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New Highlights

September 17, 2015

Phil Olsen

Volunteers help at 2015 Four Seasons Hualālai Run for Hope

Nine UH Cancer Center volunteers helped raise funds for cancer research in support of the Four Seasons Hualālai Run for Hope weekend September 11-13.

The volunteers included Amber Chang, Kynan Metoyer, and Corie Fulgencio-Arrẻ from the Human Resources Department; Namrata Gurung from Administration; Patti Corrales from the Cancer Epidemiology Program; Crissy and Todd Kawamoto from the Cancer Prevention and Control Program; Sharon Shigemasa from the Communications Department; and Agata Szymiczek from the Cancer Biology Program.

The Cancer Center co-sponsored the 18th Annual West Hawai'i Cancer Symposium, an educational event during the weekend. This year's topics focused on breast, genitourinary, lung, and pancreatic cancers, leukemia and lymphoma, exercise and cancer, genetics in cancer, and pain management.

The volunteers helped throughout the weekend with duties such as bussing the Taste of Hawai'i Island Dinner, assembling runners' packets, and performing various jobs at the golf tournament including staffing the refreshment stands.

The volunteers' airfare, ground transportation, and hotel accommodations were provided by the Friends of the UH Cancer Center. The UH Cancer Center is a beneficiary of proceeds from the Four Seasons Hualālai's social fundraising activities during the Run for Hope weekend.


News Highlights

August 17, 2015


New grant to study an aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the chest wall to potentially improve survival for patients

HONOLULU – A University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researcher has received a five-year RO1 $1.9 million grant to study the growth of mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly asbestos-related cancer.

The panel of National Cancer Institute grant reviewers said the research, "addresses a very significant public health problem; finding biomarkers for early diagnostic of MM is crucial for patient survival."

Early MM detection leads to better responses to therapy and prolonged survival for patients. Most patients who are diagnosed with the disease live less than one year from the time of diagnosis. Mesothelioma is common in individuals continuously exposed to carcinogenic mineral fibers such as asbestos.

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The grant was awarded to investigate families that have a certain gene mutation. All carriers of this BAP1 mutation develop one or more types of cancers including mesothelioma, melanoma, kidney, gallbladder, and sarcoma by the age of 55. Mesothelioma accounts for more than 50% of their deaths.

The proposed studies will determine how BAP1 mutations increase susceptibility to mesothelioma, and evaluate whether a certain protein can be used as a way to help detect the cancer earlier in people considered to be high-risk.

Dr. Michele Carbone, MD, PhD, director of the UH Cancer Center's Thoracic Oncology Program, will head the research along with Dr. Haining Yang, PhD, an associate professor in the Thoracic Oncology Program.

"Federal grants are important to the local economy, the money is largely spent locally creating new job opportunities, and it is used to offset the cost of the researchers," said Carbone.

"The grant provides us the means to conduct research to find ways to prevent cancer, or to detect it at an early stage when these patients can be treated and their lives can be possibly saved."


News Highlights

September 9, 2015

Bridging the Cancer World Symposium 2015

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On August 20, 2015, the Bridging the Cancer World Symposium highlighted some of the latest findings of cancer research. The event included sessions on how the immune system fights cancer, the genetic basis of cancer, and the possibility of targeting certain channels in tumor cells. During the symposium, a session was arranged to allow graduate and post-doctoral students to ask Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Bruce Beutler, questions on how to conduct research. The top-scientists from across the nation also plan to look at future possible new research collaborations together from this event.

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Bruce Beutler, MD, 2011 Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine, shared his research on rapid discovery and how genetic differences affect specific cancer characteristics. Dr. Beutler won the Nobel Prize for discovering an important family of receptors that allow mammals to sense infections when they occur, triggering an inflammatory response. Josh Green, MD, State Senator and Senate Health Committee Chairman, presented a special recognition to Dr. Beutler on behalf of the Hawaii State Senate.

See KITV4's story on the event here

See KHON2's story on the event here


News Highlights

June 5, 2015

Phil Olsen


The four local girls honor relatives who survived breast cancer, and are the youngest known donors to the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center

HONOLULU - Four local fourth graders are funding breast cancer research in Hawaii in honor of relatives who have battled the disease, and their $760 donation makes them the youngest known donors to the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center.

The four girls – all students at Punahou School – raised the money through a series of bake sales and presented a check to the UH Cancer Center on Friday, June 5.

After the donation celebration the girls toured the Cancer Center and spoke with researchers Lenora Loo, PhD, and Brenda Hernandez, PhD, about breast cancer research at the Center.

The four students, Kiyera Werny, Shaylee Ungos, Devyn Goo and Kendall Kirton, designated the money for breast cancer research because Kiyera's aunt and Devyn's great grandmother are both breast cancer survivors.

"This donation shows a level of maturity, generosity, hard work and caring that sets the example for all donors, of any age," said Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and interim director of the Cancer Center.

Kiyera's aunt, Sandra Shim, is a pharmaceutical sales representative whose battle with breast cancer inspired the girls to choose cancer research for their philanthropy.

"It was super-duper scary but luckily Aunty Sandra is very strong and brave, and fought the cancer. And now she is cancer free!" said Kiyera. Devyn's great grandmother, Mildred Goo, is a 19-year survivor of breast cancer.

The girls are also donating a portion of their proceeds to the Hawaiian Humane Society, where two of the girls adopted dogs. All of the girls acknowledged the encouragement of their teacher, Kris Schwengel, and the support of their families in raising the money for the donation.

The UH Cancer Center has many dedicated funds for specific cancer-related research projects such as those focusing on liver, breast, pancreatic and ovarian cancer. If you have a specific area of interest you would like to support, please call or email Elaine Evans This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (808) 692-0991.

You can also make a gift online at


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