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News Highlights

May 5, 2016


Governor David Ige firmly showed his support for the importance of the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center's National Cancer Institute designation while grading this legislative session.

"I am committed to ensuring the [National] Cancer Institute designation. It's important to our community. Our community deserves the best cancer care we can provide," said Ige.

In a Star Advertiser poll on Monday, May 2, 53 percent of the voters with 8 percent undecided believed the Cancer Center needed the $4 million budget support from the Legislature.

"We greatly appreciate Governor Ige's vocal support recently and during this legislative session. We will continue to advocate for the Cancer Center into the 2017 legislative session. We have made significant progress and are committed to fight for the improvement of health of those in Hawai'i and the Pacific region through research and education," said Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of the John A. Burns School of Medicine and interim director of the UH Cancer Center.

More than 6,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Hawai'i, and another 2,000 will die from the disease, making it the second leading cause of death in the state.

The UH Cancer Center along with only 68 other NCI-designated cancer centers compete successfully every year for 75 to 85% of the NCI's $4.8 billion extramural funds. Cancer Center affiliated investigators secure an average of $20 million of national grants annually to support cancer research in Hawai'i.

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O'ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, the center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at Like us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.


News Highlights

April 21, 2016


HONOLULU – Joe W. Ramos, PhD, has been appointed Interim Associate Director of the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center as former Interim Associate Director, Dr. Patricia Blanchette, transitions out of her current position to continue with the John A. Burns School of Medicine as Interim Associate Dean for Medical Education and Academic Affairs. In that role she will focus on the coordination of an outstanding team of people who are working on preparing for the School's reaccreditation.

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Dr. Blanchette

Dr. Blanchette reduced Cancer Center expenditures by more than $3M a year while by relocating all Center activities into the Center buildings and releasing leased space, not filling or replacing certain administrative staff positions, working with the Medical School for joint efforts in contracting, and eliminating unnecessary expenses and duplication. This was accomplished without harming the Center's productivity.

"I leave the Center even more convinced about its importance and potential. Dr. Ramos is a respected world expert on cancer signal transduction and metastasis who has considerable experience with NCI designation from his five years as the Cancer Biology Program Director," said Dr. Blanchette. "An excellent transition plan has been presented for the new Interim Associate Director. I am assured that the Center will be in very good hands."

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Dr. Ramos

Appointed Interim Associate Director, Joe W. Ramos, PhD
Joe W. Ramos, PhD, is a Professor and Program Director at the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center. He has been on the faculty of the UH Cancer Center for more than 12 years. He served as Program Director of the Cancer Biology Program from 2011 and took part in the 2012 renewal of the UH Cancer Center's NCI designation. In the last year he has served as one of the Chief Academic Leads at the Cancer Center responsible for helping the faculty work with the NCI External Advisory Committee towards the upcoming renewal of the NCI designation in 2017. In addition, he has served the University of Hawai'i as chair and member of many faculty committees, as a Faculty Senate representative where he served as Chair of the Committee on Student Affairs and as a UHPA representative.

Since coming to the UH Cancer Center from a position at Rutgers University in 2004, he has used insights from his research to identify novel potential drug targets to better fight cancer.

In collaboration with Chemists in Mānoa and New York, he has developed a number of new anti-cancer therapeutic drug leads including one recently patented for kidney cancer. More recently he has focused on identifying new drug leads for brain tumors. His work has been published in top scientific journals including Nature, Cancer Research and PNAS.

Dr. Ramos serves on several national and international grant review boards and is editor at the journal Molecular Cancer. The National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Hawai'i Community Foundation, among others, have supported his work.

"As Interim Associate Director I will focus on continuing the good stewardship that Dr. Blanchette established while being proactive in working with the outstanding Cancer Center faculty to ready the Center for a new Director and renewal of the NCI designation. "

The University of Hawai'i Cancer Center (UH Cancer Center) and The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) significantly influence the medical community, the lives of students and residents, and the O'ahu economy as a whole. Together, JABSOM and the UH Cancer Center added $510.6 million to the O'ahu economy in 2015, equivalent to creating 5,972 new jobs. The UH Cancer Center is one of 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers, and JABSOM is one of the leading medical education institutions in the United States.


News Highlights

May 2, 2016

Regents' Medal for Excellence in Research

Loïc Le Marchand, MD, PhD, a Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center received The 2016 Board of Regents' (BOR) Medal for Excellence in Research. The medal is awarded by the BOR in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community. Each year only three researchers receive the award. "I am very grateful to the BOR and UH administration for the award. It is an accolade to the entire cancer epidemiology research group which, over the past 30 years, has included many, extremely dedicated research personnel with one goal, that to prevent cancer," said Dr. Le Marchand.

Dr. Le Marchand has contributed significantly to the field of cancer epidemiology, and was one of the first epidemiologists to study the role of genes and the environment on cancer incidence. His work has been nationally and internationally recognized. He was a member of the 2015 IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer) committee that reviewed evidence for processed meat as a carcinogen, and was recognized on the 2015 Thomson Reuters' "World's Most Influential Scientific Minds and Highly Cited Researchers" list. Extremely successful at obtaining grant support, he brings in several millions of dollars to the University annually. He always strives to build a research environment that fosters the training of new scientists.

The 2016 Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, May 2 at 4:00 p.m. in the Kennedy Theatre auditorium. You can see a live video stream of the event or watch is later on UH Mānoa's YouTube channel.


News Highlights

April 15, 2016

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(Left to right) Raymundo Elido, Launa Luk, Amy Yamamoto, Michelle Weaver, Gina Holdorff, Helene Hodges, Joni Davis, Janice Simpson

Hawaii Tumor Registry Awarded for High Performance and Celebrates National Cancer Registrars Week

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Michael Green

The Hawaii Tumor Registry (HTR) was awarded 1st place honors for high data quality at the annual meeting of the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program last month in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Brenda Hernandez, Principal Investigator, Michael Green, Program Director, and Joni Davis, Senior Data Collection Supervisor, were present to receive the award. HTR staff members also include Eileen Elido, Raymundo Elido, Catherine Grafel-Anderson, Helene Hodges, Gina Holdorff, Rebecca Loeffers, Launa Luk, Alan Mogi, Kohei Miyagi, Sandra Overton, Janice Simpson, Michelle Weaver, and Amy Yamamoto. The HTR was also awarded Gold Star status this past year by the North American Association for Central Cancer Registries, which certifies cancer registries throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The HTR celebrated National Cancer Registrars Week, April 11-15, 2016. This year's theme was, "Cancer Registrars: The Heart of Improving Cancer Care "acknowledges the critical role cancer registrars play in the fight against cancer. They collect the data used by researchers and medical professionals to advance cancer research and improve cancer prevention and treatment programs.