

The Estate of Dana C. Wood and the Dana C. Wood Revocable Trust have provided a $750,000 gift to The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. The gift has been matched by the New Mexico Higher Education Department through its Higher Education Endowment Fund program. The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center will use the gift and state matching funds to create a faculty endowment that Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD, will hold. Rixe is an international expert in early phase clinical trials. Read more

Wandinger-Ness, Rixe and Wheeler with Investiture Plaques

Olivier Rixe, MD, PhD (middle) was invested as the Dana C. Wood Endowed Chair in Cancer Therapeutics and Early Phase Clinical Research in a ceremony held July 28. Angela Wandinger-Ness, PhD (left) and Cossette Wheeler, PhD (right) were also honored with endowments at the same ceremony. Dr. Wandinger-Ness was invested as The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Cancer Cell Biology and Clinical Translation. Dr. Wheeler was invested as The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Chair in Translational Medicine and Public Health Sciences.

Mammogram vs. 3D

A traditional mammogram on the left compared to a 3D mammogram on the right.

More than 1000 women received 3D mammograms in New Mexico.

Read more.

State Helped 1,038 New Mexico Women Get 3D Mammograms

A $250,000 state appropriation helped 1,038 eligible New Mexico women to get three-dimensional mammography through The University of New Mexico Hospital and the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. Also called tomosynthesis, 3D mammography uses many x-ray images to create a 3D picture of the breast. When combined with two dimensional mammography, this 3D picture helps radiologists find cancer more often than 2D mammography alone.

The Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico

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