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McArdle News


Bob Liu Now Senior Scientist at Amunix

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.

2017 Night of Hope

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!

BC Golf Rally

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

Letter From the Director - January 2017

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


Remembering Melvin Laird

Former Congressman Melvin R. Laird passed away November 16, 2016 at the age of 94. He represented Wisconsin’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1953 to 1969, where he was a champion for NIH-supported science and recognized for appropriations leading to the establishment of the first national cancer centers at research institutions, including the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Read the statement by by Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health.

Eric Johannsen featured in Blue Sky Science

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.

Paul Ahlquist named Steenbock Professor of Microbiological Sciences

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 receives Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship

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

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Wei Xu receives Romnes Fellowship

Wei Xu, Ph.D., Professor of Oncology, is among 12 professors to receive a Romnes Faculty Fellowship.

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'Viral" Video Show HIV RNAs Bursting from Host

Nathan Sherer, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Molecular Virology and Oncology, and researchers Ginger Pocock and Jordan Becker in collaboration with Paul Ahlquist, Ph.D., Paul J. Kaesberg Professor of Molecular Virology, Oncology and Plant Pathology have leveraged some helpful technology to make HIV and its components fluoresce, revealing what their new study calls "striking, unexpected features" of retroviral activity that could lead to antiviral strategies for HIV and beyond.

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