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ACS Research - TheoryLab

American Cancer Society

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ACS Research - TheoryLab

ACS Research - TheoryLab

American Cancer Society

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American Cancer Society grantees discuss critical questions in cancer research. From prevention to treatment, from bench to bedside, from career development and mentoring to outreach and advocacy, leading experts share their thoughts about the most important issues in the field.

Latest Episodes

Changing the shape of leukemia research and clinical care

A physician-scientist and thought leader whose research has helped change the clinical care of leukemia patients, Kevin Shannon, MD, continues to shape the field. In this conversation, Dr. Shannon takes us through the challenges and hopes of leukemia research and describes what has him most excited about the state of cancer research. Kevin Shannon, MD, is Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, where he holds the Roma and Marvin Auerback Distinguished Professorship of Molecular Oncology. For his seminal research accomplishments, Dr. Shannon was named an American Cancer Society Research Professor. 2:09 – What are leukemias? 4:37 – What people should know about the state of leukemia research: “Leukemia has been one of the diseases where we’ve been able to apply the principle of understanding the underlying molecular basis of the disease to developing better treatments, and then implementing those treatments in the clinic.” 7:13 – How he decides which mutations in the DNA are the most important to study 9:53 – The difference between a DNA mutation and chromosomal abnormality, the problems they cause, and how they can even occur together 16:06 – What it means to say something is “druggable.” 18:36 – How leukemias become resistant to treatment 21:48 – How do you treat a disease that’s constantly changing? 25:12 – How his research provides insight into some of the broader questions in cancer research, beyond leukemia 27:56 – What excites him most about the state of cancer research today 32:19 – The impact of American Cancer Society funding on his career 36:35 – The outsize value of Institutional Research Grants, small pilot awards that the American Cancer Society awards to organizations such as the University of California at San Francisco 39:25 – His thoughts on the partnership between the American Cancer Society and St. Baldrick’s Foundation “to raise $11 million to fund the most innovative biological and clinical laboratory studies that have the greatest potential to quickly deliver new and improved treatments for kids with cancer.” (http://pressroom.cancer.org/StBaldricks2019) 42:26 – A message for cancer patients and caregivers

44 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Changing the shape of leukemia research and clinical care

Lipids! Their role in glioblastoma and potential as a therapeutic target

Lipids are fat molecules normally found in the membranes that surround each cell in the body. They also play a critical role in cellular communication. Ray Blind, PhD, and his lab have been investigating how a particular lipid turns cancer genes on and off in glioblastoma. In this interview he talks about how this happens as well as the very exciting therapeutic potential of his work. Ray Blind, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 2:57 – Lipids? What are lipids? Why are they important? 9:40 – What does the cutting edge of science tell us what it’s like in the nucleus? 15:28 – A nuclear lipid the Blind Lab studies interacts with chromatin. Why is that interaction important? 18:24 – How this nuclear lipid might be especially important in glioblastoma 21:39 – “You know the lipid is there, you know it has a role in cancer, we also assume that it has a role in normal cell development—is there a way to block it and not impact normal development or function? What would be the therapeutic translation?” 23:58 – “Well, this is what we’re really most excited about…” – chemical genetics, and the therapeutic potential of ongoing work in his lab 30:29 – The impact of ACS funding on his lab and on the direction of his research 34:01 – A message he’d like to share with cancer patients

39 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Lipids! Their role in glioblastoma and potential as a therapeutic target

The role of circadian rhythms in liver cancer

The circadian clock is an internal, 24-hour timekeeping system that’s synchronized with the light-dark cycle, and it’s resident in basically all our cells. Kristin Eckel-Mahan, PhD, recently discovered an important molecular mechanism linking the circadian clock to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth. When her lab “repaired” the broken circadian clock within HCC cells, they were able to cause cell death. Her findings suggest that altering circadian function could provide prevention strategies and even, in the long term, treatment strategies for HCC, which is the most common type of primary liver cancer. Kristin Eckel-Mahan, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. 2:15 – On the rise in incidence and mortality rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer 4:03 – Risk factors for HCC 5:24 – The role of fatty liver in increased HCC risk 9:22 – A particularly interesting description of the circadian clock and its importance in health 13:05 – The role of the circadian clock in liver cancer, and how she’s studying a protein’s role in circadian repression 20:34 – Therapeutic prospects related to altering the circadian system and the promise of chronotherapy (treatment of an illness or disorder that takes into account the body's natural rhythms and cycles) 27:52 – A message she’d like to share with cancer patients and caregivers

