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Inroads E-Newsletter

July 2019

Flemington Team Awarded $2.3 Million For Virus-Related Malignancies Research

Members of the Flemington Lab team include (from left) Juliet Strauss; Nathan Ungerleider, Ph.D.; Xia Wang; Yi Yu; Claire Roberts; Monica Concha, Ph.D.; Melody Baddoo and Erik Flemington, Ph.D.

For decades the central tenet of molecular biology has been that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) transfers genetic information to RNA (ribonucleic acid) which provides the instructions for the production of proteins. Over time, though, scientists have learned that the cell utilizes a vast array of “non-coding RNAs” that are not involved in protein synthesis but instead carry out biochemical reactions and play direct and complex regulatory roles in cells.

Erik Flemington, PhD, professor of pathology and Zimmerman Professor of Cancer Research, and his team study non-coding RNAs that are a bit peculiar. "For a long time, RNAs were thought to exist in a simple linear configuration," said Flemington. "The non-coding RNAs that our group studies are actually circular in nature. The first circular RNA was identified more than 30 years ago, but for years occasional circular RNA findings were thought to represent splicing mistakes and were largely ignored. However, a few years ago, cells were found to generate thousands of unique circular RNAs and since this time the field is learning that they play important roles in regulating cell signaling pathways and in cancer progression."

Last year, Flemington’s team reported the first findings of circular RNAs encoded by herpesviruses, and they were recently awarded two National Cancer Institute grants - a five-year, $1.8 million R01 grant and a two-year, $460K R21 - to investigate how these viral circular RNAs contribute to Epstein-Barr herpesvirus (EBV)-associated cancers.

"In most cases, if a virus makes a protein, it is processed and presented on the cell surface, where the immune system can recognize it as foreign and kill the virus-infected cell," said Flemington. "In EBV-associated cancers, the virus expresses primarily non-coding RNAs, including circular RNAs, that do not produce a protein. Through these non-coding RNAs, the virus contributes to the oncogenic process without eliciting recognition by the immune system."

Flemington says that viral non-coding circular RNAs may serve as tumor-specific therapeutic targets for attacking EBV-associated cancers as their roles in promoting cancer are better understood.


Our Summer Drive is ON!


  • Proceeds benefit Dr. Oliver Sartor's Prostate Cancer Research Program.
  • One lucky winner will receive the grand prize - a GMC Canyon Pickup.
  • Raffle tickets are $100 each and a maximum of 500 will be sold.
  • Tickets can be purchase via credit card only at
  • The winner will be selected in a random drawing on November 16 and need not be present to win.
  • Good luck and thanks for your support!

Bryan Subaru / LLS Distribute Blankets, Art Kits & Messages of Hope to Cancer Patients

Participating in the Subaru Loves to Care blanket and art kit distribution were (from left): Kerri Diaz of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society - Louisiana Mississippi Chapter; Orren Lewis, sales associate with Bryan Subaru in Metairie; Tulane Bone Marrow Transplant physician Dr. Francisco Socola; Melissa Barrois, LMSW, Tulane Cancer Center social worker; Joy Frantz, RN; and Andy Daigle, finance/business manager for Bryan Subaru in Metairie.

Representatives from Bryan Subaru in Metairie and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) visited Tulane Comprehensive Cancer Clinic recently to help spread hope, love and warmth to cancer patients through the Subaru Loves to Care initiative.

Since 2015, Subaru has partnered with LLS to donate over 105,000 blankets, 12,000 arts & crafts kits and messages of hope written by Subaru customers to those fighting cancer in hospitals and cancer treatment centers across the country. The kits are given to young cancer patients or to the children of patients who accompany their parents to treatment.

"Once again, Subaru and LLS brought the Subaru Loves to Care initiative to life with messages of hope to patients undergoing cancer treatment here," said Melissa Barrois, LMSW, social worker for Tulane Comprehensive Cancer Clinic. "This year, 80 blankets and 30 art kits were distributed to patients in the Tulane Cancer Clinic and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. LLS chapters and Subaru retailers continue their mission to assist those fighting cancer, one gesture at a time."

Previous Issues...

May 2019
Win a Truck & Help Cure Prostate Cancer
Researcher's Publication Honored as "Top 100" by Scientific Reports
New Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic Enhances Care / Convenience
In the Pink: 4th Annual Pink Bra Run Raises Spirits/Funds for Breast Cancer Research
Cancer Crusaders Raise $171K for Tulane/LSU Cancer Research Programs

April 2019
Researcher Awarded $1.8 Million NCI Grant to Study New Targets for Rare Pediatric Cancer
Meet Us at the Levee: Pink Bra Run to Benefit Breast Cancer Research!
2019 One Man Shoot Continues the Mission - Making a Difference in Fighting Prostate Cancer

March 2019
Exploring "Dark Matter of Genomes" Could Shed Light on Cancer Risk
Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation Grant Supports Training of Aspiring Female Scientists
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Q & A - "Screening Saves Lives"

