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McArdle News

2017

Are you a golfer who wants to support breast cancer research? Then here is a perfect way. Enjoy the beautiful day this coming Saturday, September 16th, 2017, by participating in the Breast Cancer Golf Rally at the Foxboro Golf Club in Oregon, WI, 20 minutes from UW, and in the process raise money to support breast cancer research at McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research and the UW Carbone Cancer Center. This fund raising event was started 16 years ago by Sonja Henriksen in honor of her mother-in-law, who died of breast cancer. Starting last year, a portion of the proceeds are donated directly to McArdle. For more information click here! Registration starts at 9 AM. Shotgun start is at 10 AM. The address for the golf club is 1020 County Road MM, Oregon, Wisconsin 53575.

If you plan to participate and are looking for a sponsor, or a golf partner, then email Kristen Adler (adler@oncology.wisc.edu). If you do not golf but would like to contribute to this fund raising event, then please email Kristen Adler at McArdle for help in doing so.

Hope to see you there!

A new study from Dr. Yongna Xing’s group at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) and the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, solved the structure of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) transcriptional complex. AHR responds to diverse chemicals and cellular metabolites that might cause different biological consequences, from toxicity responses, development, to normal functions of immune and cardiovascular systems.  AHR is inactive in cells until it interacts with one of its chemical signals, known as ligands. Then, AHR changes its shape, exposing a part of the receptor that directs it to enter the nucleus – nuclear localization signal (NLS). Once in the nucleus, where all the cell’s DNA resides, AHR partners with another protein, ARNT, and together they increase the expression of genes which correspond to the chemical signal which the AHR receptor protein “received.” In the structure, Xing and colleagues, including oncology professor Dr. Christopher Bradfield, show how AHR and ARNT interact with each other and with target DNA. Because of its higher structural flexibility, AHR is able to adopt more changes in the protein structure upon chemical activation than other transcription factors in the same family. This would allow AHR to adopt different conformations upon binding to different ligands. The structure underlies highly integrative, naturally-evolved protein machinery for versatile responses to many different environmental and chemical cues to create different biological outputs.

Bob Liu moved to be a Senior Scientist at Amunix in Mountain View California. This company is developing long-lasting protein-based therapeutics, currently with a particular interest in bispecific T-cell engager platform technologies.

On Friday, January 20, 2017, teachers and other staff from the Verona Area High School hosted the 11th Annual Night of Hope fundraiser for cancer research to benefit the McArdle Laboratory. The Night of Hope was started in 2006 as a fundraiser for a local family touched by cancer, and grew into an annual event with silent auction and children's raffle. Nancy Cahill reached out to McArdle in 2013 to get students and staff to attend the event and subsequently McArdle participants have hosted several personal tours of UW-Madison cancer laboratories to check out the cutting edge research facilities and observe McArdle researchers in action.

Since 2006, the event has raised more than $44,000 for basic cancer research. This years event brought in more than $5,000 and featured musical performances from Mike Cahill's MUD MUSIC & The Fauxtons. The McArdle Laboratory is very grateful to the Verona Area High School staff and all other contributors for their incredible support!

It is always wonderful to meet individuals in our community who try to make a difference in our fight against cancer. Sonja Henriksen is just such a person. For 16 years she has organized the BC Golf Rally at the Foxboro Golf Club in Oregon, Wisconsin to raise funds for breast cancer research. Sonja visited us recently to present a check to McArdle. She organizes this event in honor of her mother-in-law, who died of breast cancer. This past year she asked Bill Markham, who has golfed in the event for years, to help with organizing the BC Golf Rally. Bill is the husband of long-time administrator in McArdle, Mary Jo Markham. Mary Jo currently oversees grant submissions for all faculty in McArdle. Sonja and Bill met with a number of faculty including Wei Xu, Elaine Alarid and Mike Gould - all of whom do research on breast cancer - as well as Bill Sugden, Mike Hoffmann, and myself, Paul Lambert, Director of McArdle. They all thanked Sonja and Bill for their incredible efforts over the years, which have benefitted the UWCCC and McArdle. We look forward to participating in next year's event!

- Paul Lambert

Welcome to the new McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research website. I hope you enjoy reading about the many new findings from McArdle Researchers that could impact your life and the lives of your loved ones, news about our accomplished alumni, outstanding trainees and the storied history of McArdle, the oldest academic cancer research institute the United States. Learn how you can Make a Difference by supporting McArdle, and how so many of you around the state of Wisconsin already have made a difference through your support of McArdle.  Come join us in the journey to a cure through breakthrough discovery research.

2017 brings great hope for cancer patients. A new form of immunotherapy called "checkpoint" inhibitors, is taking off as a highly effective new tool in the fight against cancer. Some patients are showing remarkable responses to these drugs that break cancer's hold over our own immune system, thereby allowing our immune system to destroy the cancer. These drugs are the direct product of basic research. Indeed, breakthroughs like this arise from pilot studies supported by people like you, your family, and your friends. Here is a McArdle example, but first a surprising fact.