29 MIN2 w ago
Comments
The role of circadian rhythms in liver cancer

Smiling Instead of Smoking: An app to help non-daily smokers quit

Around a quarter of people who smoke are non-daily smokers (those that smoke on some but not all days), and that number is increasing. The cancer risk of non-daily smoking is significant and existing treatments tend not to be tailored to this population. To address this issue, Bettina Hoeppner, PhD, an experimental psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, has developed a smartphone app, “Smiling Instead of Smoking,” to support non-daily smokers in quitting smoking. It serves “as a behavioral, in-the-pocket coach and uses positive psychology exercises to enhance quitting success.” 4:00 – What are “non-daily smokers?” Why is this a thing? 5:40 – Health risks of non-daily smoking 6:51 – Populations that are more at risk, and why they may be more likely to be non-daily smokers 9:31 – Barriers to quitting that are unique to non-daily smokers 12:05 – Why she uses a smart phone app in her research to help non-daily smokers quit smoking 14:28 – How her “Smiling Instead of Smoking” app works 18:07 – Why she chose happiness as an approach; how positive psychology is a promising new approach to smoking cessation 22:03 – On positive early returns her team has seen from the app—confidence in quitting increased, urge to smoke decreased, and perceptions of smoking became less positive 25:40 – On the potential to reach vulnerable populations with this app 28:13 – The impact American Cancer Society funding had on her career, taking a chance on funding work that was perceived as high risk 30:03 – A message she’d like to share with cancer survivors and caregivers

31 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Smiling Instead of Smoking: An app to help non-daily smokers quit

Finding differences in cancer cells and normal cells that can be exploited

Cancer drugs that target “the machinery required for cell division” have been used successfully in clinics for decades. But these drugs have limitations. Many patients develop resistance and the side effects can be severe, because these drugs—in addition to targeting rapidly dividing tumor cells—also kill healthy cells. Dr. Holland’s lab is searching for vulnerabilities in cell division that are unique to cancer cells. And he is building on some of his findings to develop a novel anti-cancer strategy that allows for the specific killing of proliferating tumor cells without affecting healthy dividing cells. Andrew Holland, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Department of Oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He’s also a two-time American Cancer Society grantee. He recently received a Mission Boost Grant, which are designed to support select current and past ACS grantees specifically for the translation of their research to human testing. 2:23 – On what it was like to get the good news about his new Mission Boost Grant and the importance of funding translational research 5:47 – A helpful description of cell division and how it goes wrong in cancer 7:44 – Why drugs that target cell division are effective but have notable limitations 11:06 – A vulnerability around cell division his lab found in a specific type of breast cancer cell in cancer cells and normal cells that could be targeted 13:15 – How his lab’s work could lead to more targeted treatments and reduced side effects for breast cancer patients… 15:05 – …and potentially in other cancer types as well. 16:03 – On the hope that this could be scratching the surface of therapies that target vulnerabilities in the cell division of cancer cells 23:46 – A message for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.

26 MIN2019 DEC 21
Comments
Finding differences in cancer cells and normal cells that can be exploited

A critical insight into how a childhood leukemia spreads to the brain

Cancer cells, explains Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD, “have this tendency to steal from or copy the way that normal cells respond to their microenvironment.” In this conversation Dr. Sipkins explains how cancer cells profit from the tissue microenvironment. She also describes an important discovery made by her lab, showing how acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells get around the blood-brain barrier to find the microenvironment in the central nervous system where they flourish. Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at the Duke University Medical Center in the Division of Hematological Malignancies and Cellular Therapy. Dr. Sipkins runs a lab that’s focused on tissue microenvironments, or “niches, that regulate the migration, survival and regeneration of cancerous cells.” 3:42 – Why the tissue microenvironment is so important… 8:02 – …and how different microenvironments are crucial for cancer cells 11:55 –The treatment challenges resulting from the movement of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells into the central nervous system 16:17 – The long, difficult (but absolutely critical) journey her lab took to understanding how ALL gets around the blood-brain barrier to find the tissue microenvironment that allows it to flourish 30:36 – How her lab is trying to find “the best drug, the best tool, the best way to inhibit this process” in patients 31:07 – How ACS helped advance her research 32:52 – A message she’d like to share with survivors and caregivers

