ASTRO public awareness campaign wins award

October 05, 2017

The Communicator Awards is an international awards competition that recognizes outstanding work in the communications field. The more than 5,000 entries were judged by communications industry professionals and roughly 19 percent of the entrants received an award.

???Nothing makes me happier than seeing both ASTRO volunteers and staff recognized for the tireless work they do for the Society,??? said Laura I. Thevenot, ASTRO Chief Executive Officer. ???The effort that goes into producing one issue of ASTROnews or a brochure on radiation therapy for cancer cannot be underestimated and it??s an honor for these publications to be acknowledged.???

Beginning in early 2004, ASTRO launched a public awareness campaign on radiation oncology that included creating brochures with accurate, up-to-date information on how radiation therapy works to treat various cancers. To date, nine brochures have been produced, including pamphlets on prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, colorectal cancer, brain tumors and gynecologic cancers. Two other brochures educate patients on the dedicated members of the radiation oncology treatment team and on how generally radiation therapy works to treat cancer.

ASTROnews is the quarterly publication of ASTRO that keeps members in touch with Society news and regulatory changes affecting radiation oncology community. Published once a year, the Annual Meeting Guide outlines everything an attendee to the Annual Meeting would need to know. From a schedule of events to maps of the downtown area to exhibitor information to hotel contacts, the guide provides a comprehensive look at not only the meeting itself, but also the host city.


In testing their hypothesis, Whang and his co-authors inhibited HER-2 activity in two laboratory experiments involving human cancer cells. In the first, they used an artificial antibody to HER-2 delivered directly into the cells via a modified virus. In the second, they used an experimental drug that specifically inhibits HER-2 tyrosine kinase activity. The oral drug lapatinib (GlaxoSmithKline) is currently in an advanced clinical trial involving patients whose breast cancer is driven by HER-2.

In both experiments, tyrosine kinase activity and androgen receptor function were largely derailed.

"We discovered that inhibition of HER-2 strongly inhibits proliferation of prostate cancer cells and the function of androgen receptor," Whang said.

To properly carry out its function, the androgen receptor protein binds specifically to the regulatory DNA sequence of the genes regulated by androgens such as testosterone, he said. "And we have shown that inhibition of HER-2 impairs the androgen receptor function at this step of binding to the DNA sequence of critical genes such as prostate specific antigen."

The implication of this work, he added, is that HER-2 is important and necessary for prostate cancer viability and progression.

"This provides the rationale for initiating a clinical trial of this novel drug inhibiting HER-2, which is being planned for patients within several months," Whang said. "I envision this drug becoming one of several that could be used in combination with other specifically targeted drugs to prolong the lives of prostate cancer patients."

UNC co-authors with Whang include postdoctoral researchers Drs. Yuanbo Liu and Samarpan Majumder; Wesley McCall, research technician; Dr. Carolyn Sartor, assistant professor of radiation oncology; Dr. James Mohler, professor of surgery; and Dr. Shelton Earp, director, UNC Lineberger. Dr. Christopher Gregory, former UNC assistant professor of pathology and another co-author, is now with Voyager Pharmaceutical Corp. in Raleigh.