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Director's Message, Summer 2013

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

Summer, 2013

Welcome to the summer edition of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center's electronic newsletter. I'm pleased to be able to share with you some of the interesting and exciting ways that the UMCCC and our partners across campus continue to make great strides in understanding, diagnosing, preventing and treating cancer.

In this issue, we look at a new U-M study that found one in four women who should be taking hormone-blocking therapies as part of their breast cancer treatment either don't start or don't complete their five-year course. The drugs have been shown to reduce cancer recurrence and increase survival. The study drives home the point that we need to develop creative ways to both reassure and motivate these patients.

You'll also read about new clinical offerings at the U-M to prevent and heal the damage that cancer treatment can have on our patients' hearts - the first such program in the state. You'll find a story about a new clinical trial to find out whether targeting treatments to a genetic anomaly can lead to better treatments for prostate cancer. And one about the need for better evidence around decision-making aids designed to help guide doctors and patients in making informed choices about cancer screening. We also explore how, for the first time, scientists at the U-M have decoded the molecular chatter that ramps certain cancer cells into overdrive and can cause tumors to metastasize throughout the body.

Perhaps most importantly, I invite you to join me in celebrating the Cancer Canter's 25th anniversary. We present an interview that provided me with an opportunity to reflect back on how far we've come - from an idea on the back of a napkin to one of the top Cancer Centers in the country - and delve into what the future may hold for cancer treatment and research, and some of our challenges in getting there.

Please remember, none of the advancements you'll read about in this issue would be possible without the support of people like you. On behalf of the entire cancer community at U-M, 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

P. S. We'd like your feedback on this newsletter. Please send questions or comments to

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