34 MIN2019 DEC 14
Comments
A critical insight into how a childhood leukemia spreads to the brain

Taking aim against prostate cancer disparities in African American men

As both a clinician and scientist Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD, has dedicated his career to increasing access and quality of care for prostate cancer patients, particularly African American men. In this conversation Dr. Yamoah describes the challenges associated with knowing when prostate cancer is likely to be aggressive. And he talks about the increased incidence and mortality among African American prostate cancer patients, touching on causal factors as well as issues around incidence, diagnosis, treatment delivery, treatment response, and outcomes. Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD, is a radiation oncologist and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. 1:08 – The biggest challenge clinicians face when treating prostate cancer patients 3:01 – Some of the issues faced by African American prostate cancer patients 5:14 –Disparities and health inequity issues for African American prostate cancer patients 8:25 – On his research into biomarkers for prostate cancer 12:30 – On prospectively validating the effectiveness of Decipher—a genomic test looking at gene expression within tumor tissue to measure its aggressiveness—in African American men 17:06 – His work in West Africa, where “prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death,” as part of the Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate (MADCaP) consortium 21:17 – On starting high school at age 7 (!!!) 26:25 – A heartfelt message for cancer survivors and caregivers

29 MIN2019 DEC 7
Comments
Taking aim against prostate cancer disparities in African American men

How discovery and determination led to a lifesaving cancer drug

“To be a scientist,” notes Steve Morris, MD, “you have to take failure after failure with undying enthusiasm.” Without that persistence, we might never have had the lung cancer drug Crizotinib. The path to that drug’s development spanned more than two decades, and Dr. Morris played a critical and recurring role. In 1994, Dr. Morris and his team discovered the gene ALK and showed that it plays a critical role in some lymphomas. He went on to help show that a variety of cancer sub-types are caused by ALK abnormalities, including certain lung cancers, lymphomas, leukemias, mesotheliomas, thyroid cancers, and pediatric cancers. But he didn’t stop with discovery. He and his team also created a diagnostic test, the Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit, to help clinicians determine if a patient’s tumors have an abnormal ALK gene. Ultimately his efforts helped drug developers to come up with the lung cancer drug Xalkori (crizotinib), which was first approved by the FDA in 2011 for the treatment of ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. The drug’s use has been expanded since. Crizotinib is also being evaluated as a potential targeted drug therapy in the treatment of neuroblastoma, a type of brain cancer, and other cancers with ALK mutations or rearrangements. Up to 15% of neuroblastomas have mutations in the ALK gene. Steve Morris, MD, is the co-founder of Insight Genetics and serves as Chief Medical Officer for companies developing cancer therapies. Prior to that he was a Full Member at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 4:49 – On his team’s “time-consuming, labor-intensive, capital-intensive” discovery of the ALK gene 8:48 – How ALK plays a role in cancer 11:20 – The road to making ALK a druggable target 16:58 – The diagnostic test he and his team developed to help clinicians determine if a patient’s tumors have an abnormal ALK gene 26:19 – On why he left academic medicine to pursue drug development and the creation of diagnostic tests 29:32 – On the challenges of drug development, including the low success rate, the long development timeline, and the very high capital investment 32:52 – On the exciting prospects of precision medicine 38:39 – The role of American Cancer Society funding on his career and the discovery of ALK

