News

The Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medicine welcomes a new tobacco regulatory scientist, Amy Cohn, Ph.D., to join a growing team of researchers dedicated to reducing the burden of tobacco-related diseases and deaths in Oklahoma. Cohn joins the Stephenson Cancer Center from Battelle Memorial Institute in Arlington, Virginia, where she served as a senior research scientist. She also held a faculty position as an adjunct associate professor in clinical oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She brings a wealth of experience in clinical psychology and tobacco and alcohol use and abuse.

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Surgical oncologist Ajay Jain, M.D., has established his practice with the Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medicine. He also has been named professor and chief of the Section of Surgical Oncology in the Department of Surgery for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Surgical oncologists specialize in surgical procedures to treat various forms of cancer.

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The tragic irony about breast cancer is that patients usually don’t die because of the initial tumor, but when the cancer metastasizes. That reality drives researchers to find a way to keep cancer from spreading. Ralf Janknecht, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Cell Biology at the OU College of Medicine, has been analyzing the behavior of a particular molecule that is over produced in breast cancer. This year, he was awarded a five-year, $1.78 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to further evaluate the molecule’s potential in reducing cancer metastasis. His discoveries thus far suggest that the molecule, called DNPH1, has the capability to serve as a drug target for stopping the spread of cancer.

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For smokers who are trying to quit, what if a smartphone app could predict when they are most likely to relapse and light a cigarette? And what if that app could intervene, sending its users messages that successfully diverted them from smoking?

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Lung cancer is a notoriously difficult type of cancer to treat because, in most cases, it has spread to other parts of the body by the time it is discovered. However, if microscopic lung tumor cells could be detected earlier, treatment might have a better chance of being effective. Rajagopal Ramesh, Ph.D., a researcher at the Stephenson Cancer Center at OU Medicine, recently received a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to further study a gene that shows promise in suppressing tumor cells.

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