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Moffitt Cancer Center

Caribbean American Civic Movement

Groups in the Tampa Bay area are mounting humanitarian missions to Puerto Rico and holding fundraisers for victims following Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Promising new treatments are providing hope that a cure for some forms of cancer may be within reach.

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center are using one form of immunotherapy and awaiting FDA approval for another. 

The Moffitt Cancer Center is planning a 10-year, $800 million expansion driven by a promising new cancer treatment called “immunotherapy,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

A former researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center had 19 studies retracted from a medical journal after it was found the same data were used to represent different experiments.

  Mindfulness meditation is designed to settle and ground you in the present moment.

That's something that Carole Kinder had a difficult time with after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

Moffitt Cancer Center

President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address called for renewed vigor in the fight against cancer. Drawing parallels to John F. Kennedy’s goal to place a man on the moon, Obama charged Vice President Joe Biden to lead a national “moonshot” initiative to eliminate the disease responsible for the deaths of almost 600,000 U.S. citizens’ a year.

This year, the National Institutes of Health received $2 billion more for medical research than in previous years, bringing its national funding to $32 billion.

But that's not enough, researchers say. 

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

To borrow from the old adage about getting to Carnegie Hall, it takes a lot of practice to be a great classical musician.

But to become a great conductor, there’s not too much a would-be maestro can do, according to University of South Florida masters student Brent Douglas.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Saturday's gala concert in St. Petersburg featuring Michael Feinstein wraps up a busy week for The Florida Orchestra, which is spending a few days on the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida.

Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt Cancer Center is pairing with the state to see if making fruits and vegetables available to children in areas with limited access to them can decrease their risk of cancer.

Pint of Science

Pour me another one, bartender...or is it pour me another one, doctor?

For the next three nights, scientists will take over bars in nine countries and 50 cities, including a trio of sold-out Tampa area locations, to discuss their work with the public over drinks.

"Pint of Science" was created four years ago in the United Kingdom, and brought over to the U.S. last year by USF Health Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology Research Associate Parmvir Bahia and her husband, Moffitt Cancer Center researcher David Basanta.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Clinical trials help medical professionals find out how effective new treatments are – but as Dr. Kevin Sneed, the dean of the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy points out, they’re not a “one size fits all” proposition.

"Very often, when we think about how are we going to effectively treat somebody, whether it be cancer, cardiovascular disease, or anything neurodegenerative in nature, when we do the clinical research to gather the evidence, if you don’t have enough people from enough varied backgrounds; we can’t automatically transfer knowledge gained in one part of the population onto another part of the population," Sneed said.

But minority populations – specifically the African American and Hispanic and Latino communities – don’t take part in clinical trials at a level that would give researchers the data they need.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

On April 5, WUSF-TV will air the first part of the new Ken Burns’ documentary “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.”  

Moffitt Cancer Center

When the NCAA Women's Final Four comes to town, cancer researchers benefit. 

Since 2009, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has awarded a women's cancer research grant to a research institution in the city hosting the NCAA Women's Final Four

Monday, Moffitt Cancer Center Professor of Oncology and Medicine Dr. Martine Extermann received the $250,000 grant.

Javier Villa has worked at his family's used car dealership in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ever since he finished high school.

Villa, 35, always assumed the insurance plan he had through work would take care of him and his family. But a couple years ago, he ran into a problem.

He was taking a shower one morning when he noticed a lump on the side of his throat. "Very big, like maybe a tennis ball," he says.

Tampa Innovation Alliance

The 15,000 acre area surrounding the University of South Florida's Tampa campus has been called "the University Area", "University West," and, derisively, "Suitcase City," due to the number of transients.

But no matter what you call the region, which is bounded by Interstate 275 to the west, I-75 to the East, Busch Boulevard to the south and Bearss Avenue to the north, it's home to thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a few dozen of Tampa’s most recognizable organizations and sites.

To the members of the Tampa Innovation Alliance, however, it's is an untapped gold mine of potential.

"The purpose (of the Alliance) is to make this location recognized around the world as the destination for innovation, creative activity, business enterprise," said Alliance Executive Director Mark Sharpe. "It’s to make this place a place you want to live, work and play."

Moffitt Cancer Center

It's in the very early stages, but officials with the Moffitt Cancer Center are looking at expanding or rebuilding their main hospital.

According to Moffitt Chief Operating Officer Jack Kolosky, nothing has been decided yet, but they know they need to do something to address hospital overcrowding.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. It can also cause cancer.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

UPDATED 7/8 with University Beat audio report and additional quotes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over half of American girls ages 13 to 17 have received at least one dose of the vaccination to protect against the human papillomavirus (HPV) - and it's a rate that decreases over the needed second and third doses.

But here in Florida, the number of fully protected young women - those who have received all three doses - is only 25 percent, the lowest in the country.

