News

New Treatment for Prostate Cancer: Saint Joseph’s Hospital First in State to Treat Patient with Xofigo

Xofigo new prostate cancer treatment medicationA double bass player in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Doug Sommer claims he was just “in the right place at the right time with the right doctors,” when he was offered the opportunity to be the first in the state to receive a new treatment option for his prostate cancer.

Doug is the first patient in Georgia to receive a new FDA-approved radioactive therapeutic drug for advanced metastatic prostate cancer. He received the treatment, a single injection of radium Ra 223 dichloride, (brand name Xofigo) at Saint Joseph’s Hospital. This was the first of six injections. Xofigo has been shown to reduce bone pain and improve quality of life.

“Patients with a type of cancer called castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) with metastatic bone disease, who have failed hormone suppression therapy, now have a new treatment option for their disease.”

Peter Rossi, MD, medical director of radiation oncology at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and assistant professor of radiation oncology at Emory University School of Medicine & Winship Cancer Institute

Read more about this new treatment for prostate cancer on the Saint Joseph’s Hospital blog >>

Winship Cancer Institute Patients Participate in 5K Relay for Be The Match

A few days before the 2013 Be The Match Walk+Run 5K that took place on Saturday, June 15, bone marrow transplant patients, family members and staff at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University conducted their own 5-kilometer relay in the transplant ward of Emory University Hospital. Since some participants couldn’t walk the entire circuit, most walked as long as they could before passing the baton off to the next person. Sixty-six laps around the transplant ward equaled five kilometers.

Bone marrow transplant patients and their family members often experience long weeks (and sometimes even months) of treatment.

“[The relay] is fun and it gives people an idea that they are not losing so much or giving up so much by being here, and they can still participate in things. Also, it’s a way for them to give back. It’s a way for all of us to give back,” says Amelia Langston, MD, medical director of the Emory Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center.

Learn more about the Winship Cancer Institute Bone Marrow Transplant Program by watching the video below, or by using the related resources links provided below the video.

Related Resources:

Can Throat Cancer be Caused by HPV 16?

HPV Throat Cancer Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas recently brought HPV16-Related Throat Cancer into the forefront of many people’s minds this week when he commented that oral sex is a cause of throat cancer and the possible cause of his own throat cancer.

HPV, known to cause cervical cancer for many years, recently was also linked to a common head and neck cancer. HPV16 – related throat cancer typically affects otherwise healthy men between the ages of 50 and 60 who are non-smokers and non-drinkers.  The  symptoms are very unlike traditional oral cancers.  It first appears as a mass in the neck with no other symptoms.

Winship Cancer Institute Head and Neck Surgeon, Amy Chen, MD stated in an article in Prevention that “HPV16 has been found to be associated with one type of oral cancer at the base of the tongue and the tonsil, otherwise known as the pharynx.    Unfortunately at this time there are no screening tests for HPV of the throat.

The good news is the prognosis for cases of HPV16-caused throat cancer is good, so long as the patient is a non-smoker. Winship researchers and others are looking for ways to identify whether patients with HPV16-caused throat cancer need as much treatment as patients whose cancer is not caused by the virus.

More good news –  there is a vaccine available that can help young boys from developing the HPV16 -related throat cancer later in life.  It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that all boys ages 11 – 21 receive a vaccine.  The vaccine can also help boys prevent cancers of the penis and anus.

Education about the disease and the vaccine available is crucial to help prevent this disease.  Spread the word to all your families about the importance of getting the vaccine.

About Amy Chen, MD, MPH, FACS

Amy Chen, MD, MPH, FACS, is a member of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine. She has a joint appointment at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, and she served as Director of Health Services Research in the Department of Surveillance and Health Policy Research of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Chen has been instrumental in developing a team approach to patient care. She developed and continues to lead the multidisciplinary head and neck tumor conference as well as the thyroid tumor conference. Dr. Chen began practicing at Emory in 2001.

Dr. Chen specializes in otolaryngology (ENT) and has been Board-Certified since 1999. She also completed a head and neck surgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her expertise is in upper aerodigestive tract cancers, parotid, and thyroid tumors. Dr. Chen also specializes in robotic surgery. Her other areas of clinical interest are head and neck cancer, laser surgery, melanoma, parathyroid surgery, skin cancer, thyroid surgery, and tongue malignancies.

