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Changing How Cancer is Detected and Treated

 

It is an exciting time for us at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. It was recently announced that Providence Health & Services, Southern California, and SCL Health System reached a definitive agreement for Providence to assume sponsorship of Saint John’s Health Center and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. We are excited about this new relationship and the opportunities and partnerships it brings.

Even with this change in sponsorship, some things will never change at the Institute, such as our continued commitment to staying at the forefront of cancer research. Our researchers are changing the way cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated around the world. For example, Fredrick Singer, MD, is currently studying the link between vitamin D levels and survival of patients with melanoma. Or one can look at the amazing work being done by Dave S.B. Hoon, PhD, professor and chief of molecular oncology, and distinguished professor of surgery Donald L. Morton, MD, who are utilizing the Institute’s gene sequencer to learn more about the influence genes have on cancer and how to use … Read More »

In Memoriam: Davida Lettiere

 

 

 

 

 

The Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies (ABCs) has long supported efforts to improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast and prostate cancer. Its long partnership with the John Wayne Cancer Institute was fostered by the leadership of Davida Lettiere who passed away in September.

“Davida’s life was never about herself,” says ABCs president Gloria Gebbia. “It was always about others. Volunteering gave her a great sense of satisfaction in helping others.”

Davida was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of three children, but lived much of her adult life in Los Angeles. She was married for 53 years to husband Donald and had two children: David and Debi. She was also the proud grandmother of four.

With a strong desire to serve others, she helped found the ABCs and immersed herself in the details of volunteer work, planning … Read More »

A Family’s Commitment

When my father was diagnosed with cancer, it changed my world as well as each member of our family. Despite the best care possible, cancer took my father’s life when he still had dreams to fulfill and so much to give. But through our family’s tragedy, we resolved to support cancer research in his name.

Together with the Institute’s many supporters, we have found ways to help fight cancer. We take enormous pride in the evolution of the Institute. Our faculty members are on the leading edge of oncology research, evidenced by the scores of scientific papers they author each year. They are pioneers in their respective fields and participate in several of the largest and most authoritative research collaborations in the world.

It’s no surprise then that the Institute attracts top surgical oncology and research fellows. These individuals are the best … Read More »

Enter to Win Tickets to the John Wayne Film Festival

1. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. The Sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”) begins at 12:00 AM (PST) on February 27, 2014 and ends at 11:59pm (PST) on April 10, 2014 (the “Promotion Period”). Enter online at http://woobox.com/c52e7k.

2. SPONSORS.

John Wayne Cancer Foundation 210 62nd Street Newport Beach, CA.

The Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering, you understand that you are providing your information to the Sponsors and not Facebook. Any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Sweepstakes must be directed to the Sponsors, and not to Facebook.

3. ELIGIBILITY. Employees, officers and directors of the Sponsors, its affiliates, subsidiaries, agencies (advertising, promotional, fulfillment and marketing), their immediate families (parent, child, sibling & spouse) and persons living in the same households as such individuals (whether related or not) are not eligible to … Read More »


Our Highlights from 2013

It was a busy year for all of us in 2013! We’re sharing a selection of our greatest achievements in 2013, from life-changing discoveries at the John Wayne Cancer Institute to programs and support recognized globally. None of this would be possible without the generosity of our supporters. Help John Wayne fight cancer in 2014. Visit us online to saddle up.

JANUARY

• It was an exciting year with Into the Wild OC Trail Runs! In 2013, Into the Wild donated $1 per runner to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. Into the Wild will continue to support the Foundation with the same program in 2014.
• Millions of people watched in person and on television as the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Spirit of the West Riders, who have been riding in the Tournament of Roses (Rose Parade) for Team Duke since 1999, horsebacked … Read More »

Gene Sequencing’s Time Has Come

Dave S.B. Hoon, PhD, at John Wayne Cancer Institute uses molecular techniques to decipher cancer’s mysteries.

To understand the progress witnessed in the research labs at the John Wayne Cancer Institute over the past three decades, it’s helpful to look at how people viewed cancer back then.

In the early 1990s, many medical researchers were still searching for a single cure for the disease. Cancer deaths in the United States were at their highest rates ever, and few genes linked to a specific cancer type had been identified. Against this backdrop, Dave S.B. Hoon, PhD, chief of scientific intelligence at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, joined his good friend Donald L. Morton, MD, at the Institute and launched research to explore the fundamental mysteries surrounding cancer, such as why the disease develops in some people and not others and why some treatments … Read More »

Vitamin D: What Role Does it Play in Melanoma?

Research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute has discovered a possible paradox involving Vitamin D, the so-called “sunshine” vitamin, and skin cancer.

Frederick Singer, MD, director of the endocrinology and bone disease program at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, is collaborating with Donald L. Morton, MD, to study an intriguing link between vitamin D levels and survival in patients with melanoma.

Vitamin D has received a lot of scrutiny in recent years. Studies show many Americans are deficient in the nutrient—perhaps because they are being more careful about sun exposure or are using sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Vitamin D is naturally manufactured by the body from sun exposure. That’s why it’s important to get at least some sun exposure or take vitamin D supplements.

