The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Breast Cancer

October 3, 2011

More than 40 research papers published by Windber institute

WINDBER — The tiny scientific research program in this former coal mining company town is making a big name for itself in the world of cancer research.

Scientists at Windber Research Institute have published about 40 research papers in medical journals about breast cancer studies alone, said Rachel Ellsworth, director of translational breast research.

There have also been dozens of presentation and “poster” reports accepted at major cancer symposiums across the country.

“That’s just me, one or two junior scientists, and two or three technicians,” Ellsworth said.

By contrast, major research programs such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas or Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York may have hundreds working on a project, she said.

“We are proud of our publication record,” Windber President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Kurtz said.

“For an extremely small program, our record of publications is extraordinary.  

“There just aren’t any 50-person organizations that produce as much as we do.”

It is more than just bragging rights, Chief Scientific Officer Richard Mural said.

“You are publishing something because it is making a contribution to the understanding of the disease, its diagnosis, its prognosis, its treatment,” Mural said.

“It becomes part of the scientific record for the disease. If it doesn’t make a contribution, it doesn’t get published.”

The recognition is also important for future collaborations, Kurtz said.

“Research papers are how scientists are viewed by their peers,” he said.

“It is important to publish. It is the sharing of the knowledge. This is where you get the value.”

“It is a way of getting recognition,” Kurtz said.

“But in many ways it is also the product.”

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