41 MIN2019 DEC 5
Comments
How discovery and determination led to a lifesaving cancer drug

A patient-centered approach to lung cancer care

As a clinician and researcher, Efren Flores, MD, is dedicated to helping everyone, including the most vulnerable populations, prevent and treat lung cancer. In this conversation, Dr. Flores talks about health equity and disparities, the barriers that patients are faced with, and the importance of coordinated care. He also speaks eloquently about the stigma that some lung cancer patients have to deal with and how, “medical conditions don’t define people. Nobody is defined by cancer.” Efren Flores, MD, is a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Instructor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School, where he’s the Officer for Community Health and Equity. He’s also a member of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable, a coalition of leading professional, government and non-governmental organizations working to accelerate the nation's efforts to reduce mortality from lung cancer. 4:30 – On health equity and health disparities, the critical issue of missed appointments in radiology, and some of the barriers patients have to overcome 11:32 – What patient outreach looks like in lung cancer 14:42 – How mental health clinicians could be key to advancing lung cancer screening for a hard-to-reach population 16:53 – The importance of coordinated patient care 20:34 – The National Lung Cancer Roundtable and how it can help vulnerable patient populations 25:20 – What he wishes people knew about lung cancer 27:04 – The impact of American Cancer Society funding on his research 28:57 – A message he’d like to share with patients

31 MIN2019 NOV 28
Comments
A patient-centered approach to lung cancer care

Culturally specific interventions to reduce tobacco-related health disparities

Dr. Monica Webb Hooper is a leader in the field of cancer health disparities, internationally recognized for her tobacco research. She is Director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. She is also Professor of Oncology, Family Medicine & Community Health and Psychological Sciences. 3:50 - What are cancer disparities? 6:09 – The listening tour her cancer center underwent to learn more about community health care needs, perceptions, desires, and experiences 8:29 – Tobacco-related health disparities and the unique role that stress has on ethnic and racial disparities 14:14 – Culturally specific interventions for African Americans, how to increase access to these interventions, and the challenges of keeping patients engaged using mobile applications 22:56 – How to find the web-based intervention, “Pathways to Freedom: Leading the Way to a Smoke-Free Community” 23:42 – The mission of the Tobacco Obesity Oncology Laboratory (TOOL) 25:12 – The impact of ACS funding on her work 26:34 – A message she’d like to share with cancer patients

28 MIN2019 NOV 24
Comments
Culturally specific interventions to reduce tobacco-related health disparities

Latest Episodes

Changing the shape of leukemia research and clinical care

A physician-scientist and thought leader whose research has helped change the clinical care of leukemia patients, Kevin Shannon, MD, continues to shape the field. In this conversation, Dr. Shannon takes us through the challenges and hopes of leukemia research and describes what has him most excited about the state of cancer research. Kevin Shannon, MD, is Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, where he holds the Roma and Marvin Auerback Distinguished Professorship of Molecular Oncology. For his seminal research accomplishments, Dr. Shannon was named an American Cancer Society Research Professor. 2:09 – What are leukemias? 4:37 – What people should know about the state of leukemia research: “Leukemia has been one of the diseases where we’ve been able to apply the principle of understanding the underlying molecular basis of the disease to developing better treatments, and then implementing those treatments in the clinic.” 7:13 – How he decides which mutations in the DNA are the most important to study 9:53 – The difference between a DNA mutation and chromosomal abnormality, the problems they cause, and how they can even occur together 16:06 – What it means to say something is “druggable.” 18:36 – How leukemias become resistant to treatment 21:48 – How do you treat a disease that’s constantly changing? 25:12 – How his research provides insight into some of the broader questions in cancer research, beyond leukemia 27:56 – What excites him most about the state of cancer research today 32:19 – The impact of American Cancer Society funding on his career 36:35 – The outsize value of Institutional Research Grants, small pilot awards that the American Cancer Society awards to organizations such as the University of California at San Francisco 39:25 – His thoughts on the partnership between the American Cancer Society and St. Baldrick’s Foundation “to raise $11 million to fund the most innovative biological and clinical laboratory studies that have the greatest potential to quickly deliver new and improved treatments for kids with cancer.” (http://pressroom.cancer.org/StBaldricks2019) 42:26 – A message for cancer patients and caregivers

