As news of our NCI Cancer Center designation was making headlines this year, you may have heard about Markey Cancer Center's track record and progress fighting cancer in Appalachia.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 24, 2014) — Your vote could help improve integrative cancer care here at UK HealthCare — the University of Kentucky Music Therapy Program is currently a finalist in competition for a major music therapy grant through the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project.
The grant is awarded through the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the country and a key component of the Morristown Medical Center's Carol G. Simon Cancer Center in New Jersey. The program's overarching goal is to facilitate relaxation, decrease anxiety and stress, enhance wellness, improve pain management, and provide comfort and support for cancer patients and their caregivers. The LIVESTRONG Foundation has partnered with Morristown Medical Center to replicate this program across the U.S., offering 13 grants of $15,600, along with a year of paid consulting services to awarded sites.
The grant pays for a board-certified music therapist and consulting services to provide clinical services on an inpatient and outpatient basis for cancer patients. Adult and pediatric patients at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children's Hospital would benefit from these services. Music therapy is proven to reduce stress and pain levels associated with illness and hospitalization. For many patients, the simple act of listening to music provides a therapeutic release, promoting healing and overall well-being.
“Music therapy can have a significant impact on the quality of life of cancer patients, and this grant will allow us to provide much needed services for Markey Cancer patients and their families," said Lori Gooding, director of the UK Music Therapy Program. "Because music is such an important part of Kentucky culture, I cannot think of a better way to provide support for our patients as they move through their cancer treatment.”
Voting begins at 11 a.m. EST Monday, March 24, and ends at 6 p.m. EST Friday, April 11, and voters may cast up to three votes — via email, Facebook, and/or Twitter. To cast your vote, visit http://vote.livestrong.org/applicant/35-university/.
For a transcript of this video, click here.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2014) — Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., is the latest medical center to join the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN).
The affiliation means more cancer patients across Kentucky will be able to receive the advanced specialty and subspecialty care of the UK Markey Cancer Center, recently named the 68th National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the country, and the only one in Kentucky. Other benefits include access to clinical trials and advanced technology while allowing patients to stay closer to home for most treatment.
"The Markey affiliate agreement provides a great opportunity for professional education and training for our staff and physicians," said Ray Poston, director of the Cancer Care Center at Hardin Memorial. "Collaboration with Markey and their affiliates across the state allows our team to stay up-to-date on the newest cancer treatments and research."
Hardin Memorial becomes the ninth hospital to join MCCAN. Other affiliates include ARH Cancer Center in Hazard, Frankfort Regional Hospital, Georgetown Community Hospital, Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana, the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Ashland, Rockcastle Regional Hospital in Mount Vernon, and St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead.
Visit the UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network website for more information.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2014) — After 39 years of working in the University of Kentucky's Department of Chemistry, you might suspect one would get bored with the work. But professor Allan Butterfield describes his current project as "one of the most intellectually stimulating projects I've ever worked on."
Butterfield, whose many titles include director of the UK Markey Cancer Center's Free Radical Biology in Cancer Shared Resource Facility, studies oxidative stress in the brain. This includes the effect of oxidative stress on the development of Alzheimer's disease, and, in collaboration with Daret St. Clair, Markey's associate director for basic research, the study of chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (CICI), known colloquially as "chemo brain" by the cancer patients who experience it.
This research is not only stimulating, but groundbreaking, as well — Butterfield was recently awarded the 2014 Alkmeon International Prize for his work, an accolade that puts him in the same company as many Nobel Laureates and members of the National Academy of Sciences. In April, he will be presented the award in Rome, Italy, by Professor Giussepe Nistico of the University of Rome on behalf of the European Brain Research Institute, which sponsors the Alkmeon International Prize. In addition, he will be giving a lecture about his work at the University of Rome II (Tor Vergata) and a seminar in biochemistry at the University of Rome I (La Sapienza).
"I am truly honored to receive this award," Butterfield said. "The Alkmeon International Prize represents worldwide peer recognition of the decades of brain research by our highly talented graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and visiting scientists in our laboratory that has led to numerous discoveries illuminating molecular mechanisms of brain disorders like AD and CICI."