Related Resources

A More Precise Blood Test Outperforms PSA Screening in Detecting Aggressive Prostate Cancers

Martin Sanda, MDMartin Sanda, MD, a member of the Winship Cancer Institute, chairman of the Emory Department of Urology and internationally recognized prostate cancer scientist, recently delivered big news about better prostate cancer diagnosis, at the American Urological Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting.

As corresponding and presenting author of the abstract “Prostate Health Index (phi) for Reducing Overdetection of Indolent Prostate Cancer and Unnecessary Biopsy While Improving Detection of Aggressive Cancers,” Sanda presented findings that represent a significant step towards better detection and diagnosing of fast-growing prostate cancers, and fewer unnecessary biopsies of indolent cancers.

The Prostate Health Index (phi), a blood test used to evaluate the probability of prostate cancer diagnosis, outperformed commonly used prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and free/total prostate-specific antigen (%fPSA) tests in predicting the presence of clinically significant prostate cancer and in improving prostate cancer detection, according to the new study. The phi test focuses on measuring a subtype of PSA, called pro-PSA, that unlike the rudimentary total PSA, is preferentially made by aggressive prostate cancers and less so by normal prostate or slow-growing cancers. Sanda and his collaborators found that among men being considered for prostate biopsy due to abnormal results on the traditional “total” PSA test, one in four had phi test results that indicated no aggressive cancer would be found and unnecessary biopsy could be averted.

To learn more about this exciting new screening test, read the full story in the Emory News Center. For more prostate cancer and PSA screening related articles, check out our related resources at the end of this post.

About Martin Sanda, MD

Martin G. Sanda, MD is chair of the Department of Urology at Emory University School of Medicine and Urology service chief for Emory Healthcare. Before joining Emory in 2013, Sanda was Professor of Surgery in Urology at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Prostate Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and co-leader of the Prostate Cancer Program at the Dana Farber Cancer Center.

As a urological surgeon specializing in cancers of the prostate and bladder, Sanda focuses on developing new surgical and non-surgical approaches to cancer care and to improving the quality of life among cancer survivors.  Currently, he is spearheading studies that seek to develop urine tests for detecting prostate cancer; develop benchmarks for improving quality of life among cancer survivors; and develop innovative prostate cancer vaccines.

Sanda has served as chair of the Prostate and Genito-Urinary Collaborative Group of the National Cancer Institute’s Early Detection Research Network (2007-2010), has led two nationwide, NCI Cooperative Group prostate cancer clinical trials, and has served on the Research Council of the American Urological Association since 2011.  Dr. Sanda will also serve as Director of the Prostate Cancer Center, being established within the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Related Resources:

Cancer Survival Rates Expected to Rise by 37% over 10 years!

By the year 2022, there will be 18 million cancer survivors living in the United States, according to a recent report by the American Association for Cancer Research. The report points out that as survival rates increase and cancer survivors become an ever-growing portion of the population, a coordinated effort will become crucial to meeting long-term medical, psychosocial and practical needs.

When news of the boost in survivor numbers made headlines, CNN Newsroom anchor Brooke Baldwin brought Emory surgical oncologist Charles Staley, MD on set to interview him as both a cancer doctor, and a cancer survivor. Watch the full interview below:

As more people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis it is very important to educate survivors on the after effects, long term effects, nutrition, and fitness following cancer care. Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University has a Survivorship program to help patients get back to life after surviving cancer. Get more information about the survivorship program.

Over the course of the next few months we will highlight many different areas of survivorship on the Winship blog so make sure to follow us to get more detailed information on living after cancer.

Dr. Charles StaleyAbout Dr. Charles Staley

Dr. Staley is the Chief of Surgical Oncology for Emory University Hospital and Chief Medical Officer for Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Dr. Staley specializes in treating cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, small bowel and rectum. He has investigated gene therapy for metastatic colon cancer and radiofrequency ablation with intra-arterial chemotherapy for patients with colorectal liver metastases. Currently, he and his colleagues are exploring methods of using nanotechnology to treat and diagnose pancreatic and breast cancer. He joined Emory University School of Medicine faculty in 1995 after a surgical fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Staley earned his medical degree at Dartmouth University School of Medicine and conducted his residency at the University of Pittsburgh’s University Health Center. Dr. Staley is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, The Georgia Surgical Society, and the Society of Surgical Oncology.

