A little more about cancer research and treatment….
Good news for us closer to home is that our own University of Washington Medical Center is # 5 on the leading list of cancer hospitals in the nation, according to US News and World Reports.
“Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) has launched its new Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative, becoming the first cancer center in the Southeast and one of the first in the nation to offer cancer patients routine “genotyping” of their tumors at the DNA level….”
Meaning patients will receive personalized treatments based on their own body changes pushing the cancer growth.
…”Vanderbilt is further leading the nation in personalizing
medicine by leveraging its sophisticated Electronic Medical Record
(EMR) to use the genotype information in point-of-care
“The EMR for each patient is automatically updated to contain the latest genome-based treatment information, so that all healthcare providers at Vanderbilt caring for the patient are fully informed and guided by the latest decision support on these advanced therapies,” said Dan Masys, M.D., chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics.
“We know that genetic differences in humans at the molecular level not only contribute to the disease process, but can also significantly impact an individual’s ability to respond optimally to drug therapy,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “…Project, with highly personalized therapy for our patients.”
Vanderbilt’s Personalized Cancer Medicine Program is led by
William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer
Research and an expert in lung cancer….”“…
“The Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative is our commitment to providing the most cutting-edge treatment for our patients,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt-Ingram and B.F. Byrd Professor of Oncology.
Jeffrey Sosman, M.D., professor of Medicine, noted that having the genotype information is also important to help patients avoid the side effects of traditional chemotherapy.
“We are starting to understand how each patient’s tumor may have specific mutations that cause the cancer, but some of those mutations may also make the cancer vulnerable to specific therapy,” said Sosman, who directs the center’s Melanoma Program. “Tumor genotyping allows us to personalize our approach. If a tumor is likely to respond to a targeted therapy then we can avoid the side effects of traditional chemotherapy.”
Following are portions of a letter written by a woman to her parents during a time when her husband was dying of pancreatic cancer far off in another state – with her permission.
She once told me the timed painkillers he had available didn’t stop the pain for long and he would scream out to her with the pain and beg her to give him another shot early.
A concern of the hospital seemed to be that he would become
addicted to the drugs.
I wondered then, as now – what different would it make if he became addicted to pain medications?
He was dying.
The good news about Vanderbilt’s Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative is one more step in the battle against cancer.
‘Dated Monday, Nov 2 -87.
Dear Mom & Dad,
Received the money you sent me…thank you.
It helped a lot because his drugs he has to have are very costly.
Just his filled morphine shots I give him are $163.00 every two weeks, not counting his other medicine.
This is mixed with cocaine.
Brought him home Sat.
Got here about 1:30pm and so thankful to be home again.
The nerve blocks he went through have deadened many of his nerve
endings leading to his cancer.
He knows he is dying.
His mind is still very alert.
He told the Dr while I was out of the room that he was afraid of dying.
God what suffering.
He is in God’s hands.
He is humble & has prayed so hard for God to take him.
His spirit will one day go back to the Lord who gave it & then his struggle & his pain will be over.
Cancer is a slow & painful death.
I wonder sometimes why humans have to suffer so much. There is no answer of course.
I’ll never forget the beautiful people at the hospital who gave me their support & hands & hearts that reached out to us, & before I left the hospital, I went around & thanked them all for giving me so much when God knows I needed it.
Two wonderful & beautiful Drs -Dr Stewart & Dr Wright, they cared too, what we are facing.
They are frustrated because they can’t stop this cancer.
There is no form of x-rays that will show the kind of cancer Kenneth has in the early stages, only after it’s too late.
They became Dr’s to help heal their patients & in Kenneth’s case, it’s too late but they both did everything medically possible to ease him.
They are both so kind.
They wished they could tell me that it wasn’t too late.
Both of them would meet me in the hallway & be on the way to surgery but they always took the time to stop & take my hand & talk to me.
Thank God, for the wonderful & beautiful people left in this
There will always be a dawn because of the beauty of their souls & it rubbed off on me.
I’ll never forget any of them. Everyone at the hospital knew me
& put their arm around me & asked how I was; no matter
where I was in the hospital, so many people came over to me.
God Bless them all.
I know God has a special place for them & I have in my heart.
Don’t worry about me, I’m all right.
God Bless my two parents that I so dearly love. I keep you close
to my heart & the miles apart make no difference.
With lots of love, Karen”
More later… Sharon O’Hara