U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R 25

EARY APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF THE ADVANCED IMAGING FACILITY

A UAB RESEARCH PAPER on exosomes has been selected as a Best of 2013 by The Journal of Biological Chemistry. The paper, Heparanase Regulates Secretion, Composition, and Function of Tumor Cell-derived Exosomes, was chosen as the best in the Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices category. The Best of papers were selected from the thou- sands published by the JBC last year. 

A team led by Ralph D. Sanderson, Ph.D., UAB Endowed Professor of Cancer Pathobiology in the Department of Pathology and a senior scientist at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, demonstrated that heparanase, an enzyme associated with tumor growth and metastasis, increased the secretion of exosomes. Exosomes are tiny particles released by cells that can interact with other cells and change the behavior of these cells.

In other words, this is a way in which tumor cells talk to each other, Dr. Sanderson says, adding that tumor cells rely on exosomes to communicate with their environment, especially as they become more aggressive in their growth and spread. 

Our studies provide the first evidence that heparanase can regu- late exosomes, thereby promoting tumor-host cross-talk and enhancing aggressive tumor behavior, he says.  Efforts are underway to design and test new heparanase inhibitors that will block heparanase activity, there- by shutting down exosome-mediated communication and tumor growth.

UAB Paper Examining How Tumor Cells Talk to Each Other Hailed a Best of 2013

R E S E A R CH B R I E F S

for cancer patients and caregivers.

Provides summary of resources with contact information and maps.

Option to email selected resources to yourself or others.

Developed in collaboration with the Software Engineering and Prototyping Lab at UAB | seap.cis.uab.edu

Support for the Cancer Resource app comes from the Women s Breast Health Fund of the

of life for women who are breast cancer survivors as well as for their loved ones.

For more information or to add a resource please contact: Deborah Walker at dkwalker@uab.edu

UAB CREATES FREE CANCER APP

A TEAM OF UAB FACULTY and School of Nursing undergraduate oncology students have created a free, downloadable smartphone appli- cation to help health care providers and cancer patients identify more than 500 valuable com- munity resources for people in North Central Alabama battling can er.

The Cancer Resource app enables providers and patients t search for resources by type, target audience and counties serv d, i cluding Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. Information on some national resourc- es also is available.

We engaged the Supportive Care and Survivorship Clinic, located within the Multidisciplinary Breast Health Clinic at The Kirklin Clinic, oncology nurses from the surround- ing areas, and nursing students with an interest in oncology to develop an app that can be used by caregivers or patients to identify areas of distress for breast cancer patients, says Debbie Walker, DNP, assistant professor in UAB s School of Nursing and leader of the project. While the app was originally designed for breast cancer patients, a good number of the resources are not breast cancer-specific. They go across many dif- ferent cancers and can benefit any patient who has cancer and needs to find resources, including support groups, wig shops, prosthetics shops, and learning centers that accept children with or recovering from cancer.

Funding and support for the Cancer Resource app were made available by the Women s Breast Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham as part of an effort to improve the quality of life of breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. There are plans to grow the app to include oth- er counties in Alabama and hopefully extend it beyond the state.

The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center has announced that Janet F. Eary, M.D., has joined the faculty as the new director of the UAB Advanced Imaging Facility. Dr. Eary, a professor in the UAB Division of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics, will also be a senior scientist in the Cancer Center s Experimental Therapeutics program.

Dr. Eary is a molecular imaging specialist, with training in pathology and nuclear medicine. She has special interests in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) translational research in advanced imaging and experimental therapy. Although she has worked primarily with problems in cancer, she has participated extensive- ly in studies in many other disciplines. Currently, she has a focus in imaging with biologically specific PET imaging agents, and she assists other investigators with conduct of studies, supervising imaging and image analysis.