Benefit for Keith Jentzsch

Colorado State University employee Keith Jentzsch, Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator for the University Art Museum, was seriously injured in an assault near his home in Fort Collins on August 7. He faces a long recovery and rehabilitation period. A benefit reading and silent auction to help his family with medical bills has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at the Downtown Artery, 252 Linden Street. If you are unable to attend the event, you can contribute to the fund set up for Keith.

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Page: Animal cancer treatment valuable to humans

Dr. Rodney Page thinks the dog is a cancer patient's best friend.

Not in the way you might think. Yes, dogs offer loyal companionship that might be especially meaningful to a pet owner facing disease diagnosis and treatment.

Yet there’s more. Page, as director of Colorado State University’s world-renowned Flint Animal Cancer Center, is leading a push within the field of cancer medicine to view dogs with naturally occurring disease as the ideal route to improving cancer treatment in people.

On Thursday, the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology will be officially conferred to Page during a reception on campus, a ceremony significant for what the chair will provide: funding to support studies that promise to help both pets and people with cancer.

An academic chair is a funding mechanism that provides investment revenue from an endowment – in this case, an impressive $6 million endowment – to boost teaching, research and service in a field of interest to donors. This chair is named for Dr. Steve Withrow, founding director of the CSU Animal Cancer Center, University Distinguished Professor and pioneer in the field of veterinary oncology.

Funding from the prestigious chair will allow Page to carry on Withrow’s legacy in treating pets with cancer and applying the knowledge gained to improve treatment for people with cancer.

What does that mean?

It starts here: The Animal Cancer Center books some 6,000 appointments each year with animal cancer patients, primarily dogs. Job No. 1 is healing these patients with medication, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

As Page often says, “Cancer is cancer,” meaning the disease appears, progresses and responds to treatment in much the same way no matter the species. So it makes sense that human treatment should benefit from the vast medical data and knowledge gained in the course of treating pets.

Withrow was an early proponent. When Page took over as center director in 2010, he likewise took up the mantle of canine oncology within the sphere of translational medicine, meaning medical knowledge that may be translated from one species to another.

One-on-one with Page [caption id="attachment_12101" align="alignright" width="200"]Dr. Rodney Page with a golden retriever Dr. Rod Page, director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center.[/caption]

 Page, a CSU veterinary alumnus who was mentored by Withrow, explains the translational role of canine oncology – and more – in the following Q&A.

What does it mean to you to have more than 700 people contribute to this chair you’re holding?

That’s pretty phenomenal, isn’t it? The chair is an honor to Steve, and that’s the most significant part of this. The relationship Steve has had with hundreds of thousands of students, residents, clients, people who call from all over the world for his opinion on their cases, really is unique. I don’t think I’ve known anyone else who has devoted that level of commitment to this profession. It shows in the core values that Steve established for our cancer center, of vision, integrity and passion. Hundreds of donors have joined in support of those values.

In what ways are you carrying on Dr. Withrow’s legacy?

I hope I can continue to foster compassion for clients and their pets, and I hope I can emulate Steve’s focus and understanding about what’s important. Since I returned to CSU, I’ve learned a lot more about the spirit of the Animal Cancer Center, the teamwork and the focus. People here support each other, and that creates a feeling of shared respect. That’s something that has to continue.

Dr. Withrow saw the canine oncology patient very early in his career as a model for understanding human cancer. That has continued at the Flint Animal Cancer Center, and is part of the legacy you carry on. Yet, it’s still a concept not a lot of people know about. Can you explain?

Cancer is cancer. The same mechanisms that result in cancer in humans are operative in dogs, and are operative in other animals as well. The thing that is valuable – and I believe will continue to grow in its value – is the information that can be gathered through well-done clinical studies in companion animals with naturally occurring cancers. The ability to look at why a tumor spreads or why a tumor becomes resistant to drugs in a relevant environment is how we foresee our scientific program growing in the future.

What’s your elevator speech if you were to meet an oncologist in human medicine and they hadn’t been exposed to the concept of using dogs with cancer as a model for understanding human cancer?

It starts with noting that dogs share our environment. They’re exposed to the same sorts of insults that we are exposed to, and they develop naturally occurring, genetically based diseases more than any other species next to man. More than 400 diseases have been identified as genetically based, and many of those are cancer. In addition, dogs age much more rapidly than people, so tumors develop much more rapidly. This means that, as we treat our canine patients, we can ask and answer the same questions but in a fraction of the time that it takes in a human study.

Talk a little bit about the comparative oncology trials that are ongoing at the Flint Animal Cancer Center. How would you summarize the overall goal of those trials?

Whether the study is about improving animal health, or whether it is a lead-in to a human trial, the focus is always on innovation – trying to find ways to do it better, trying to overcome limitations on treatment for cancers. It’s all about improving the bottom line of cancer treatment. We have trials that are conducted for cancer drugs, radiation, new diagnostic tests, and all are part of moving the profession forward for the benefit of pets and people.

