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Issue highlights
Seminar: Total breast cancer care
Seminar: Guidelines to reduce cancer risk
Saks Key to the Cure
Relieving hot flashes in breast cancer survivors
How to reduce breast cancer risk
Do men get breast cancer?
Upcoming events

Visit our calendar for a listing of all Massey events.
Tuesday, Sept. 25
The Latest about Prostate Cancer 


Join Massey's Dr. Michael Hagan as he discusses the latest thinking on prostate cancer and its treatment.


More information.


Thursday, Sept. 27
Nutrition and Cancer: Is there a connection?


Massey's Diane Wilson, Ed.D., R.D.,
will discuss the relationship between healthy habits and cancer.


More information


Friday, Sept. 28
Women's Field Hockey Blue Out


Massey has teamed with VCU Athletics to raise prostate cancer awareness.


More information.


Tuesday, Oct. 2
Pink Ribbons of Hope Golf Tournament


A tournament open to all players to benefit Massey's life-saving cancer research. 

More information.


Register online.


Thursday, Oct. 4
Salisbury Golf Tournament


A private tournament to benefit Massey's life-saving cancer research.


More information


Friday, Oct. 5
BJ's Pink Picnic


Enjoy a complimentary picnic while listening to experts discuss breast cancer risk reduction.


More information


Sunday, Oct. 7
The Brickman Richmond Sprint Triathlon

Massey is the official charitable partner of the triathlon.

Wednesday, Oct. 10
Total Breast Cancer Care 


Join a panel of Massey's renowned specialists to discuss comprehensive care for breast cancer.


More information


Wednesday, Oct. 10
Breast Cancer is a Witch!


Shop, sip and proclaim that "breast cancer is a witch!" at The Shops at 5807.


More information


Thursday, Oct. 11
Eight Guidelines to Reduce Cancer Risk


Join Massey's Diane Wilson, Ed.D., R.D., for this free seminar.


More information


Thursday, Oct. 18
Saks Key to the Cure


Join us for an evening of fashion, music, and culinary delights from the areas premier chefs, plus a silent auction, as only Saks can do it. Proceeds support cancer research at Massey.


More information.


Saturday, Oct. 20
Stonehenge Crew for the Cure 5k Fun Run/Walk


This fund-raising event for Massey is dedicated to the eradication of breast cancer.


More information


Monday, Oct. 22
Pink Ribbons of Hope Bridge and Mah JonggTournament


Play games to support life-saving research at Massey.


More information.  


Friday, Oct. 26
Men's Soccer Pink Out 


Massey has teamed up with VCU Athletics to raise breast cancer awareness.


More information.

Issue: 7
October 2012

Extraordinary progress in cancer prevention, detection and treatment has been made in the last year. The 2012 American Association for Cancer Research Progress Report highlights achievements capping a year  of "wins" in the war on cancer. The report echoes what Massey researcher Yi Ning, M.D., Sc.D., found in his recent study: nearly half of all cancer survivors die of causes other than cancer.

Why are more patients surviving cancer? Evolving technology and innovative research at VCU Massey and other NCI-designated cancer centers are resulting in tangible clinical advances. Here are a few examples.


Novel drug combination shows promising results for triple negative breast cancer


Researchers at Massey have developed a novel combination drug therapy for advanced malignancies, including triple negative breast cancer, a disease that is very difficult to treat. Principal investigator Andrew Poklepovic, M.D., is leading a clinical trial to study the benefits of pemetrexed used in concert with sorafenib. This research builds upon laboratory experiments by Massey scientists Richard Moran, Ph.D., and

Paul Dent, Ph.D.


Poklepovic and Quigley
Andrew Poklepovic, M.D., and Maria Quigley, R.N., review study findings.

Pemetrexed, co-discovered by Dr. Moran, prevents the formation of DNA and RNA, which are required for the growth and survival of both normal and cancer cells. When used in concert with sorafenib (which works by slowing the spread of cancer cells), the drugs create a synergistic killing effect. The combination promotes toxic autophagy, a new cancer-fighting strategy that causes cancer cells to cannibalize themselves. Read more.


