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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NOV. 28, 2001
Contact: Gwen Fariss Newman gnewman@umm.edu  410-328-8919
University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center
Vanessa Wasta wastava@jhmi.edu   410-955-1287
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND AND HOPKINS JOIN FOR SCIENTIFIC UPDATE ON CIGARETTE RESTITUTION FUND INITIATIVES

Scientists and clinicians from the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center (GCC) and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins (SKCCC) will meet on Thursday, Nov. 29 for a conference entitled Research Matters, the first annual update on initiatives undertaken as a result of grants received from the Cigarette Restitution Fund Program. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hopkins Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building Auditorium, 401 North Broadway. (The media are welcome to attend.)

The conference will highlight research initiatives underway at both institutions resulting from cancer research grants from the state. The goal of these initiatives is to make a significant impact on the state s cancer morbidity and mortality rate and to contribute to advances that will benefit cancer patients everywhere.

More than 10,000 Marylanders die of cancer each year. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the state and, in Baltimore, is the leading cause of death for African-American men over the age of 30.

We have been given a unique opportunity through this special long-term funding to accelerate our progress in fighting cancer, says Sanford Stass, M.D., Director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. Our hope is to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through the translation of research into innovative clinical approaches to benefit all Marylanders.

Through ongoing commitments with our legislators and the citizens of this state, we have an opportunity to build upon our discoveries in ways that will most benefit Maryland and Baltimore communities, adds Martin D. Abeloff, M.D., Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

In addition to opening remarks at 9 a.m. by both Drs. Stass and Abeloff, Dr. Georges Benjamin, secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Del. Samuel Sandy Rosenburg will speak at the scientific conference. At 10:15 a.m., there will be a panel discussion entitled Translational Research: A National Perspective, with an overview of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial and Arizona s unique tobacco funds experience.

A highlight of the conference will be two scientific panels. The first will be held at 11:30 a.m. with scientists from the University of Maryland and Hopkins discussing advances in prostate cancer. The second panel at 2:30 p.m. will focus on initiatives underway in fighting head and neck cancers. At 1:30 p.m., there will be an overview of how the academic medical centers are partnering with public health officials. The event will conclude at 3:45 p.m, with Drs. Stass and Abeloff addressing future opportunities for collaboration.

Maryland was one of 46 states, five territories and the District of Columbia to benefit from the 1999 multi-state lawsuit against the cigarette manufactures.

Maryland is unique in that its two major academic medical centers are working collaboratively on targeted cancers including oral/head and neck, lung, breast, cervical, prostate and colon, which are disproportionately high in Maryland.

Maryland also is unique in that its Cigarette Restitution Fund monies are directed primarily toward cancer and health-related initiatives, unlike many other states, which have used the funds for other priorities such as highway construction projects and to balance budgets.

In the summer of 1999, Gov. Parris Glendening announced a 10-year, $1 billion comprehensive plan to conquer cancer using money from Maryland s settlement of a multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Named the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program, its monies are targeted toward cancer research, prevention and care, smoking prevention and cessation programs, substance abuse programs, tobacco farmers crop conversion and health care for those without adequate insurance coverage.

Last year under the CRFP program, the University of Maryland was allocated $11 million and Hopkins $2.25 million; this year funding was increased to $18 million for the University of Maryland and $5 million for Johns Hopkins.

For more information on the CRFP at the statewide academic centers, visit www.umm.edu, and mdpublichealth.org/cancer/council.

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