October 17 Meeting Highlights Cigarette Restitution Fund Initiatives
Researchers and clinicians from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins will meet on Thursday, October 17, to discuss their top research initiatives funded by the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program.
"Biomarkers: Research and Reality will be among the featured topics at the second annual Research Matters conference to be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Westminster Hall at the University of Maryland at West Fayette and North Greene streets. The conference, hosted this year by the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, will also include panel discussions on the latest advances in breast and lung cancer research.
The keynote speaker will be Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., the director of the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, who will address the importance of collaboration in translational research using advances in the laboratory to develop beneficial new treatments for patients.
The conference is held each year to highlight research underway at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins funded by the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program (CRFP), which distributes millions of dollars from a legal settlement with cigarette manufacturers for cancer research, treatment, prevention and education throughout the state.
The meeting provides an opportunity for the state is two academic medical centers to identify and promote opportunities for collaboration, to discuss cancer screening and educational outreach initiatives, and to identify new areas of research and public health outreach.
More than 10,000 Marylanders die of cancer each year. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the state and is the leading cause of death in Baltimore for African-American men over the age of 30.
The research funds allocated to University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins are geared to reducing the morbidity and mortality rates from seven targeted cancers breast, cervical, colon, lung, oral and prostate cancers and melanoma. In addition to research grants, both institutions also receive tobacco settlement funds for cancer prevention, education, screening and treatment through the Baltimore City Cancer Program.
Maryland is a national leader in the use of cigarette restitution funds to fight cancer, says Sanford A. Stass, M.D., the director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. The funds have already had a major impact on our ability to accelerate and expand our research and clinical programs for the benefit of the citizens of Maryland.
This conference is an excellent opportunity to present information on certain targeted cancers and to further enhance our work with Johns Hopkins, says Dr. Stass, who is also a professor of pathology and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Martin D. Abelof, M.D., the director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says, Through ongoing partnerships with our legislators and the citizens of this state, we are building upon our discoveries in ways that will have the greatest benefit in our Maryland and Baltimore communities.
The conference will open at 8:00 a.m. with remarks by the two cancer center directors, Dr. Stass and Dr. Abeloff. Dr. von Eshenbach of the National Cancer Institute is scheduled to speak at 9:00 a.m. The discussion on research involving genetic biomarkers will be from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Panels on breast and lung cancer research will meet in the afternoon, with the breast cancer session at 1:15 p.m and the lung cancer session at 3:00 p.m.
Maryland was one of 46 states, five territories and the District of Columbia to benefit from the 1999 multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the Maryland General Assembly established the Cigarette Restitution Fund Program to use the settlement funds for a 10-year, $1 billion comprehensive plan to conquer cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.
Initially, the University of Maryland received $11.2 million and Johns Hopkins $3.75 million under the program. Last year, the funding was increased to $17.4 million for the University of Maryland and $4.4 million for Johns Hopkins. This includes money for cancer research -- $9.5 million at the University of Maryland and $3 million at Johns Hopkins.
Maryland is unique in that its Cigarette Restitution Fund monies are directed primarily toward cancer and health-related activities. In other states, the funds have been used for a variety of programs, including highway construction projects and to balance budgets.
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