Moffitt Adds OSU to Cancer Database

May 29, 2014

Moffitt Cancer Center, which began assembling a database of cancer patient tissue and clinical information a decade ago, is going national.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center on Wednesday was named the first partner in the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, or ORIEN.

Moffitt’s for-profit subsidiary, M2Gen, will oversee the database’s operations. It already contains information on more than 105,000 patients.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

It may be an understatement, but biomedical research is a big business.

The National Institutes of Health has an annual budget of around $30 billion, and since it provides most of the federal funding for research at universities and laboratories, it supports over 400,000 jobs across the country.

Pint of Science

Scientists will be putting down the PowerPoint presentation and picking up a cold one at bars around the world next week, including at a quartet of Bay area pubs. 

It's part of the Pint of Science Festival, which launched in the United Kingdom in 2012, and has grown to 21 cities in 6 countries this year.

The Festival encourages scientists to talk about their work in "plain English." 

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Saturday was a record-setting day for Miles for Moffitt, both in terms of participants and in money raised for cancer research.

Around 7,500 people took part in the event, raising more than $594,000 for research at the Moffitt Cancer Center. Since starting in 2006, Miles for Moffitt has raised more than $2 million.

Moffitt Cancer Center

(Story has been updated with Miriam Zimm's status for Miles for Moffitt in the third paragraph)

When Miles for Moffitt steps off on Saturday, May 10, Miriam Zimms will once again be there.

A bout with breast cancer four years ago didn’t stop her. Neither will last year’s bone cancer scare that saw surgeons remove a large section of her pelvis and replace it with a bone from a cadaver.

"I know that it will be an incredibly different type of walk for me this year because of the fact that I don’t have full mobility and I cannot fully walk on both my legs, so it will be a very different experience," said Zimms, who's undergone six months of physical therapy. She plans to walk about 300 feet or so at the event using either crutches or a walker, and her husband will push her the rest of the one mile in her wheelchair.

She's taking part, not just for herself but also for her loved ones. Her team of walkers and runners, the Guatemalan Globes, is named for her birth country and for the four other women in her family who’ve also battled breast cancer, including her mother, who died from the disease in 1992.

An estimated seven thousand participants are expected to join Miriam in taking part in Miles for Moffitt, a series of races and walks that raises money for research at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. 

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but Josalyn Kaldenberg has a bionic arm.

Even if you looked hard at her right arm, you'd only see a small scar, a barely noticeable, faint line that starts around her elbow and then runs up her arm. It looks like it could be the result of an injury any 11-year-old like Josalyn would have - maybe she fell off a swing or got injured rough-housing with her four younger siblings back home in Woodward, Iowa.

But that scar is actually historic. You see, under that scar, Josalyn Kaldenberg has an expandable, prosthetic upper arm bone - the first of its kind in a child in the United States.

It's open enrollment season for Medicare, the time when beneficiaries can switch plans if they want. Plenty of private insurance companies are competing to enroll them in Medicare Advantage plans.

If you have Medicare, or you're getting close to age 65, your mailbox is likely overflowing with offers. The ads are coming at you on TV, too. 

UnitedHealthcare, which sells AARP Medicare products including HMO-style Medicare Advantage plans, took out a full-page newspaper ad that blamed the decision to shrink provider networks in 2014 on reductions in federal funding. But as the Tampa Bay Times reports, payments from the federal government to Medicare Advantage plans will actually increase 3.3 percent next year. (Paywall after 15th click) 

For the second time this week, a major figure at the University of South Florida announced his intent to retire in 2015.

Athletic Director Doug Woolard said on Thursday that he'll retire when his contract ends in June of next year. USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Arthur Guilford announced on Tuesday that he'll step down in January 2015.

But while the official statement from USF was filled with glowing words for Woolard, ESPN's Brett McMurphy cited unnamed sources in saying Woolard was actually being replaced because of "wide-ranging dissatisfaction" with the USF football and men's basketball programs.

However, others disagreed, saying Woolard wasn't forced out.

Earlier this week, an outreach worker from Moffitt Cancer Center was invited to speak at the White House.

Moffitt Cancer Center

For some cancers, chemotherapy and radiation may be the best - or only - treatments available. Yet there are times when the side effects of the treatment are almost as bad as the disease they are intended to cure.

"Most people are familiar with hair loss, fatigue, nausea," said Dr. Paul Jacobsen, Associate Center Director for the Division of Population Science at Moffitt Cancer Center. "But there is growing evidence that among a certain sub-sample of people who get chemotherapy, they experience some cognitive problems in the months or years after chemotherapy administration: problems in memory, attention, concentration."

These problems, also known as "chemo brain," are the focus of "The Thinking and Living with Cancer" study, a National Cancer Institute-supported research effort at Moffitt that needs volunteers.

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