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Winship Physician Named Nation’s Leading Young Cancer Researcher

Dr. Fadlo Khuri, Winship Cancer Institute

Dr. Fadlo R. Khuri, surrounded by colleagues at Winship Cancer Institute, including institute executive director Dr. Walter J. Curran Jr., who stands to Khuri’s immediate right.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University deputy director, Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, one of the world’s leading experts in lung and other aerodigestive cancers, will be awarded the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Memorial Award from the American Association for Cancer Research. The Rosenthal Award is given each year to an investigator under the age of 50 whose contributions to cancer research have led to new understandings of cancer and show promise for even greater advances in the future.

The award recognizes Dr. Khuri’s outstanding contributions and accomplishments as an investigator in lung and aerodigestive medical oncology, especially in the area of prevention and treatment of lung and head and neck cancers. He will receive the award April 10 at the AACR’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, executive director of Winship Cancer Institute, nominated Khuri for this award and said that the honor is not a surprise to those who know his work.

“Fadlo’s leadership in lung and head and neck cancer research is legendary, and he has helped advance our understanding of the nation’s number one cancer killer by introducing novel therapeutic agents that have changed how people live with this disease,” said Curran.

Khuri was instrumental in obtaining the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation to Winship Cancer Institute in 2009. He holds the Roberto C. Goizueta Chair in translational research at Emory University School of Medicine and is also the Editor-in-chief of Cancer.

Dr. Khuri’s achievement illustrates one of many ways Winship Cancer Institute is helping patients win the fight against cancer. Congratulations, Dr. Khuri!

Related Resources:

Canine Brain Tumor Trial Shows Promising Results!

Petey cancer clinical trialFox 5 News health reporter Beth Galvin features the first “patient” in a Brain Tumor trial that combined surgery with a new experimental agent. Petey, a dog, is a part of a research trial aimed at translating new brain cancer therapies to humans by assessing results in dogs with similar diseases.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University neurosurgeon, Costas Hadjipanayis, MD, PhD, developed the experimental agent in his Brain Tumor Nanotechology Laboratory. Petey’s tumor was partially removed in surgery at the University of Georgia (UGA) College of Veterinary Medicine, and the new, investigational drug was infused directly into the tumor area. Now, 15 months later, his tumor has shrunk and Petey is seizure-free and doing well. Watch the full story here:

 

Related Resources:

Winship Central to New Study Evaluating Bone Marrow vs. Blood Stem Cell Transplant

Patients with leukemia or blood-related cancers are typically treated with one of two techniques, either a bone marrow transplant, or a blood stem cell transplants. Currently, there are many studies are currently being conducted to determine which option is right for each patient type.

Past studies have shown that when blood stem cell (as opposed to bone marrow) transplants are used between HumanLeukocyte Antigen (HLA)-identical siblings, or siblings whose tissue is immunologically compatible,  the engraftment process is accelerated. Engraftment is when the donated cells, in this case, blood stem cells, begin to grow and produce their own new blood cells. However, with this benefit, there can be some risk. Studies have also shown that when blood stem cell transplants are used, the risk of acute and chronic graft-versus-host-diseaese (GVHD) is increased when compared to GVHD rates experienced by patients who receive bone marrow transplants. Other studies have demonstrated that patients with high-risk leukemia experience a decreased rate of relapse and improved survival rates from of blood stem cell transplant. Because these two treatment options have varying benefits and risks depending on unique patient circumstances, ongoing research is being conducted to better understand those potential benefits and  risks.

Edmund K. Waller, MD, Winship Cancer Institute

Edmund K. Waller, MD
Director of Bone Marrow & Stem Cell Transplant
Winship Cancer Institute

Edmund K. Waller, MD, Director of the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation Center at Winship Cancer Institute, was a key author and researcher in a study published on October 18, 2012, in the New England Journal of Medicine that could influence whether leukemia and blood-related cancer patients receive transplants from blood stem cells or bone marrow.

The study reported on the first randomized trial comparing bone marrow with peripheral blood stem cells (PBSC) for unrelated-donor transplantation. The trial involved 48 centers enrolling 551 patients as part of the Bone Marrow and Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN). Dr. Waller helped design the study, and his lab at Winship analyzed the cells in each type of graft as the central core lab for the trial.

The study found no significant difference in the overall survival rate at two years, and no difference in relapse rates or in acute graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). It did, however, find a significantly higher rate of chronic GVHD among patients receiving blood stem cell transplants.

Because GVHD can be a difficult and sometimes life-threatening complication from transplants, this finding could result in patients and their physicians choosing different treatments. At the very least, this finding will generate serious discussion among leaders in the transplant field about whether bone marrow or PBSC transplantation is a better treatment option.

