Aug 24

Research Mentoring Grant-Writing Program Registration (9.1.16)

Research Mentoring Grant-Writing Program Registration Opens September 1

Are you a faculty or fellow investigator who is planning to submit your first grant to NIH for the December 2016-February 2017 cycle? Learn strategies for increasing your chance of success while you get help drafting and polishing your grant application. The Office for Faculty Mentoring offers two grant-writing programs: the K Club to help investigators prepare NIH career development (K) award applications and the Path to Independence Program. The purpose of these programs is to guide the preparation of applications for first time applicants.

Course details and program eligibility can be found on the Duke University School of Medicine’s Office for Research Mentoring website. For help with resubmissions or non-NIH grants, contact Dr. Dewhirst for discussion of eligibility. Go to our Newsletter to get important program updates on the program.


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Aug 23

Duke Campus Club Wants You!

wantyou-01Duke Campus Club is a vibrant, inclusive and active organization connecting Duke-affiliated women who are employees, spouses of employees, alumnae, OLLI participants, Duke volunteers, and family members.

High-profile speakers, behind-the-scenes tours, excursions, and an annual trip are on the event calendar. Members can also choose from more than 30 interest groups, such as book clubs, museum and music appreciation, gallery tours, gourmet cooking, games, hiking, running, bowling and much more. Activities are held during the daytime, evening and weekends to fit busy schedules. Our no-pressure participation approach allows members to select based on individual schedule. Annual membership dues for Campus Club are only $25.

Interested parties are invited to Duke Campus Club’s Fall Reception, Friday, Sept. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hill House, 900 South Duke Street, Durham. This is a great chance to visit with members and to get acquainted with the many interest groups offered. No RSVP is required. For more information, contact Diane Staton, VP Membership or visit Duke Cancer Club at

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Aug 23

August Newsmakers

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New center offers array of breast cancer care in one place (WRAL)
Features Lisa Tolnitch, MD.

Probability data could better direct lymph node removal for thyroid cancer (ScienceDaily)
Features Julie Sosa, MD, and Terry Hyslop, PhD.

Intervening Financial Toxicity: What we can do today? (UroToday)
Features Yousuf Zafar, MD.

Research gives promise to those whose cancer has spread to the bones (WTHITV)
Features Dorothy Sipkins, MD. PhD.

The Power Of Support Systems For People Battling Serious Illnesses (SELF)
Features Ben Weast, MA, LPC, NCC, CT.

Duke University’s plan to bring medical breakthroughs into common practice (TBJ)

Doctor’s Recommendations Trump Patient Preferences for Prostate Cancer Treatment (MC)

Veterinarian Goes Back to Medical School to Help Save Dogs and Humans from Rare Cancer (People)
Features Will Eward, MD, DVM

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Aug 22

Duke Nurse Launches Album For A Cure Campaign


Daniel Nickels, an ICU nurse at Duke Raleigh Hospital, performs one of his original songs at a local venue.

Music has always played an important role in Daniel Nickels’ life. Growing up in Ashland, Oregon, he was surrounded by musicians. His mother taught him to play piano when he was young. By sixteen his dad had Nickels shredding a guitar. He would go on to master other instruments, including the ukulele, harmonica and drums. However, for this singer-songwriter music is much more than an entertaining pastime. It is, for him, the rhythm of life. The ebbs and flows. The twists and turns. And the ups and downs. Daniel Nickels makes humanity’s story sing.

“My passion is people and music,” said Nickels, 32, an ICU nurse at Duke Raleigh Hospital. “I’m a people person. I like to meet others and hear their stories. Lyrics should do more than scratch the surface—they must tell a story. Like people, a song should have range and depth—evoke emotion—a reaction of some sort. In essence my music is storytelling.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 22

Doctor Recommendations Top Patient Preferences for Prostate Cancer Treatment

Doctor talking with old patient

Shared decision-making in health care has been touted as a way to include patient preferences in treatment plans, better balance treatment risks and benefits, reduce disparities and improve health outcomes.