February 2019
Improving Access to Care Top Priority for New Genitourinary Cancers Expert
Study Finds Genetic Risks Associated With Prostate Cancer are Underestimated
Greenberg Family Endowment Boosts Fight Against Prostate Cancer
8th Annual One Man Shoot: Proving "One Man Can Make a Difference"
Gunning for a Cure Sets New Record, Raising $220K for Prostate Cancer Research
Tulane Medical Students Raise Money for Pediatric Cancer Research

January 2019
New Gynecologic Oncologist Aims to Reduce Cervical Cancer Rates in NOLA
Tulane Study Finds Potential Role for Personality Psychology in Cancer Care
Sixth Annual Gunning for a Cure Benefits Prostate Cancer Research
Student Athletes Provide Much-Needed Financial Assistance to Cancer Patients

December 2018
Improving Early Prostate Cancer Detection: Latest Technology Combines Imaging/Biopsy Tools to Improve Accuracy of Diagnosis
Advanced Cancer Patients Can Live Longer with Palliative Care, Tulane Study Says
Serve and Assist: Student Athletes Raise Funds for Patient Relief

November 2018
Prostate Cancer Patients Target of New $1.6M Tulane Study
Tulane Opens Novocure Trial for Patients with Stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
The Great American Smokeout ® - Quitting Starts Here!
8th Annual Blue Ribbon Soiree Sets Record, Raising $130K for Prostate Cancer Research
Krewe de Pink Celebrates New Orleans-Style, Donating $35K to Breast Cancer Research!

October 2018
Researcher Examines Role of DNA-Damaging Elements in Aging/Age-Related Diseases
Lynch Syndrome Can Lead to Cancer — Why Physicians Don't Test For It
Fifth NOLA Bluedoo a Record-Setting Success - Raises $193K for Prostate Cancer Research

August 2018
Tulane Cancer Center to Host Free Prostate Cancer Seminar
Fifth Annual NOLA Bluedoo Celebrates Prostate Cancer Survivorship New Orleans-Style
Tulane Doctor Elected to Elite Surgery College

July 2018
Tulane Welcomes Kendra Harris, MD, MSc - New Interim Chair of Radiation Oncology
Nakhle Saba Receives Ladies Leukemia League Grant to Study New Target for ALL
Bryan Subaru & LLS Bring Comfort to Patients Through Subaru Loves to Care Initiative

June 2018
Repurposed Drug Approach May Halt Spread of Cancer Cells
Tulane Head and Neck Experts Lead Call for HPV Vaccines
American Cancer Society Updates Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

May 2018
Tulane Cancer Center Now Offering Imaging Tool to Detect Recurring Prostate Cancer
Grant Supports Smoking Cessation Education for Outpatient Mental Health Facilities
It's All About the Pink - Third Annual Pink Bra Run Supports Breast Cancer Research
Cancer Crusaders Donate $169,000 to Tulane/LSU Cancer Research Programs

April 2018
Grant Supports Smoking Cessation Program for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients
Med Student Takes Top Honors at Recent Meeting
State Rep. Julie Stokes to Lead 3rd Annual Pink Bra 5K Fun Run
7th Annual One Man Shoot Raises $130,000 for Prostate Cancer Research
Grant Supports Smoking Cessation Program For Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients

March 2018
Researcher Explores Unique Genetic Mutation Associated with Liver Cancer
Healing Hands Across the Divide: Evolving to Address Cancer Disparities
Gunning for a Cure Raises $192K for Prostate Cancer Research

February 2018
Tulane Oncologist Outlines Prostate Cancer Treatment Advances in New England Journal of Medicine
Pink Games raise money — and hope — for patients fighting cancer

May 25, 2017
Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy Works Better for African-American Men
Cancer Crusaders Present Check for $210K
Free Skin Cancer Screenings Offered at Downtown Dermatology Clinic
National Cancer Survivor's Day
Celebration Planned
Second Annual Pink Bra Run -
Great Fun for a Great Cause

April 25, 2017
"Scarless Thyroid Surgery" on Agenda at Thyroid/Parathyroid & Skin Malignancies Symposia
Free Skin Cancer Screenings Offered at Covington Clinic
Second Annual Pink Bra Run Scheduled for Mother's Day Weekend

April 11, 2017
Tulane Researcher Shows Education Can Ease Fear in Cancer Patients
Thanks A Million!

March 10, 2017
Komen Grant Supports Study of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ
One Man Can Make a Difference: 6th Annual One Man Shoot Takes Aim at Prostate Cancer
2017 Gunning for a Cure Fundraiser Exceeds $500,000 Goal!

February 16, 2017
Leading Study Backs Hormone Therapy With Radiation for Recurrent Prostate Cancer
Victory Bell: Donation Helps Cancer Patients Celebrate Survivorship

February 3, 2017
Genetic Counselors Help Patients Better Understand Inherited Cancer Risk
Perez Family Targets Prostate Cancer Through Sporting Clays Event

January 26, 2017
Tulane Researchers Find Tumor-Suppressing Protein Actually Promotes Cancer
Tickled Pink: Local Student Athletes Assist Breast Cancer Patients