Chronic GVHD starts more than three months after a transplant and can severely diminish a patient’s quality of life over his or her lifetime. Dr. Waller says the study leads him to believe that since the survival rates are the same, bone marrow should be the standard for the majority of unrelated-donor transplants. Exceptions to this would be patients with life-threatening infections and patients at high risk for graft rejection.

Winship played a key role in this study and, according to Waller, is part of on-going BMT CTN studies that will help shape transplant protocols and outcomes.

“This is an outstanding example of Winship investigators leading in the resolution of major questions in cancer care,” said Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, Deputy Director of the Winship Cancer Institute, and Chair of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University. “Dr. Waller and his colleagues have helped define a major question, namely, whether patients who receive grafts from unrelated donors should receive peripheral stem cells or cells from the bone marrow harvest of others. This is paradigm shifting work, and Dr. Waller and his colleagues are to be congratulated for their foresight and persistence in answering this important question.”

 Related Resources:

“TOTAL” Care for Lung Cancer – One Team, One Place, One Goal

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory UniversityEspecially in their later stages, lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases can be very complex to treat. The treatment of lung cancer can involve pulmonary surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pulmonary medicine specialists, interventional pulmonologists, pathologists, researches, nurses and supportive care team members. Because the treatment of pulmonary diseases like lung cancer requires a multifaceted and comprehensive team approach, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University has established the “TOTAL” Lung Clinic at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

The Winship Thoracic Oncology Treatment and Long Term Care Lung (TOTAL) Clinic at Emory University Hospital Midtown is designed to make it easier for patients with lung cancer and other pulmonary diseases to seek all of their treatment in one place, with one team who are working together to coordinate the care of each and every patient. Patients of the TOTAL Clinic are able to see up to four lung cancer specialists in one setting and one trip: thoracic surgeon; interventional pulmonologist; medical oncologist; and radiation oncologist. In addition, patients may consult with supportive services, including dietitians and social services, at the same visit and setting.

The TOTAL Clinic was started by the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University approximately a year ago to make the journey through lung cancer treatment and survival an easier one on our patients. Below, hear from two of the patients of the Thoracic Oncology Treatment and Long Term Care Lung Clinic  what comprehensive treatment and care means to them:

The team/clinic approach has worked well for me and continues to do so. Initially, I was referred to cardiac/thoracic department by neurology. It was here that I became acquainted with Dr. Berkowitz, Dr. Pickens, and Dr. Kono. I was diagnosed, given a plan of action, and started on this plan within days due to their cooperation and effort.

I applaud Emory for their approach to healing and their remarkable professionals.

-Elizabeth Ross

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, there was no question as to where I would begin my treatment.Emory’s top-notch reputation has lived up to all my expectations.

Through the entire process I have felt the doctor’s, nurses, and staff genuinely care about my well-being. That is one less concern for me as I battle to defeat this disease.

-Belinda Conley

For more information on the TOTAL Clinic, the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, or lung cancer treatment programs available at Emory Healthcare, please use the “Related Resources” links below.

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Emory Cancer Program Receives National Outstanding Achievement Award for Cancer Care

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory UniversityEstablished in 2004, The Commission on Cancer (CoC) Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) recognizes cancer programs that strive for excellence in providing quality care to cancer patients. Just recently, the CoC of the American College of Surgeons awarded a select group of 106 currently accredited and newly accredited cancer programs across the United States with its OAA.

We want to congratulate Emory University Hospital (EUH) and our physicians at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University for receiving a CoC Outstanding Achievement Award for 2011. EUH was the only hospital in Atlanta to be granted this award and only one of two in Georgia.

Rein Saral, MD, associate director for community affairs and outreach for Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, said he is pleased because the award recognizes the “extraordinary excellence of the overall collaboration between Emory University Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute, Georgia’s only NCI-designated cancer center.”

The OAA is granted to facilities that demonstrate a Commendation level of compliance with seven standards that represent six areas of cancer program activity: cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical management, research, community outreach, and quality improvement. The level of compliance with the seven standards is determined during an onsite evaluation by a physician surveyor. Awarded facilities must also receive a compliance rating for the remaining 29 cancer program standards.

For 2011, just 22 percent of the 489 programs surveyed received the award. A majority of recipients are community-based facilities; however, there were also teaching hospitals, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and Veterans Affairs hospitals that received the award.

To see a comprehensive list of all the CoC OAA winners, visit: http://www.facs.org/cancer/coc/outstandingachievement2011.html