While vitamin D is known for its importance in bone health, studies over the past decade suggest the … Read More »

A Dynamic Duo Sparked By Friendship

When Jackie Banchik and Diane Feldman were introduced 40 years ago, they would never have guessed that the meeting would result in an enduring friendship and a partnership that would leave a mark on the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

They were young women living in Los Angeles, pursuing careers, caring for their families and still finding time to do volunteer work. Jackie, born in Chicago and raised in LA, worked as an occupational therapist. Diane was an elementary school teacher in Chicago where she was born and raised, and she became an interior designer after moving to Los Angeles.

They met in the early 1970s at a charity event and became friends. Through the challenges and joys of working and raising children, the two women shared experiences, supported each other and cherished their friendship.

When Diane’s father was diagnosed with cancer, Sandy Cohen, … Read More »

The MAN Behind the Name

John Wayne’s family carries out his greatest wish.

Melinda Wayne Muñoz is certain that her father, John Wayne, would be proud of the cancer breakthroughs accomplished in his name.

“I think he’d be thrilled that he gave his name to such a fine Institute.”

When he was asked to lend his name to a cancer clinic, the actor saw an opportunity to help others. The family of the actor and cancer activist didn’t walk away once the sign was in place, either. Each generation of Waynes is heavily involved with and committed to fighting cancer in their father’s name. Each person contributes however they can, says Melinda, from being part of a board to participating in a 5K run. Melinda, 72, and a resident of Orange County, serves on the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s board of directors.

She’s not worried about the involvement … Read More »

Accelerating Research at the Molecular Level

John Wayne Cancer Institute researchers embrace a new cell-sorting machine.

Translational medicine. That’s the term used for moving knowledge attained in research laboratories to patients’ bedsides as rapidly as possible. The potential to turn pioneering therapies into life-saving treatments is on full display at the John Wayne Cancer Institute Molecular Oncology Laboratory. Researchers are studying cancer at its most basic level: the molecules that cause tumors to behave in specific ways.

The research is augmented by a technology called fluorescenceactivated cell scanning (FACS). A machine separates cells that are phenotypically different from each other. It identifies how many cells have expressed key proteins and how much these proteins have been expressed— details that help unravel the mysteries of cancer. JWCI will soon replace its current 11-year-old cell-sorting machine with a new FACS machine.

The upgrade in technology will help the Institute recruit top … Read More »

Reaching the Crucial Tipping Point in Breast Cancer Research

Maureen Chung, MD, PhD, joined John Wayne Cancer Institute last year as director of the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Breast Cancer Research Program. She was previously an associate professor in the department of surgery at Brown Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island. After 10 months on the job in Santa Monica, she shares her vision of breast cancer research.

John Wayne Cancer Institute:  What brought you to the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s?
Dr. Maureen Chung: “This is a rare opportunity for a surgeon who is also interested in research. One of the strengths of John Wayne is its involvement in translational research—research that is going to be applied to patients. We see a problem in the clinic, we take it back to the lab and try to find a solution. Even though breast cancer is a common problem, … Read More »

Investing In Our Future – Patrick Wayne

“My family has been proud to be a part of the John Wayne Cancer Institute for more than three decades. I continue to be amazed by the talented scientists who work within its walls to demystify the complex disease of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients worldwide.

Throughout the Institute, researchers are pursuing novel ideas that are transforming the way we think about cancer treatment. From studies that identify blood-based biomarkers for the early detection of colon cancer to therapies that enlist a patient’s immune system to fight advanced skin cancer, our dynamic faculty works at the cutting edge of science. Our future is incredibly bright.

The achievements of the faculty at the John Wayne Cancer Institute are even more impressive because they have been accomplished without the scope of resources available at many larger institutions. It’s more difficult than … Read More »


Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program at John Wayne Cancer Institute Receives Prestigious Accreditation

Cancer surgery is an increasingly sophisticated specialty. But few institutions train surgeons in this fine art better than John Wayne Cancer Institute.

In March, the Institute became one of only a handful of programs in the United States—and one of only two in California—to be accredited for complex surgical oncology as designated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The ACGME oversees all training programs that may result in board certification, and only graduates of such programs are eligible to take board examinations.

At JWCI, specialty training was pioneered by educators such as Donald Morton, MD, even before fellowship programs existed. When the Society of Surgical Oncology standardized a system of evaluation for fellowship programs, the program at JWCI was one of the first to be accredited. Specialized training in surgical oncology is a new board certification of the ACGME.

JWCI … Read More »

With New Accreditation, A Legacy Continues

“At the John Wayne Cancer Institute, we have long taken great pride in our programs to teach, train and inspire the next generation of physicians and researchers. That practice has served our community and country well, producing hundreds of talented individuals who are now leaders in oncology with the goal of saving their patients’ lives and preserving their quality of life.

Our commitment to teaching was acknowledged in March by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which granted our fellowship program accreditation for complex surgical oncology. Our program is one of the first in the country to receive this distinction and is only one of 13 programs currently approved in the United States. Graduating fellows will therefore be among the first surgeons ever to become board- certified in surgical oncology.

The recognition by the ACGME is a tribute to the … Read More »