Potential new targets discovered for breast cancer treatment


Despite the observations that breast cancers often develop in close association with fat (which is abundant in the breast), little has been known about the involvement of fat-associated cells in cancer growth, until now. 


Scientists at Massey are investigating the role of fatty tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells in the development of breast cancer. Mesenchymal stem cells are cells that typically differentiate to produce fat, bone and cartilage. "We have recently found that these local adult stem cells stimulate the growth and invasion of basal-like breast cancer, an aggressive tumor type for which there is no effective targeted therapy," says lab director Lynne Elmore, Ph.D. "By defining at the molecular level how fat-derived cells promote breast cancer, we hope to ultimately inhibit such actions by specifically targeting these signaling pathways. By doing so, we can treat breast cancer in a more specific and less toxic way." Read more.


New tools for treating breast cancer

Massey researchers are inventing new tools for breast cancer therapy. Radiation oncologist Doug Arthur, M.D., contributed to the development of the technology behind AccuBoost, an image-guided treatment for breast cancer that uses digital mammography to improve radiation targeting. "We typically give patients a 'boost' of radiation to the surgical site following whole-breast radiation treatment," explains Dr. Arthur. "AccuBoost uses real-time images to improve dose delivery. We literally see what we treat and treat what we see."

Arthur and Dorin Todor, Ph.D., also contributed to the clinical development of another invention. The Contura Multilumen Balloon is an applicator for brachytherapy procedures. Brachytherapy involves placing the radioactive source inside or next to the breast treatment site.

The new Contura applicator has five catheters inside the balloon that allows for dose shaping during high-dose rate brachytherapy treatment. Some patients who previously would not be good candidates for partial breast irradiation are now candidates with the advent of Contura. Read more.



Massey pilot study goes national 


Not all clinical trials assess curative therapies. Many trials target pain and symptoms that can interfere with the quality of life and ability to heal, such as frequent severe hot flashes in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Current therapies to relieve hot flashes are not an option for these women if they increase levels of estrogen, which may increase the risk of relapse. Breast cancer survivors need a non-estrogen alternative therapy.


In 2009, researchers at Massey enrolled 26 subjects in a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of magnesium oxide in reducing both the frequency and severity of hot flashes. The results were so encouraging that Massey is now collaborating with the Mayo Clinic and the other members of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group to enroll participants in a larger, national trial. Massey's Haeseong Park, M.D., M.P.H., is one of two national study chairs and Mary Helen Hackney, M.D., is leading the trial at Massey. To learn more, contact Gwen Parker, study coordinator, at 1-800-925-8821.



October has been designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month in part to draw attention to the role lifestyle plays in cancer prevention. Here are things you can do to reduce your risk.

* Do a breast self-exam once a month, one week after your period, not before. By doing this regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally feel so that you are more apt to detect any change.

Massey's breast health experts provide comprehensive care.

Eat a good diet.


Exercise regularly. Living an active lifestyle will help you maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase the risk of breast and other cancers.  


Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol in excess (more than one drink a day). 


* Know your family health history.   


* Talk with your physician about when to start routine clinical breast examinations and mammography. Screening guidelines depend on various factors, including family health history.  



Do men get breast cancer? 

Yes, men can have breast cancer, but it is rare. Much of the same advice given to women applies to men; in particular, men should pay attention to changes in their body. The following are the most common symptoms of breast cancer in men.

* Breast lumps

* Nipple inversion

* Nipple discharge (sometimes bloody)

* A pain or pulling sensation in the breast


The symptoms of breast cancer may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis. Read more.


Momentum is published by VCU Massey Cancer Center.

David Raine, Jr.

If you have questions about cancer, cancer treatments or survivorship, please ASK MASSEY.

To learn more about VCU Massey Cancer Center, please visit our Web site at