44 MIN3 d ago
Comments
Changing the shape of leukemia research and clinical care

Lipids! Their role in glioblastoma and potential as a therapeutic target

Lipids are fat molecules normally found in the membranes that surround each cell in the body. They also play a critical role in cellular communication. Ray Blind, PhD, and his lab have been investigating how a particular lipid turns cancer genes on and off in glioblastoma. In this interview he talks about how this happens as well as the very exciting therapeutic potential of his work. Ray Blind, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 2:57 – Lipids? What are lipids? Why are they important? 9:40 – What does the cutting edge of science tell us what it’s like in the nucleus? 15:28 – A nuclear lipid the Blind Lab studies interacts with chromatin. Why is that interaction important? 18:24 – How this nuclear lipid might be especially important in glioblastoma 21:39 – “You know the lipid is there, you know it has a role in cancer, we also assume that it has a role in normal cell development—is there a way to block it and not impact normal development or function? What would be the therapeutic translation?” 23:58 – “Well, this is what we’re really most excited about…” – chemical genetics, and the therapeutic potential of ongoing work in his lab 30:29 – The impact of ACS funding on his lab and on the direction of his research 34:01 – A message he’d like to share with cancer patients

39 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Lipids! Their role in glioblastoma and potential as a therapeutic target

The role of circadian rhythms in liver cancer

The circadian clock is an internal, 24-hour timekeeping system that’s synchronized with the light-dark cycle, and it’s resident in basically all our cells. Kristin Eckel-Mahan, PhD, recently discovered an important molecular mechanism linking the circadian clock to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) growth. When her lab “repaired” the broken circadian clock within HCC cells, they were able to cause cell death. Her findings suggest that altering circadian function could provide prevention strategies and even, in the long term, treatment strategies for HCC, which is the most common type of primary liver cancer. Kristin Eckel-Mahan, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. 2:15 – On the rise in incidence and mortality rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of primary liver cancer 4:03 – Risk factors for HCC 5:24 – The role of fatty liver in increased HCC risk 9:22 – A particularly interesting description of the circadian clock and its importance in health 13:05 – The role of the circadian clock in liver cancer, and how she’s studying a protein’s role in circadian repression 20:34 – Therapeutic prospects related to altering the circadian system and the promise of chronotherapy (treatment of an illness or disorder that takes into account the body's natural rhythms and cycles) 27:52 – A message she’d like to share with cancer patients and caregivers

29 MIN2 w ago
Comments
The role of circadian rhythms in liver cancer

Smiling Instead of Smoking: An app to help non-daily smokers quit

Around a quarter of people who smoke are non-daily smokers (those that smoke on some but not all days), and that number is increasing. The cancer risk of non-daily smoking is significant and existing treatments tend not to be tailored to this population. To address this issue, Bettina Hoeppner, PhD, an experimental psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, has developed a smartphone app, “Smiling Instead of Smoking,” to support non-daily smokers in quitting smoking. It serves “as a behavioral, in-the-pocket coach and uses positive psychology exercises to enhance quitting success.” 4:00 – What are “non-daily smokers?” Why is this a thing? 5:40 – Health risks of non-daily smoking 6:51 – Populations that are more at risk, and why they may be more likely to be non-daily smokers 9:31 – Barriers to quitting that are unique to non-daily smokers 12:05 – Why she uses a smart phone app in her research to help non-daily smokers quit smoking 14:28 – How her “Smiling Instead of Smoking” app works 18:07 – Why she chose happiness as an approach; how positive psychology is a promising new approach to smoking cessation 22:03 – On positive early returns her team has seen from the app—confidence in quitting increased, urge to smoke decreased, and perceptions of smoking became less positive 25:40 – On the potential to reach vulnerable populations with this app 28:13 – The impact American Cancer Society funding had on her career, taking a chance on funding work that was perceived as high risk 30:03 – A message she’d like to share with cancer survivors and caregivers

