FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEUniversity of New Mexico Cancer Center and Arizona Cancer CenterCollaborate for the Treatment and Cure of Cancer at Inaugural EventPhoenix, AZ – May 10, 2007 –The University of New Mexico (UNM) Cancer Center and the Arizona Cancer Center announce the inaugural Arizona - New Mexico Governors’ Cancer Summit. This landmark event, the first in the nation, brings together not only two of the nation’s pre-eminent National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers, but also representatives of Arizona and New Mexico State Government and Departments of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Navajo Nation, and American Indian Tribal Leaders and Healthcare Organizations. The goal of the summit is to identify opportunities to develop collaborative programs to address cancer health disparities in the multi-ethnic populations of the Southwest; develop and promote more effective cancer prevention and screening programs; advance cancer research through collaborative efforts in discovering the causes of cancer and developing more effective means to diagnose and treat cancer through drug discovery and biotechnology.
“This summit brings together top minds in cancer research and prevention, with the outcomes providing a framework for significant advances against cancer,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, Scientific Director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute. The Arizona Cancer Center is Arizona’s premier comprehensive cancer center located on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, with outreach programs statewide. The UNM Cancer Center is the State of New Mexico’s official cancer center based on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, with outreach programs statewide. Both cancer centers are among the nation’s 61 pre-eminent NCI-Designated Cancer Centers and the only cancer centers in their respective states to be ranked as one of “America’s Best Cancer Hospitals” byU.S. News & World Report. Both centers are committed to preventing and curing cancer through excellence in research, cancer diagnosis and treatment, prevention and education. They are also dedicated to assuring that all citizens of the southwestern United States have access to outstanding, world-class cancer care in their home states. “We are honored to host the first Arizona - New Mexico Governors’ Cancer Summit in Tempe,” said Governor Janet Napolitano. “This will be the first time leading physicians, scientists and public health workers from Arizona and New Mexico collaborate to share and discuss their research, treatment and techniques in curing cancer.”
The Arizona - New Mexico Governors’ Cancer Summit will include keynote addresses by Arizona Governor Napolitano and New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish who will attend. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will address the attendees via video. “This is an important opportunity for the UNM Cancer Center and the Arizona Cancer Center to meet and discuss cancer biotechnology and address disparities by working to improve access to medical care,” said New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish. “Our states share many of the same challenges, particularly with regard to addressing disparities in Hispanic and Native American populations. Arizona and New Mexico are the incubators to bring national solutions to these tough issues.” According to Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., Vice President Ben Shelly, and Executive Director of the Navajo Division of Health Anslem Roanhorse, the Navajo Nation supports any programs, initiatives and projects to provide services in cancer research, prevention and treatment to the Navajo Nation. It also encourages all federal, state and private organizations to join the Navajo Nation in supporting this cause. Arizona Cancer Center Director Dr. David S. Alberts and Dr. Cheryl Willman, Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center will lead the summit. The three-day event will include presentations from the cancer centers’ award-winning physicians and research scientists, and panel discussions focused on overcoming the region’s significant cancer health disparities;developing and delivering culturally appropriate cancer education, prevention, and screening programs through regional clinical trials for the multi-ethnic citizens of the Southwest; and very high technology new science including the development of novel isotopes for improved diagnostic imaging and treatment of cancer, and cancer drug discovery. As a result of the summit, the two cancer centers will develop strategic targets and goals to seek and secure joint funding for their efforts. The American Cancer Society supports this regional approach in fully developing its collaborative research and cancer care potential. “As a partner, we are pleased to participate in developing solutions that remove barriers to success – not only in terms of cancer-related research, but also in terms of making the resulting research innovations available to disparate populations in the broad geographic areas served by these institutions,” said Nathan Bush, New Mexico Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society, Great West Division, Inc. The American Cancer Society currently maintains significant research program investments in both of these renowned cancer centers. “Creating an environment and framework for collaboration, rather than competition, between the two leading cancer centers of the Southwest is essential to have the power and resources to overcome the significant cancer health disparities in our states that don’t stop at the New Mexico and Arizona borders,” said Dr. Cheryl Willman, Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center. “The wonderful scientific programs at each of our centers have true synergy, particularly in cancer drug discovery, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, which will not only advance cancer research in our nation but promote economic development