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November 2017

Across the Consortium – November 2017

Nov. 18, 2017:

The only thing as exciting as the teams competing on the field is the team fighting cancer – the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. The member institutions are driving science rapidly from new ideas to new treatments, and they do not wait for anyone to catch up.  So keep up, with this month’s Across the Consortium!

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Schott joins Big Ten CRC Steering Committee

Nov. 2, 2017:

The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium recently welcomed as a member of its steering committee Anne Schott, MD, clinical professor of medicine and associate director of clinical research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The committee consists of one representative from each member institution and is responsible to decide matters of policy for the consortium.

A Gulf Coast native, Schott attended medical school at the University of South Alabama. She completed a medical internship and residency at University of Virginia and then a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the University of Michigan.

“When I came to the University of Michigan as a fellow, I was interested in both the lab and the clinic, was actually working towards a laboratory-based academic oncology career,” recalls Schott. “But one of my clinical mentors convinced me that I should give clinical research a try.” Since that time, she has practiced at the University of Michigan as a breast cancer medical oncologist with a focus on clinical trials.

Schott brings valuable experience to the committee. In 2003, Schott joined SWOG as an executive officer to oversee the development and conduct of protocols. She was named SWOG’s first medical director of the SWOG Clinical Trials Initiative and in 2013, she was named deputy chair.

In September 2016, she was appointed associate director of clinical research at the University of Michigan. “My role at the cancer center prompted my participation in the Steering Committee in the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium,” Schott said. “I’m excited to get to know more about the organization.”

Schott had an interest in medicine from an early age, but it was personal experience that drove her to apply to medicine school. “What finally pushed me to go to medical school was that my younger brother developed a brain tumor while we were in college together at South Alabama,” she said. “My curiosity and desire to understand what was happening with him prompted me to make the application to medical school.”

Schott embodies the Big Ten CRC vision of seeing today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer. “Being able to assist investigators in turning their ideas into realities — the reality of the clinical trial — is really what I dedicate most of my administrative time to,” Schott said. “There are a lot of great ideas, but nothing can come of that until you commit that idea to paper, and then into a protocol that can be followed, in order to collect and then analyze data which can help guide future care.”

Schott brings a sense of optimism to her new role, with time-tested advice for young investigators. “I still believe that good ideas are very fundable,” she said. “There are multiple ways to get ideas funded. If you have a really good idea, and you present it well — and you have to have both — funding is out there. Ideas possibly have to be better than they were two decades ago, and better presented, but we can rise to that challenge.”

Schott and her colleagues at the University of Michigan are no strangers to rising to the challenge. “From the basic sciences through the clinics, we have excellence in so many areas,” Schott said. “Our MI-ONCOSEQ program is one of the first programs to do comprehensive molecular profiling of tumors. While many centers do this now, we were early leaders of that whole process. Now we are able to use this technology to help patients through precision medicine trials.”

While Schott understands the challenges inherent in conducting cancer clinical trials, she is confident in the promise of the Big Ten CRC’s team-research approach. “I think the Big Ten CRC is well poised to do academic investigator-initiated trials that could potentially lead into larger practice-changing phase III trials,” she said. “There’s strength in numbers.”

 


About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to almost 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.

Member Feature: University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

Nov. 1, 2017:

Investigator Spotlight

 Dr. Zachary Morris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and is a member of the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

This story is adapted from an earlier version, originally published by UW Health

Teaching the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Vaccines against an infection work by training the immune system at the site of injection and then spreading those educated immune cells throughout the body.

UW Carbone Cancer Center researcher and Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (Big Ten CRC) Head and Neck Clinical Trial Working Group member Zachary Morris, MD, PhD, thinks that same immunotherapy concept can be applied to fighting cancer, especially metastatic cancers where cells from the initial tumor have spread to other parts of the body. Morris is also working with Big Ten CRC to launch a Sarcoma Clinical Trial Working Group.

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University of Illinois

University of Illinois

Indiana University

Indiana University

University of Iowa

University of Iowa

University of Michigan

University of Michigan

Michigan State

Michigan State

University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota

University of Nebraska

University of Nebraska

Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Penn State University

Penn State University

Purdue University

Purdue University

Rutgers State University

Rutgers State University

University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin

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Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium
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email: info@bigtencrc.org    phone: 317–921–2050