31 MIN3 w ago
Comments
Smiling Instead of Smoking: An app to help non-daily smokers quit

Finding differences in cancer cells and normal cells that can be exploited

Cancer drugs that target “the machinery required for cell division” have been used successfully in clinics for decades. But these drugs have limitations. Many patients develop resistance and the side effects can be severe, because these drugs—in addition to targeting rapidly dividing tumor cells—also kill healthy cells. Dr. Holland’s lab is searching for vulnerabilities in cell division that are unique to cancer cells. And he is building on some of his findings to develop a novel anti-cancer strategy that allows for the specific killing of proliferating tumor cells without affecting healthy dividing cells. Andrew Holland, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Department of Oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He’s also a two-time American Cancer Society grantee. He recently received a Mission Boost Grant, which are designed to support select current and past ACS grantees specifically for the translation of their research to human testing. 2:23 – On what it was like to get the good news about his new Mission Boost Grant and the importance of funding translational research 5:47 – A helpful description of cell division and how it goes wrong in cancer 7:44 – Why drugs that target cell division are effective but have notable limitations 11:06 – A vulnerability around cell division his lab found in a specific type of breast cancer cell in cancer cells and normal cells that could be targeted 13:15 – How his lab’s work could lead to more targeted treatments and reduced side effects for breast cancer patients… 15:05 – …and potentially in other cancer types as well. 16:03 – On the hope that this could be scratching the surface of therapies that target vulnerabilities in the cell division of cancer cells 23:46 – A message for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.

26 MIN2019 DEC 21
Comments
Finding differences in cancer cells and normal cells that can be exploited

A critical insight into how a childhood leukemia spreads to the brain

Cancer cells, explains Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD, “have this tendency to steal from or copy the way that normal cells respond to their microenvironment.” In this conversation Dr. Sipkins explains how cancer cells profit from the tissue microenvironment. She also describes an important discovery made by her lab, showing how acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells get around the blood-brain barrier to find the microenvironment in the central nervous system where they flourish. Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD, is an associate professor at the Duke University Medical Center in the Division of Hematological Malignancies and Cellular Therapy. Dr. Sipkins runs a lab that’s focused on tissue microenvironments, or “niches, that regulate the migration, survival and regeneration of cancerous cells.” 3:42 – Why the tissue microenvironment is so important… 8:02 – …and how different microenvironments are crucial for cancer cells 11:55 –The treatment challenges resulting from the movement of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells into the central nervous system 16:17 – The long, difficult (but absolutely critical) journey her lab took to understanding how ALL gets around the blood-brain barrier to find the tissue microenvironment that allows it to flourish 30:36 – How her lab is trying to find “the best drug, the best tool, the best way to inhibit this process” in patients 31:07 – How ACS helped advance her research 32:52 – A message she’d like to share with survivors and caregivers

34 MIN2019 DEC 14
Comments
A critical insight into how a childhood leukemia spreads to the brain

Taking aim against prostate cancer disparities in African American men

As both a clinician and scientist Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD, has dedicated his career to increasing access and quality of care for prostate cancer patients, particularly African American men. In this conversation Dr. Yamoah describes the challenges associated with knowing when prostate cancer is likely to be aggressive. And he talks about the increased incidence and mortality among African American prostate cancer patients, touching on causal factors as well as issues around incidence, diagnosis, treatment delivery, treatment response, and outcomes. Kosj Yamoah, MD, PhD, is a radiation oncologist and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. 1:08 – The biggest challenge clinicians face when treating prostate cancer patients 3:01 – Some of the issues faced by African American prostate cancer patients 5:14 –Disparities and health inequity issues for African American prostate cancer patients 8:25 – On his research into biomarkers for prostate cancer 12:30 – On prospectively validating the effectiveness of Decipher—a genomic test looking at gene expression within tumor tissue to measure its aggressiveness—in African American men 17:06 – His work in West Africa, where “prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death,” as part of the Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate (MADCaP) consortium 21:17 – On starting high school at age 7 (!!!) 26:25 – A heartfelt message for cancer survivors and caregivers

