Director's Message

Max S. Wicha, M.D.
Max Wicha, M.D., Director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center

I'm pleased to be able to share with you some of the interesting and exciting ways that the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center continues to make great strides in understanding, diagnosing, preventing and treating cancer.

Breast cancers can be broken down into those that test positive for the protein HER2, which promotes the growth of cancer cells, and those that test negative. But our new research has found that HER2 plays a role even in breast cancers that would traditionally be categorized as HER2-negative -- and that the drug Herceptin, which targets HER2, may have an even greater role for treating breast cancer and preventing its spread. Learn more about this by reading U-M study challenges notion of using Herceptin only for HER2-positive breast cancer.

Our cancer center has been involved in a decade-long mission to better understand the role of RNA in cancer cells. Our cancer researchers and engineers teamed up to figure out a way to capture tiny tumor cells circulating in the blood by getting them to stick to nanometer-deep grooves on glass plates. Read about this in New technique sheds light on RNA.

Our DNA sequencing program -- called MI-ONCOSEQ -- is helping to discover new genetic mutations in tumors that may be targeted with new therapies being tested in clinical trials. You can learn more about this by in Gene sequencing program helps identify cancer mutations.

I'd also like to share with you the story of Matthew Vogel, a young patient with an untreatable rare cancer who gave his entire college fund to the research of sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma that cut short his life, and other rare skull base tumors. "I thought it was about the most generous thing I'd heard in my entire life," recalls Lawrence J. Marentette, M.D., Matt's surgeon and the director of U-M's Cranial Base Program. Read about Matthew: Patient to Philanthropist.

Please remember, none of these advancements would be possible without the support of people like you. On behalf of the entire cancer community at the University of Michigan, thank you for your continued interest in our work and your support of our mission.

Together, we are conquering cancer.

Max S. Wicha, M.D.
Director, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center


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