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A Message From Our Director

Welcome to the winter 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 continues to make great strides in understanding, diagnosing, preventing and treating cancer.

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

After eight years of laboratory work, a team of U-M scientists has recently shown that a new class of drugs may dramatically reduce the risk of patients contracting graft-vs.-host disease, a serious and often deadly side effect of lifesaving bone marrow transplant treatments.

In this issue you'll also read about how some women undergoing chemotherapy who experience cognitive problems, commonly referred to as "chemobrain," displayed potential issues prior to undergoing treatment. You'll find a story about a new drug that has demonstrated dramatic and rapid effects on prostate cancer that had spread to the bone. And one about how U-M researchers found that overuse of diagnostic imaging is prevalent for early-stage breast cancer patients. You can also read about how a study by U-M and Harvard scientists sheds new light on an anti-aging gene acts that as a tumor suppressor.

Additionally, you'll discover the story of Aracelli and Miguel Martinez and learn how, when cancer struck their family during a time of economic difficulties, donor-supported programs were able to throw them a lifeline. "We were almost on the street," Arancelli recalls in the story. "I wasn't able to spend one dollar on my medication." But thanks to the generosity of our supporters, U-M was able to help her get the treatment she needed.

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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