in each of our states. I have tremendous respect for Arizona Governor Napolitano and our Governor Richardson and Lt. Governor Denish and am very proud that they worked with us to conceive and support this important cancer collaboration.” “With the Arizona Cancer Center having developed breakthroughs in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention – many of which have become worldwide standards of care, we are honored to work with the UNM Cancer Center as it has developed breakthroughs in cervical cancer, discovery of a novel receptor for estrogen that will have a great impact in women’s cancers, population sciences, and skin cancer among others,” said Dr. David S. Alberts, director of the Arizona Cancer Center. “This opportunity to collaborate with their expertise will help to prevent and cure cancer, especially in the melding of Anglo-Saxon, African-American, Hispanic and Native American cultures in our region.” With financial support from the New Mexico Department of Health, Arizona Department of Health Service – Cancer Control Commission, the American Cancer Society – Great West Division, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the inaugural Arizona - New Mexico Governors’ Cancer Summit takes place Thursday, May 10 through Saturday, May 12, at The Buttes Resort – Marriott, 2000 Westcort Way in Tempe Arizona. Arizona and New Mexico will alternate as hosts for the joint summit each year, and the 2008 meeting has already been scheduled for Santa Fe, New Mexico.# # #
ArizonaCancer CenterFacts and Figures:Established in 1976, the Center has been an NCI designated cancer center for 30 years and is celebrating its 30th anniversary as Arizona’s premier "comprehensive" cancer center. Name established by the Arizona State Legislature to reflect its service to all Arizonans. Named in the top 25 of America's Best Cancer Hospitals byU.S. News & World Report inJuly 2006 (University Medical Center, the Center’s clinical partner in Tucson). Brings in over $65 million per year in research grants and contracts, and ranks in the top 25 NCI cancer centers for peer-reviewed research. Brings in another $25 million a year from other sources to fund additional cancer research and patient care related programs. Has its programs and physicians at facilities in Tucson, Scottsdale, and around the state for research and patient care (e.g., Peter and Paula Fasseas Cancer Clinic in Tucson-UMC; Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center in Scottsdale (Scottsdale Healthcare, Inc.; and in development, AZCC-Banner in Phoenix (Banner Healthcare, Inc.). Close research partnerships with TGen (Translational Genomics, Inc.), ASU (Arizona State University) and NAU (Northern Arizona University). Is an economic engine for the state—its researchers have created more than a dozen biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Attracted more than $200 million in research grants and contracts to the state during the past five years. One of the Center’s spin-off companies, Ventana Medical Systems, was number 35 onFortune’s 2006 Small Business 100 listof the nation’s fastest growing small companies. Home of one of the largest Cancer Prevention and Control Program among the nation’s 40 NCI designated "comprehensive" cancer centers, with leading research in breast, colon, lung, prostate, and skin cancer prevention. Has 274 world-renowned physician and scientist members.
University of New Mexico Cancer Center Facts & Figures:Founded in 1971 by The New Mexico State Legislature as The Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico; Legislative Commendation for Outstanding Performance in 2003 and 2005 Designated in 2005 as one of the nation’s 61 pre-eminent National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers. Named one of “America’s Best Cancer Hospitals” byU.S. News & World Reportin July 2006. Serves as the State of New Mexico’s largest team of world renowned cancer specialists with 62 cancer physicians and 110 research scientists recruited from some of the nation’s leading cancer institutes and medical schools, and over 400 nurses and other staff who provide cancer diagnosis and treatment to over 6,500 patients annually, representing more than 40% of the adults and virtually all of the children diagnosed with cancer each year in New Mexico. Provides the largest and most comprehensive array of multidisciplinary cancer treatment programs in New Mexico, generating over $23 million in revenue to support cancer treatment and clinical programs. Awarded more than $50 million per year in federal and private grant support to provide a variety of cancer research programs with special programs in cancer population health sciences and cancer health disparities, cancer biotechnology, Hematologic malignancies, and Womens’ Cancers. Serves to promote economic development in the State of New Mexico through the development of numerous patents and start up companies focused on cancer diagnosis and drug discovery. Unique among the nation’s NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, serves a significant majority (>52%) minority population (primarily Hispanic and American Indian) who receive cancer diagnosis and treatment and participate in clinical research at the Center. Has a developed a statewide cancer network with outreach and clinical facilities in Albuquerque (The UNM Cancer Center hub), Las Cruces (UNM Cancer Center – Southern New Mexico), Santa Fe, and Farmington New Mexico in collaboration with community health providers and health systems. Has formal research partnerships with New Mexico State University, the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories.Contact Information:James Korenchen, JKPR, (505) 797-6671 or (646) 337-4062, firstname.lastname@example.org Rae Ann Paden, UNM Cancer Center, (505) 272-4810, email@example.com Donna Breckenridge, Arizona Cancer Center, (520) 626-2227 or (520) 661-7431, firstname.lastname@example.org Michael Henningsen, New Mexico Lt. Governor Diane Denish, (505) 476-2252, email@example.com Governor Napolitano’s Communications Office, (602) 542-1342