MCGI Newsletter

Your quarterly update from the MCGI team
April — June 2020


John Pierce - pursuing knowledge

John Pierce is not your average cancer patient. In fact, there is no such thing as an average cancer patient. Every patient, and every cancer, is genomically unique. Within MCGI though, we have found that most cancer patients fall into one of two categories and Pierce is in a rare third category — the kind that wants to know everything that could possibly be done to address his cancer. He says, "When I was a 20-year-old combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam, I learned that when someone or something is trying to kill you every day, you recognize that nothing focuses your mind like your own mortality." This focus and being his own best advocate led him down the path of finding JAX's MCGI and in an MCGI-first, Pierce requested that he be present at the Genomic Tumor Board (GTB) Session in which his test results would be reviewed. Having Pierce's participation during the GTB worked out really well and as we look to improve our model, we will consider offering participation in GTBs to more patients. Read more about John Pierce and his experience within MCGI here.

COVID-19 and JAX 

Within the last three months our personal and professional lives have shifted in fundamental ways in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the hard work and diligence of JAX's Pandemic Task Force, specific measures have been implemented to ensure the continued education, safety and well-being of our colleagues and the communities with which they interact. 

MCGI's very own Jens Rueter, M.D. has taken lead on JAX's medical response team to closely coordinate with employee medical providers and public health agencies. JAX's medical response plan is based on CDC guidelines and includes symptom evaluation, contract tracing to help identify potential exposures, supervisor/management responsibility training and continued medical guidance and resources.

As we continue to fight against this pandemic, we would like to thank all those behind the scenes working hard to help overcome these troubling times.


MCGI Education is Going Virtual

JAX's Clinical Education Team had a special session planned for the MCGI Forum on understanding and communicating with patients about genomic tumor testing. With the cancellation of the Forum, we are excited to offer this session virtually. "Connecting the dots: genomic tumor testing, targeted treatments and patient care" will be offered as two one-hour virtual sessions. 

These case-based, interactive sessions address: 

  • which patients can benefit most from genomic tumor testing
  • addressing patient questions and misconceptions about testing
  • identifying targeted treatments based on genomic variants 
  • communicating with patients about their results 

While we designed the content to address the specific needs expressed by nurses and clinical research coordinators, any interested clinician in Maine is welcome to attend. Together, the sessions are approved for two nursing continuing education credits. We plan to deliver this content in the Fall, with the specific dates and times to be determined. Due to the live, interactive nature of this content, the sessions will not be made available as a recording at this time.

Please contact the Clinical Education team at with any questions or to express interest in attending. 


Special Pricing for JAX Courses Available

We are excited to offer special discounted registration ($30 per event) to Maine clinicians, genetic counselors and nurses to attend the first virtual Human and Mammalian Genetics and Genomics: The 61st McKusick Short Course and the first virtual Annual Short Course on Experimental Models of Human Cancer.  These courses will be presented through a combination of on-demand lectures, live Q&A panel discussions, workshops and keynote lectures. Registrants will have access to materials for 60 days after the conclusion of the event. 

The Mckusick Short Course (July 20 - 30) has been hosted for 61 years in Bar Harbor, Maine and for the first time ever, JAX will be hosting the course completely online. This is a great opportunity for researchers, physicians and genetic counselors who want extensive exposure to human and mouse genetics. Topics include the human molecular genetics, diagnoses and treatments of inherited diseases, the genetics of susceptibility to infectious diseases including COVID-19 and so much more. At this time, CME's are pending for this event. 

The Cancer Short Course (August 17 - 28) is in its 29th year and, likewise, will be virtual for the first time. This year's exciting program combines seminars from leaders in human cancer genetics, cancer cell biology, emerging models of human cancers, and cancer immunology and therapy, with workshop-based learning opportunities that include computational workshops. 

For more information or to register for these events, please visit the course websites via the links above. On the registration checkout page, please enter the discount code "Maine2020." Please contact Erin McDevitt at if you have any questions.