But how does it work in practice?

New research led by Karen Scherr, a Duke University medical and PhD student, Angela Fagerlin, professor and chair of the department of population sciences at the University of Utah, and Duke professor Dr. Peter Ubel suggests that for patients with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer, their preferences did not discernibly influence the treatment they received.

Instead, their urologists’ recommendation was the primary determinant of their treatment decisions. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Medical Decision Making’s online first edition.

“It was interesting to look at this group of patients, because treating prostate cancer involves a choice between surgery, radiation and active surveillance—all of which involve difficult trade-offs,” said Ubel, a physician and professor of business, public policy and medicine.

“We wanted to know if urologists were following current guidelines to consider patient preferences about treatment outcomes, including urinary, sexual and bowel function—and whether a discussion of preferences would influence the treatment that patients ultimately received.”

The team collected data as part of a larger study designed to compare two aids on patient decision-making in early-stage prostate cancer, and included patients from four geographically diverse Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 22

Team Renacer To Host Bake Sale To Benefit Fight Against Breast Cancer


Team Renacer, led by Xiomara Boyce (far left), raised more than $1,000 at its Aug. 18 bake sale. Photo courtesy of Kim Malugen.

Led by DCI patient navigator Xiomara Boyce, team Renacer will host a bake sale on Thursday, Sept. 15. The event will benefit this year’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The bake sale features baked goods and luncheon specialties.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Boyce moved to the United States when she was 14 years old. She began instructing part-time at Duke about 22 years ago. Boyce, who has been affiliated with Duke full-time for 12 years, is a two-time breast cancer survivor.

Team Renacer’s bake sale will be hosted Sept. 15 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hock Plaza 1, at 2424 Erwin Road in Durham. The 10th Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer will be held on Saturday, Saturday, Oct. 15, at North Hills Mall in Raleigh. Team Renacer is one of several teams under the umbrella of Team Duke Cancer Institute. To join team Renacer or to donate, visit team Renacer.

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Aug 19

Radiation Oncology Nurse Designs Support In Mother’s Memory


Nicole Kenney, BSN, RN, CN III, poses with her father at a previous Light The Night Walk in Raleigh.

New Hampshire native Nicole Kenney, 31, already had one undergraduate degree under her belt when she applied in 2009 for enrollment in Duke University School of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Program. Kenney was accepted, but halfway into the program during the summer of 2010, she received a call from home that would test her determination and resolve.

“My mom had been diagnosed with adult acute myeloid leukemia, or AML,” said Kenney, now a radiation oncology nurse at Duke Cancer Center in Durham, North Carolina. “My immediate thought was to just quit the program and go home.”

Kenney’s mother urged her to stay.

“She told me, ‘I want you to finish what you’ve started. You must accomplish your dream of becoming a nurse.’”

With steely determination, Kenney threw herself into her studies. She also learned all she could about her mother’s disease—a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (types of white blood cells), red blood cells or platelets. In her Google searches, Kenney came across The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a national non-profit committed to supporting people with blood cancers and raising funds to keep research moving forward. While perusing the site she learned about an annual walk event, Light The Night.

“Like anyone, I wanted to dive in and support my mom,” Kenney said. “As luck would have it, the next walk was schedule for that very fall, only a few months after my mother’s diagnosis.”

Kenney formed a team made up of family, friends and fellow nursing students. In her mother’s honor, she named her team, Team Noreen. She asked her family and friends in New Hampshire to represent Team Noreen at their local Light The Night walks in New Hampshire.

“Our first year we raised about $550,” Kenney said. “And every year since we’ve been able to build on that. In the six years I’ve been walking we’ve raised more than $5,000.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 17

Duke Cancer Researchers Assess the Adequacy of Lymph Node Dissection for Papillary Thyroid Cancer


Julie A. Sosa, MD

A new study by Duke cancer researchers is providing the first-ever guidance for physicians and patients on what constitutes an adequate lymph node dissection, especially in cases of intermediate-risk papillary thyroid cancer (PTC).

