March 2022 Update

Your quarterly update from the MCGI team
January 2022 —March 2022


Last chance to register! 2022 MCGI Forum

The MCGI team invites you to the 5th Annual MCGI Forum, Friday and Saturday, April 1 – 2. In-person attendance at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine, is available by invitation to MCGI network clinicians and research staff; virtual attendance is open to all. Registration will be open until March 25. Don’t miss your chance — register today! 
MCGI clinicians and research staff should have received an email invitation to attend in person. Lodging and meal costs for MCGI network invitees will be covered by Harold Alfond® Foundation grant funds. Invitees may bring a spouse or guest, with a guest meal charge to be assessed at time of registration.  
For those unable to attend in person, the event will convene virtually. Virtual registration offers the option to view the event live or on-demand during the designated post-event period. 
This two-day event is packed with a variety of sessions featuring leading experts in the field of precision oncology. Visit our event website to view this year's speaker line-up and to download a copy of the agenda.
Please contact us at with any questions or concerns.


A 'Game Changer' for Cancer Patients

People living with cancer in the 2020s have treatment options that didn’t exist just a few decades ago. An oncologist can now order genomic sequencing of her patient’s tumor and determine whether a targeted treatment is available for that very specific cancer type. Staff at York Hospital Oncology and Infusion Care

Many of these targeted treatments are more effective in preventing the proliferation of cancer cells than older, more conventional therapies such as radiation, surgery or standard chemotherapy. Until very recently, though, access to targeted therapies was available only to patients receiving cancer care at big-city academic research hospitals.

Maine is a geographically large state with a small, mainly rural population that is also one of the oldest in the U.S., with cancer rates and mortality above the national average. To expand treatment options for Maine cancer patients, The Jackson Laboratory established the Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative in 2016 with a grant from the Harold Alfond ® Foundation.

Today every oncology practice in Maine is engaged in the efforts of MCGI. Participating clinicians get access to advanced genomic tumor testing, characterizing the genetic profile of each patient’s cancer. Genomic tumor boards — specialized teams of oncologists, researchers and clinicians — convene by videoconference to review patients’ test results and design personalized treatment plans for the patients. Patients also receive assistance in identifying and applying for clinical trials that are appropriate to their diagnoses.

York, Maine, is a popular seaside summer resort located just north of the state border , with a year-round population of about 13,000. At York Hospital Oncology and Infusion Care there is an active clinical trials program. Clinical research coordinator Brenda Kiberd, R.N., calls MCGI a “game-changer” for the cancer patients in the practice.

Read more about MCGI’s collaboration with York Hospital.


MCGI Team Spotlight

The MCGI team would like to thank one of our valuable team members, Melissa Rockwood, M.S., genomic tumor board coordinator.  She had an outsized impact on the functions, management and advancement of our annually scheduled GTB session series. 

In February of 2022, Rockwood began her newest venture in life — retirement! After 25 years of service with The Jackson Laboratory, she and her husband Steve are looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead.  
In celebrating this exciting time, Rockwood shared some reflections of her past successes and pursuits for the future. 
“The MCGI’s role of GTB coordinator was formally crafted about two years ago, and I joined the team in August 2020. Like many JAX employees at the time, I had been working from home in Ellsworth since March, with no clear idea of when a return to the Bar Harbor campus would be possible. Previous interactions with Jens Rueter, M.D., Jennifer Bourne and Lory Gaitor convinced me that this was an opportunity to be part of something truly special.”  

Rockwood best describes her career path as “having put her liberal arts degree to the test.” This was the seventh position she held at JAX since 1997 and has since acquired and honed skills in public speaking, critical thinking, writing, editing and proofreading, data analysis, event planning, budget and financial management, and the full spectrum of administrative assignments.

“I’m excited by the prospect of the post-JAX years ahead. After establishing some routines, I may engage in selective freelance copyediting and writing assignments. Ultimately, the focus will be on family, friendships, health, adventures and life-long learning pursuits. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside so many amazing people,” states Rockwood. 
Rockwood has made her mark within the MCGI team and beyond, and she will be greatly missed. Her contributions will continue to foster growth and innovation within the initiative. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors, Melissa!