Could you point to three major breakthroughs at the Flint Animal Cancer Center that have had a direct influence on human cancer treatment and its effectiveness? [caption id="attachment_12102" align="alignright" width="300"]Dr. Steve Withrow, studies a patient’s radiographs with colleagues. Dr. Steve Withrow, studies a patient’s radiographs with colleagues.[/caption]

The home runs that have been provided already include an understanding of radiation response for head and neck cancer, which was done by Dr. Ed Gillette in the ’90s. Up until the advent of very new technologies, that was the basis for the treatment protocol. There’s also the limb-sparing surgery for cancer patients that was advanced by Steve and Dr. Ross Wilkins, a human orthopedic surgeon. It has allowed patients, primarily children, to keep their limbs when undergoing cancer surgery and is recognized as the standard for kids with bone cancer. Another example is the development of a product that stimulates the immune system and has resulted in an improvement in survival for kids with bone cancer by delaying metastasis. That product is currently available, but not yet in the United States because of regulatory issues.

Of some of the studies you currently have under way, is there something that shows particular promise for advancing human cancer treatment and its understanding?

We’re involved with a study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, which involves multiple institutions and is evaluating compounds for the treatment of lymphoma, a cancer that affects the immune system. We are looking at the response to treatment in dogs with lymphoma, and we’re also looking at how well this product will work at the microscopic level.

I also have to ask you: Are you a dog lover? If so, how has that influenced your work as a veterinary oncologist?

I am a dog lover – and a cat lover, and a bird lover, and a wildlife lover. I started out as a bioscience major in college and was uncertain of the next step so I enrolled in a program at a medical school. I wanted to find out what it was like in medical school, and with that experience I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian because of my love for animals. I’ve also had wonderful veterinary mentors my entire career, and that helped me tremendously.

Flint Animal Cancer Center
  • Opened in 2002, the center houses the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, with more than 100 faculty clinicians, staff members and veterinary students.
  • The center books about 6,000 appointments per year and provides an additional 3,000 consultations by phone and email.
  • It has trained more surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution.

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School is Cool: 35,000 smiles for local kids

More than 2,500 Poudre School District students will begin their school year with wide smiles and new supplies thanks to School is Cool.

School is Cool, started at CSU 23 years ago, provided backpacks and grade-specific supplies to 2,511 students. More than 110 volunteers spent four days organizing materials, stuffing backpacks and delivering them to PSD schools.

This year 42 PSD schools will receive backpacks, including every middle school and high school. The program has distributed nearly 35,000 backpacks since it was launched by CSU employees in 1992.

Corporate, campus support

The School is Cool committee has partnered with the CSU Bookstore, the Bohemian Foundation, Hewlett-Packard and other organizations to expand its reach. Still, the majority of funding over the past 23 years has come from CSU employees.

Committed to community

“We are lucky and proud to call Fort Collins our home, and as a university committed to providing access to education, scool-logo-revSchool is Cool is an amazing opportunity for CSU to help children in our community get the tools they need to succeed,” said Tom Milligan, CSU’s vice president for external relations. “The CSU community truly believes in education, and through this wonderful program, our staff, faculty and students get to demonstrate that belief in a way that makes a real difference in the lives of school children in our hometown. We are very proud of this great program and thank the hundreds of individuals and the sponsors who make it possible.”

To support School is Cool, send your gift to: School is Cool, Colorado State University Foundation, 9100 Campus Delivery or donate online.

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Training opportunities now available

CSU faculty and staff can take advantage of several upcoming training opportunities offered through Training and Organizational Development. Available classes

  • The Art of Powerful Questions
  • How to Survive and Thrive in Change
  • Navigating Conflicts between Co-Workers
  • Stepping Up to Supervision
  • Coaching for Success
  • The Balancing Act: Supervising Student, Hourly and Seasonal Employees
  • Caring for a Loved One: Be Prepared
Act fast: These favorites fill up fast

8/14  - The Balancing Act

This course is designed to help supervisors balance their own needs for professional accomplishment and effective time management, as well as being a mentor to student and seasonal employees.

Topics include:

  • Preparing for the first day, setting expectations
  • Motivation, retention, and evaluation
  • Generational differences
  • Conflict resolution

9/19  - Caring for a Loved One: Be Prepared

Caring for a loved one can be stressful. This workshop will provide practical information and relevant reference material.

Participants will:

  • Gain knowledge of available resources for older adults and their family members
  • Assess their current situation and make a caregiving action plan
  • Connect and share with others in a similar situation for support and help

Pre-registration is required. Go to the Training website for registration instructions. Select the “Register for Workshops” button to see class descriptions, and log-in to register.

Contact: Ellen Audley

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Campus Safety and SafeWalk

C2C image of Commitment to Campus Colorado State University Police Department provides the SafeWalk service — a student escort trained in safety and security who can walk you to your car or a location within a few blocks of campus. The escorts are Campus Service Officers, or CSOs, who are friendly CSUPD student employees who walk any student or employee to class, their car, or a nearby off-campus location from dusk until dawn, seven days a week, year-round. In extremely cold weather, the CSOs may also have access to a warm vehicle for the escort. SafeWalk can be reached at (970) 491-1155 and operates from dusk until dawn, 7 days a week year around.

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Alumni Association Benefits for Faculty & Staff

C2C image of Commitment to Campus Alumni Association Benefits for Employees

  • Discounts: The CSU Alumni Association offers a variety of discounts and deals for faculty and staff, including a discounted membership to the CSU Alumni Association.
  • Honors: The Distinguished Alumni Employee Award honors our graduates who have "enhanced the University's mission, reputation, or campus morale, and who represent the University with professionalism, enthusiasm, and dedication."

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