UK's research into these two major neurological problems has the potential to affect millions of patients in the U.S. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and one of every three senior citizens dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia. Butterfield's research has blazed the trail for research on the concept of oxidative stress as a potentially fundamental underlying aspect of Alzheimer's disease, and many other labs across the country have begun pursuing their own studies into the field. Advancements in these studies could lead to better treatment and understand of this devastating disease.
Additionally, among the 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S., many suffer from symptoms of CICI, which include negative impacts on reasoning and multitasking, confusion, and fatigue — all major quality-of-life issues. These side effects can be long lasting — decades, in extreme cases — and can have a significant negative impact on a patient's ability to function and even work post-treatment.
Since Markey earned its status as a National Cancer Institute-designed Cancer Center, this problem has become even more of a focus for Butterfield, St. Clair, and many other researchers and physicians at UK. The term "bench to bedside" is often used when describing research at an academic medical center like UK, but St. Clair describes CICI research as "bedside to bench and back," noting that to try and find solutions to the problems patients were reporting, the team had to go back to the lab and recreate the problem in animal models so that they could begin their basic science testing.
Facilitating these types of back-and-forth investigations means a great deal of collaboration between basic science and physician researchers. Drs. Jeffrey Moscow and John Hayslip are heavily involved in the CICI research from the clinical side.
"We are very fortunate that at Markey we have physicians who not only focus on the cure of cancer with the best available methods, but are also interested in finding ways to improve the quality of life for patient during and after cancer therapy," St. Clair said. "Our physicians work as a team with basic scientists to research ways to improve cancer treatment with reduce side effects."
There is hope on the horizon for finding methods to prevent CICI. A recent UK clinical trial showed promise for a drug called Mesna, which had previously been used in conjunction with other drugs during cancer treatment to help prevent bladder problems. The team's work showed that Mesna blocked CICI in animal models, and the research was translated into a two-year clinical trial, completed in late 2013. While their teams are currently analyzing the data and preparing for a possible expanded trial that would include UK Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network hospitals, Butterfield and St. Clair say that the drug looks promising.
Butterfield has received numerous honors for his research over the years, but he is quick to point out that research is not a one-man show — it takes a strong infrastructure that allows collaboration from experts across many areas and disciplines across campus. UK's position as an academic medical center fits that bill. Individual medical centers like the Markey Cancer Center and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging — both of which utilize Butterfield's expertise in redox research — benefit from the resources of eight colleges across UK's campus.
Butterfield says that Markey's Free Radical Biology in Cancer Shared Resource Facility is especially unique, noting that only the University of Iowa has a comparably robust program.
"The FRBC is unique because Markey researchers can directly test the roles of free radicals and oxidative stress in cancer and cancer chemotherapy," Butterfield said. "Samples from cancer patients can be examined on-site for oxidative damage, redox metabolism, and identification of altered proteins, all providing new insights into the molecular bases of cancer and its treatment."
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 6, 2014) — University of Kentucky faculty and students are invited to share their latest work in cancer research by submitting abstracts and attending Markey Cancer Center Research Day on May 22, 2014.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Singletary Center for the Arts will play host to a daylong event that showcases the work of cancer researchers from all disciplines at the University of Kentucky. Last year, Markey Research Day featured 142 posters and more than 350 attendees.
This year, Nobel Laureate Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute, will present the Susan B. Lester Memorial Lecture. As always, UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers will present the “State of the Cancer Center Address.”
Those interested may register and/or submit abstracts online. Deadline for the call for abstracts is Monday, March 17.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2014) — UK Women's Health Obstetrics & Gynecology has added an oncofertility specialist to its team. Dr. Leslie A. Appiah joins UK HealthCare as a board-certified gynecologist with expertise in oncofertility and fellowship training in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. Dr. Appiah brings five years of experience from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she served as director of oncofertility and fellowship director of pediatric and adolescent gynecology.
Appiah will serve as director of oncofertility at UK. She will work closely with subspecialists in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, the Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Appiah and her team will collaborate to preserve the fertility and reproductive health of pediatric, adolescent and adult cancer and blood disorder patients of all genders.
Dr. Appiah attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She completed her residency in OB-GYN at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and a clinical fellowship in pediatric and adolescent gynecology at Texas Children’s Hospital. She has received several teaching awards including the Johns Hopkins Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Appiah’s interests include fertility preservation, minimally invasive surgery, congenital anomalies of the reproductive tract, hormone replacement therapy and endometriosis.
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