Cancer of the thyroid (a gland located at the base of the neck that produces hormones that regulate metabolism) is the fastest increasing cancer in the U.S. in both men and women, though it’s three times as common in women. The incidence has increased nearly 300 percent in 30 years, partly due to improved detection methods.

About half of patients with PTC, the most common kind of thyroid cancer, will have metastatic disease to lymph nodes near the thyroid gland at diagnosis, say researchers.

“It’s a common cancer and it’s becoming more common, and we are still not improving survival,” said one of the study authors Julie A. Sosa, MD, who leads the Endocrine Neoplasia Diseases Group at the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) and Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) “This study has potentially profound implications for who should be doing thyroid cancer surgery, and affects how we counsel patients about risk of recurrence and prognosis and how we decide about the need for adjuvant treatment after surgery.”

The study brought together the collaborative work of researchers from the Duke University departments of surgery, radiation oncology, biostatistics and bioinformatics, medicine, and the DCI and DCRI. The retrospective study was published Monday, Aug. 15, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The surgical management of intermediate-risk disease is controversial. Experts still do not fully agree whether surgery should be restricted to removing the thyroid gland alone or to take out nearby lymph nodes as well. If lymph nodes are removed, how many should be taken out? Do the potential benefits outweigh the risks? When does it provide survival advantage?

Studies show that most intermediate-risk PTC patients have between one and three lymph nodes removed, which might not be enough to determine if there is in fact metastatic disease.

“Decisions are being made on only a couple of nodes, a lot of the time, in the data that we saw,” said the study’s senior author Terry Hyslop, PhD, director of DCI Biostatistics, explaining that a physician shouldn’t assume, with such a small sample, that the patient doesn’t have occult disease.

In the study, researchers looked at the number of negative (disease-free) lymph nodes removed from the neck, and using a formula that included patient demographic, clinical and pathologic factors, anticipated the likelihood that a positive (metastatic) lymph node was left behind. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 17

Pups With A Soft Touch Offer Patients a Dog Gone Good Time


Sheila Evans enjoys the company of Kylie, a black Labrador retriever, while receiving chemotherapy at Duke Cancer Center. Kylie is a Pets At Duke therapy dog.

As Sheila Evans patiently waited in the infusion room for her second day of chemotherapy, she received an unexpected visit from a furry pup that would soon become a special friend.

When Pets At Duke (PAD) therapy dog Kylie, a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, was introduced to the Wilmington, North Carolina, native, a wide smile crossed Evan’s face. As her eyes began to well up, she shared that her tears were somewhat bittersweet.

“Interacting with Kylie really touched my heart,” Evans, 68, said. “Sadly I lost my dog, Sassy, two year ago and for me, losing her was like losing a child. On the bright side, Kylie’s visit brought back so many sweet memories, I’m very glad that I was able to spend time with her.”

To receive treatment Evans, relocated in November to Durham, North Carolina.

“When I first came to Duke my health was in very bad shape,” she said.

Evans said Kylie’s visit was a distraction from her new reality—battling cancer.

“Having the visit from Kylie was the highlight of my day,” Evans said. “I’m used to being around dogs and although she isn’t mine, having Kylie around made me feel at home.”

According to research, interaction between pets and humans can reduce stress and depression. Pets At Duke therapy began in 1994 as an initiative provided by Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aug 10

Get In The Game! Know Your Scores!

As part of its annual Men’s Health Initiative, Duke Cancer Institute will host FREE prostate cancer screenings in Durham on Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18. Men between the ages of 45 and 75, who have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer, are encouraged to take part in a free screening. The prostate cancer screening includes specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE). Free blood pressure exams and diabetes testing and other disease screenings will also be available.

Saturday, Sept. 17, 8 a.m. to Noon
Lincoln Community Health Center
1301 Fayetteville St., Durham

Sunday, Sept. 18, Noon to 4 p.m.
Duke South Clinic 2B/2C
200 Trent Dr., Durham

No appointment necessary. For more information, call 919.684.0409 or visit

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