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August 2012 Archives

David Potter, M.D., Ph.D., is exploring whether a drug used to treat diabetes can also help prevent breast tumors from forming. (Photo: Scott Streble)

It has been more than a decade since evidence first emerged linking diabetes to cancer, and what doctors have learned so far is grim: Diabetics are twice as likely to get cancer of the liver, uterus, and pancreas, and they are 20 to 50 percent more likely to develop colon and breast cancer. Women who have breast cancer are almost 50 percent more likely to die if they also have diabetes.

"There's definitely a proven connection between diabetes and cancer," says David Potter, M.D., Ph.D., a breast cancer physician and member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. "But even though we've learned a lot, there's much more work to be done to get us to workable solutions to reduce cancer risk for diabetic patients."

Cancer epidemiologist Julie Ross, Ph.D., finds energy in collaborating with others. (Photo courtesy of Children's Cancer Research Fund)

By the time she became a graduate student in epidemiology, Julie Ross, Ph.D., already knew she loved the lab. But a chance visit to an infant's hospital room helped put her on her life's path: researching the genetic and environmental causes of cancer, primarily pediatric cancers.

Team Judy, standing (left to right): Tammy Magney, Judy Erdahl, Peggy Stefan, Marcia Mayo, Becky Thompson, Joan Glennon, and Kate Bryant; kneeling: Cathy Maes, Karen Morgan, and Sue Kephart. (Photo: Marlee Mayo)

Armed with nothing more than Dixie cups, a few cases of wine, and a battalion of Internet-savvy college kids, a group of Minnetonka-area women have stepped up to take their places in the fight against breast cancer.

"If you're in my age group," says spokesperson Kate Bryant, "you've probably lost friends to breast cancer. We're mad, sad, and frustrated. We don't want any more of our wonderful friends and sisters to die from this disease."

Fekadu Kassie, D.V.M., Ph.D., hopes to find ways to prevent lung cancer.

The frustration in his voice is obvious when Fekadu Kassie, D.V.M., Ph.D., explains the problem: "Lung cancer is the most fatal of all malignancies, mainly because it's usually detected after the tumor has spread to other body parts. There are no dependable markers that can be used to detect the disease at early stages."

Kassie's goal? Develop biomarkers for lung cancer and identify effective tools for preventing it.

Image courtesy of YouTube.

University of Minnesota orthopaedic surgeon Edward Cheng, M.D., couldn't help but be moved by some of his young patients who survived bone cancer but faced amputation as part of their treatment.

So he asked a couple of them to tell their stories for a video meant to provide hope and support for other kids going through amputations.

Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H. (right), leads an effort to bring a mobile clinic into barbershops and beauty salons. (Photo: Emily Jensen)

Considering that barbershops enjoy a colorful chapter in the history of medicine—barbers routinely performed surgical procedures until the late 1700s—it's fitting that a new project designed to address health disparities in the African American community has gone back into the barbershop.

Clipper Clinics, a preventive health care program run by the Masonic Cancer Center's Kola Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., is designed to get to the heart of the problem.

Children's Cancer Research Fund's 31st annual Dawn of a Dream event on November 5 raised more than $970,000 for pediatric cancer research at the University of Minnesota. Sue Hodder posthumously was awarded the organization's highest honor, its Dream Maker

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events benefiting cancer education, research, and care: Varsity Team Rally, A Half-Day of Healing on Purpose, and Dawn of a Dream.

Jim Smith. (Submitted photo)

Regular attendees of the St. Francis, Minn., Pioneer Days—complete with amusement park rides, a kids’ tractor pull, and fireworks—came to know the voice of Jim Smith, a parade emcee for many years. In fact, Smith was well known for his community involvement, which extended far beyond his vocal talents.

Jacqueline Dunlap (Photo: Emily Pillsbury)

Don’t miss Neurofibromatosis (NF) Awareness Night at Target Field on September 13, 7:30 p.m., where the Minnesota Twins will take on Kansas City. Four-year-old Jacqueline Dunlap, an NF patient at the University of Minnesota, will throw out the first pitch of the game.

Cathleen and Daniel Aldrich. (Submitted photo)

Daniel F. Aldrich, a Wyoming-based expert in plant-insect interactions, had a successful career in agriculture. But it was a stint in the Peace Corps in the mid-1970s—not science—that changed his outlook on life.


Thanks to Minnesota Twins players Justin Morneau, Scott Diamond, Drew Butera, Brian Dozier, Darin Mastroianni, Cole De Vries, and T.C. Bear for visiting kids at Amplatz Children's Hospital.

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