VCU’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products receives nearly $20M grant to predict outcomes of tobacco product regulations

A manvapes while hooked up to various body monitoring devices and a researcher takes notes.

The $19.78 million grant will be used to launch a five-year project focused on predicting the outcomes of government regulations of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

The Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University has received a $19.78 million grant through a partnership between the National Institutes of Health and the  FDA Center for Tobacco Products to launch a five-year project focused on predicting the outcomes of government regulations of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

The center, which is part of the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, is one of nine Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science across the country that provide research to the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to ensure U.S. tobacco regulatory actions and activities are based on sound and relevant scientific evidence.

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New Zealand officials tap VCU professor’s expertise to learn about potential vaping hazards

Michelle Peace, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Forensic Science (left), with Robyn Somerville, Ph.D., a senior forensic scientist in New Zealand’s Institute of Environmental Science and Research.

A Virginia Commonwealth University professor who studies illicit drug use and e-cigarettes traveled throughout New Zealand this summer as part of a fellowship to inform law enforcement and health officials about how e-cigs work and potential misuse of the devices.

Michelle Peace, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’05/M), an associate professor and a forensic toxicologist in the Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences, visited New Zealand as this year’s International Vision Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research. She has received funding the past four years from the National Institute of Justice to evaluate e-cigarettes’ potential for abuse and the subsequent impact on the criminal justice system.

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How will climate change impact coastal communities? VCU researchers look to Virginia’s barrier islands for clues

Photo of a dried maritime forest.

On Parramore Island, what was once a maritime forest is now essentially dead — a change brought about, at least in part, by climate change.

Off the seaside of Virginia’s Eastern Shore is a chain of uninhabited barrier islands that help protect the mainland coast from storms that — thanks to climate change — are increasing in both frequency and intensity.

However, these 23 islands stretching from Assateague Island at the Maryland border to Fisherman Island near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel are themselves under threat from climate change and sea level rise.

As the average temperature ticks up slightly, a species of shrub — Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) — has proliferated to a staggering degree across many of the islands. In the past, the shrub would die in extreme winters. Now it grows year-round, pushing out grasses that build sand dunes essential to protecting the islands.

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Massey becomes first treatment center in Virginia to offer FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy

3d illustration of a cancer cell and lymphocytes.

Medical illustration of a T-cell attacking cancer.

VCU Massey Cancer Center is now an official treatment center for Yescarta by Kite Pharma for adult patients living with certain types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (recurrent or refractory B-cell lymphoma), making it the first treatment center in Virginia to offer an FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy. Massey, in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, also will soon be offering another FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy, KYMRIAH by Novartis, for children and young adults with recurrent or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Thousands of women with breast cancer may be spared chemotherapy, landmark study shows

Infusion pump feeding IV drip into patients arm focus on needle

The 12-year TAILORx study, co-authored by a VCU Massey Cancer Center physician-researcher, shows chemotherapy does not increase disease-free survival rates for women with early stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk of recurrence.

Seventy percent of women with the most common type of newly diagnosed breast cancer can now be identified and safely skip chemotherapy, according to the results of a landmark 12-year clinical research study.

Data from the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment show that chemotherapy does not increase disease-free survival rates for women with early stage breast cancer and an intermediate risk of recurrence determined by the Oncotype DX Recurrence Score test. The study was designed to more precisely determine the effect of chemotherapy, if any, for women with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative, axillary lymph node-negative breast cancer.

The findings, recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, are expected to inform treatment decisions for thousands of breast cancer patients.

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