Do you know that 1 in 6 human cancers are caused by viruses? We call them "tumor viruses." But our immune systems are there to protect us against viruses, so how can tumor viruses cause cancer? Because these particular viruses evade our immune system, causing sometimes life-long infections. And from these persistent infections can arise cancers. So now the McArdle solution!

McArdle researcher, Dr. Shannon Kenney, and her research group recently discovered that the new checkpoint inhibitors break a tumor virus' ability to evade the immune system. So now the immune system can destroy the virally-caused cancer. True to her findings made in the laboratory, some patients with cancers caused by the same virus her lab studies are responding fantastically to these new checkpoint inhibitors. Thus, from breakthrough discovery research in McArdle to cures at the bedside. And how was this research made possible? By donations made by Wisconsinites like you. Yes, you REALLY can make a difference.

I hope you enjoy learning about what's happening in McArdle on our new website. Bookmark it, and come back to read new stories posted every month. Link to us on Facebook and Twitter! And, please, join the McArdle family: Make a Difference. Help McArdle find new cures to cancer, through breakthrough discovery research.

If you have any questions about McArdle, our cancer researchers, or if you want to know more about how you can help, please do contact me.

Best wishes to you,

Professor Paul F. Lambert
Director, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research

2016

The McArdle Laboratory mourns the loss of Dr. Roswell “Roz" Boutwell, Professor Emeritus of Oncology. Dr. Boutwell passed away on Friday, August 25th, 2017, at the Attic Angel Community in Middleton, WI. He was 99 years old at his time of passing, and was preceded in death by his wife, Luella Mae (“Lou”), just two years ago in 2015. Roz and Lou were married for 72 years and raised three sons. All three still reside in Wisconsin.

Roz was born in Madison in 1917, and studied Chemistry at Beloit College in Beloit, WI, prior to obtaining both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a founding member of the McArdle Laboratory’s Department of Oncology faculty, and studied how cell metabolism contributes to cancerous tumor growth. A seminal contribution was his discovery of links between caloric intake and cancer, work that has fueled decades of progress in understanding how diet and lifestyle choices affect cancer and may be altered for cancer prevention. Roz also studied links between radiation and cancer, serving as Chief of Research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan, in the 1980s.

In addition to 45 years of teaching and research at UW-Madison, Dr. Boutwell played prominent leadership roles in national organizations including the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, National Research Council, and National Academy of Sciences. He also served as Associate Editor of the journal Cancer Research (1973-81) and was a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration.

Paul Lambert writes, "Roz was an exceptional cancer biologist and mentor who contributed much to our knowledge of how cancer arises. His presence in McArdle through the years was an inspiration to many of us.”

After retiring, Dr. Boutwell invested in time with his family and friends and was particularly proud of his work developing a family farm.

Donations in Dr. Boutwell’s name may be made to the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, WIMR, 1111 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53705. The Roswell K. Boutwell Fellowship Fund has been established in his honor to support the training of future cancer researchers.

Below is a link to his obituary: 

http://host.madison.com/news/local/obituaries/boutwell-roswell-k/article_63ce0a60-fa09-5d67-85ea-d22a65fc8dd9.html

Eric Johannsen, M.D., Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Oncology, was interviewed for an episode of Blue Sky Science, which pairs local students’ questions with UW experts and is a collaboration between the Wisconsin State Journal and the Morgridge Institute for research. Dr. Johannsen, who studies how Epstein-Barr virus causes cancer, was asked whether viruses could be used to treat cancer. The full story can be found here.

Dr. Paul G. Ahlquist, a virologist and faculty member in McArdle for the past 26 years, has received the prestigious Steenbock Professorship in Microbiological Sciences. This professorship, endowed by Evelyn Steenbock, wife of the noted UW Biochemist, Professor Harry Steenbock, provides support to Dr. Ahlquist's laboratory for a period of ten years.

Dr. Lambert, Director of McArdle, described Dr. Ahlquist as "one of our campus' crown jewels. His dedication to his science, his students and the institution are reflected in everything he does. He is a most deserving recipient of this professorship."

Dr. Ahlquist brings international acclaim to the campus as a National Academy of Sciences member and a Howard Hughes Institute of Investigation investigator. His lab has made seminal discoveries on how viruses replicate within cells, creating replication factories hidden away in cellular membranes, thus evading the cells' innate immune defenses.

Director Lambert also remarked, "Dr. Ahlquist is a critical part of the tumor virus research effort here in McArdle and the success of the Carbone Cancer Center." In addition to his ties to McArdle as Professor of Oncology, Dr. Ahlquist is a long time member in the Institute of Molecular Virology, Professor of Plant Pathology, and most recently became one of the four lead scientists in the Morgridge Institute for Research.

Congratulations Dr. Ahlquist.

Read the full story here.

Elaine Alarid, Ph.D., Professor of Oncology, is among 20 professors named to Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorships.

View the Full Article

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