Cancer

 

A destination for collaboration...and hope

Cures for cancer start with people. Like the 200 cancer experts working to defeat the disease every day at the Eppley Cancer Center. They are some of the best cancer researchers in the country, performing nationally recognized work at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

More than 200 people are involved with treatment-changing and life-saving research at Eppley Cancer Center every day.

 

Cancer research

 

Drs. Hamid and Vimla Band

Arriving at the Eppley Cancer Center via Harvard Medical School and Northwestern University in Chicago, husband and wife Drs. Hamid and Vimla Band specialize in breast cancer research. In addition to their world-class reputations as researchers they brought with them $8 million in research grants and 14 research team members.

"Our mission at UNMC/Eppley is to develop a collaborative program in breast and other cancers by joining hands with existing faculty and utilizing new expertise and tools that we bring to develop a multifaceted cancer program," Dr. Hamid Band said

The Bands are involved in breast cancer research at the cellular level.

 

Dr. Michael Brattain

Cancer can be tricky. At times it hides and resists treatment. Other times, it responds to treatment, only to return later and spread to other organs.

Breast and colon cancers are leading causes of death in women.

Dr. Michael Brattain wants to stop breast and colon cancers from spreading.

"We want to figure out what causes cancers to metastasize to the liver and lungs and what we can do to treat it," he said.

Dr. Brattain has developed a way to manipulate the genes in cancerous cell lines in mice, in order to "turn off" the metastasizing gene and stop the spread of cancer. He plans to couple this finding with a drug that would interact with the metastasizing gene.

"Breast and colon cancers are leading causes of death in women. There's a lot of work to be done, but this could have major applications to a huge problem in society."

 

Dr. Robert Lewis

Take away the gene KSR1 and mice don't get cancer. Put it back; add a cancer causing gene and they do. That is what Dr. Robert Lewis, Ph.D., at the Eppley Cancer Center has learned.

But he wants to know more.

Take away the gene KSR1 and mice don't get cancer. Put it back; add a cancer causing gene and they do.

Dr. Lewis wants answers and has more work to do as he and his laboratory colleagues continue their war on cancer – to identify genes that play a role in cancer and to screen potential new drugs to treat it.

"We can turn the tumor-forming properties of some cells on and off by taking away and adding back KSR1," he explained. "That observation allowed us to design experiments that identify other genes that, like KSR1, are required for tumor formation."

 

Dr. Anne Kessinger

In 1984, UNMC's Dr. M. Anne Kessinger believed immature bone marrow stem cells circulating in the bloodstream could be harvested from the blood and used for transplants.

She was right and her peripheral stem cell transplant (PSCT) method has become the standard of care used around the world. It also helped make UNMC a leader in the transplant of peripheral adult stem cells.

Since then, more than 2,800 PSCTs have been performed at UNMC to treat leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and testicular cancer.

 

Dr. Michel Ouellette

Pancreatic remains one of the most lethal forms of cancer. But Dr. Michel Ouellette, Ph.D. is working to develop a drug that would shorten the life of cancer cells and prevent their recurrence following cancer therapy.

"...a drug that would shorten the life of cancer cells and prevent their recurrence..."

"This would be a new class of drug. There is really nothing right now to specifically address a cancer recurrence following conventional therapy. This is a drug that is especially designed to do that," Dr. Ouellette said.

 

Dr. Tony Hollingsworth

In 2008 The National Cancer Institute awarded the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center a $5.3 million grant to study pancreatic cancer. UNMC was one of only two programs funded that year in pancreatic cancer.

UNMC was one of only two programs funded that year in pancreatic cancer.

SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence) grants are highly competitive and sought after by the most prestigious research and medical institutions in the country.

"This is significant for the Eppley Cancer Center and UNMC and is indicative of our ongoing efforts in pancreatic cancer," Tony Hollingsworth, Ph.D., principal investigator of the grant said at the time of the award.

A five-year grant, the funding is being used to initiate pancreatic cancer clinical trials and new diagnostic techniques. It has also been used to provide partial support for UNMC's tissue bank.

 More than 200 people are involved with treatment-changing and life-saving research at Eppley Cancer Center every day. These are just a few of  them. Please consider giving to help the people who are helping build cures for cancer.

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This past spring I was finishing final exams and preparing to have a baby any day when I received word that I would be the recipient of your Dr. Milton Beckman Fellowship the following year. It was such a blessing to learn that just as my husband and I (both graduate students) were anticipating new responsibilities, there would be plenty of resources for me to continue working on my PhD in mathematics education. Thank you for your generosity in establishing this scholarship.

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Other ways to give

There are many ways to support the Eppley cancer center. You can make a gift without giving any money right now, or you can make a gift that will return an income to you, such as an annuity. You may also make a gift through your estate plan. All of these gifts are referred to as planned gifts, because you are planning to provide the gift at a later date.

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