29 MIN2019 DEC 7
Comments
Taking aim against prostate cancer disparities in African American men

How discovery and determination led to a lifesaving cancer drug

“To be a scientist,” notes Steve Morris, MD, “you have to take failure after failure with undying enthusiasm.” Without that persistence, we might never have had the lung cancer drug Crizotinib. The path to that drug’s development spanned more than two decades, and Dr. Morris played a critical and recurring role. In 1994, Dr. Morris and his team discovered the gene ALK and showed that it plays a critical role in some lymphomas. He went on to help show that a variety of cancer sub-types are caused by ALK abnormalities, including certain lung cancers, lymphomas, leukemias, mesotheliomas, thyroid cancers, and pediatric cancers. But he didn’t stop with discovery. He and his team also created a diagnostic test, the Vysis ALK Break Apart FISH Probe Kit, to help clinicians determine if a patient’s tumors have an abnormal ALK gene. Ultimately his efforts helped drug developers to come up with the lung cancer drug Xalkori (crizotinib), which was first approved by the FDA in 2011 for the treatment of ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. The drug’s use has been expanded since. Crizotinib is also being evaluated as a potential targeted drug therapy in the treatment of neuroblastoma, a type of brain cancer, and other cancers with ALK mutations or rearrangements. Up to 15% of neuroblastomas have mutations in the ALK gene. Steve Morris, MD, is the co-founder of Insight Genetics and serves as Chief Medical Officer for companies developing cancer therapies. Prior to that he was a Full Member at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 4:49 – On his team’s “time-consuming, labor-intensive, capital-intensive” discovery of the ALK gene 8:48 – How ALK plays a role in cancer 11:20 – The road to making ALK a druggable target 16:58 – The diagnostic test he and his team developed to help clinicians determine if a patient’s tumors have an abnormal ALK gene 26:19 – On why he left academic medicine to pursue drug development and the creation of diagnostic tests 29:32 – On the challenges of drug development, including the low success rate, the long development timeline, and the very high capital investment 32:52 – On the exciting prospects of precision medicine 38:39 – The role of American Cancer Society funding on his career and the discovery of ALK

41 MIN2019 DEC 5
Comments
How discovery and determination led to a lifesaving cancer drug

A patient-centered approach to lung cancer care

As a clinician and researcher, Efren Flores, MD, is dedicated to helping everyone, including the most vulnerable populations, prevent and treat lung cancer. In this conversation, Dr. Flores talks about health equity and disparities, the barriers that patients are faced with, and the importance of coordinated care. He also speaks eloquently about the stigma that some lung cancer patients have to deal with and how, “medical conditions don’t define people. Nobody is defined by cancer.” Efren Flores, MD, is a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Instructor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School, where he’s the Officer for Community Health and Equity. He’s also a member of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable, a coalition of leading professional, government and non-governmental organizations working to accelerate the nation's efforts to reduce mortality from lung cancer. 4:30 – On health equity and health disparities, the critical issue of missed appointments in radiology, and some of the barriers patients have to overcome 11:32 – What patient outreach looks like in lung cancer 14:42 – How mental health clinicians could be key to advancing lung cancer screening for a hard-to-reach population 16:53 – The importance of coordinated patient care 20:34 – The National Lung Cancer Roundtable and how it can help vulnerable patient populations 25:20 – What he wishes people knew about lung cancer 27:04 – The impact of American Cancer Society funding on his research 28:57 – A message he’d like to share with patients

31 MIN2019 NOV 28
Comments
A patient-centered approach to lung cancer care

Culturally specific interventions to reduce tobacco-related health disparities

Dr. Monica Webb Hooper is a leader in the field of cancer health disparities, internationally recognized for her tobacco research. She is Director of the Office of Cancer Disparities Research in the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. She is also Professor of Oncology, Family Medicine & Community Health and Psychological Sciences. 3:50 - What are cancer disparities? 6:09 – The listening tour her cancer center underwent to learn more about community health care needs, perceptions, desires, and experiences 8:29 – Tobacco-related health disparities and the unique role that stress has on ethnic and racial disparities 14:14 – Culturally specific interventions for African Americans, how to increase access to these interventions, and the challenges of keeping patients engaged using mobile applications 22:56 – How to find the web-based intervention, “Pathways to Freedom: Leading the Way to a Smoke-Free Community” 23:42 – The mission of the Tobacco Obesity Oncology Laboratory (TOOL) 25:12 – The impact of ACS funding on her work 26:34 – A message she’d like to share with cancer patients

28 MIN2019 NOV 24
Comments
Culturally specific interventions to reduce tobacco-related health disparities
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