September 2014  
Table of Contents

Funding Opportunities


Highlighted positions related to cancer for which VCU is currently hiring. View the full list. 

Shared Resource Spotlight

The Molecular Imaging Developing Shared Resource Core now offers multispectral optoacoustic tomography. 

Optoacoustics, or Photoacoustics, is a groundbreaking, real-time imaging modality for visualizing small animal anatomy and analyzing biological functions in vivo and noninvasively without the use of radioisotopes. The main advantage of this molecular imaging technique is that a wide variety of contrast agents from small molecules to nanoparticles can be utilized, provided that they are highly light absorbent.

To learn more about the new equipment and the typical workflow of the core, visit the MIDSRC website.

Leaders' UpdateUpdate

A message from Deputy Director Steven Grossman

One of the key aspects of my role as deputy director at Massey Cancer Center is to help plan and develop both disease-specific and mechanism-based research working groups. My goal is to bring forth new groups of researchers from basic science to clinical and cancer prevention and control research to collaborate around a common interest or cancer type.

This message continues with more on:
Research HighlightsHighlights
Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph, Ph.D.
Cancer Molecular Genetics
New non-invasive technique could revolutionize the imaging of metastatic cancer

In a recent study led by Paul B. Fisher, scientists combined a promoter, AEG-Prom, with imaging agents consisting of a gene that produces firefly luciferase and a gene called HSV1tk, which initiates a chemical reaction when specific radioactive compounds are administered. The team then inserted the combination into tiny nanoparticles that are injected intravenously. When exposed to specific proteins that activate the AEG-Prom, the promoter initiates activity in the imaging agent, and the location of cancer cells expressing the imaging agent are made visible using sensitive imaging devices.


Devanand Sarkar, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.
Cancer Molecular Genetics
Study uncovers genetic driver of inflammation, uses it to prevent and treat liver cancer

A team of scientists led by Devanand Sarkar demonstrated that blocking the expression of a gene, known as astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1), halts the development and progression of liver cancer by regulating inflammation. Previous studies led researchers to hypothesize that AEG-1 is required for the progression and metastatis of liver cancer, but not initial tumor formation. These findings suggest that AEG-1 may play a role in regulating immune function as well as chronic inflammatory diseases.

Center News Center1
Massey researchers travel to Switzerland to lead discussions on phase 1 clinical trials in cancer

In July, J. Brian Cassel, Ph.D., Andrew Poklepovic, M.D., and Egidio Del Fabbro, M.D., traveled to Hermance, Switzerland, to lead discussions at the Brocher Foundation Symposium about recent developments in phase 1 oncology trials and implications for ethics and palliative care. The symposium brought together researchers, oncologists, ethicists and palliative care specialists from all over the world.

Member ShowcaseShowcase
Cancer Prevention and Control


Massey welcomes new General Internal Medicine Division chair


Shin-Ping Tu, chair of the Division of General Internal Medicine, has joined Massey as a research member.

In a recent study, Tu showed that certain organizational attributes are associated with success in implementing cancer screening at clinics serving Asian-Pacific Islanders. Her work represents a key step in translational research: "How do we take interventions shown to work in controlled research settings and apply them to different practice settings?"
Researcher Recognition Recognition
Cancer Molecular Genetics
Developmental Therapeutics
Cancer Cell Signaling
Massey researchers appointed to Cancer Research editorial board
Steven Grant and Paul B. Fisher were appointed to serve as members of the editorial board for Cancer Research, an AACR publication and the world's most highly cited cancer journal. As editorial board members, they will advise the editor-in-chief on the direction of the journal, as well as review manuscripts for scientific content, clarity of presentation and acceptability for publication.  

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