December Tip Sheet from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

by Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center 

December 2023 TIP SHEET: . . . How interactions between tumor genes, microenvironment affect multiple myeloma treatment responses, a new AI technique could guide glioblastoma treatment, new research shows birth country a key risk factor in stomach cancer, how petrochemicals fuel cancer risk, a researcher/technology innovator earns a prestigious honor and profiles of two nurse leaders inspiring future oncology nurses are included in this month’s tip sheet from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Blood Cancer

How Interactions Between Tumor Genes, Microenvironment Influence Treatment Response in Multiple Myeloma

A multicenter study led by Sylvester has identified how interactions between tumor cells and immune components of the microenvironment can impact treatment responses and outcomes in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who undergo combination therapy that includes targeted immunotherapy. “This study adds significant information that will result in better clinical trials and more effective therapies for patients with high-risk disease,” said C. Ola Landgren, M.D., hematologist/oncologist and director of the Myeloma Institute at Sylvester. He and colleague Francesco Maura, M.D., were key authors of the Nature Cancer article.

Brain Cancer

New AI Technique Could Guide Real-time Glioblastoma Treatment

Physicians typically treat glioblastoma, a common and deadly brain cancer, with CT-guided radiation therapy. This technique allows for targeted therapy, but yields limited real-time data about tumor progression. Now, however, Sylvester researchers are studying use of MRI-guided radiation therapy that combines daily MRIs with radiation treatment to gain real-time insight into disease progression. They also are deploying artificial intelligence featuring a machine-learning approach to analyze massive image data to determine if the tumor is shrinking or growing during treatment. “This project was really tailor-made for deep learning,” said Radka Stoyanova, Ph.D., who’s spearheading the research with Eric Mellon, M.D., Ph.D., co-leader of Sylvester’s Neurologic Cancer Site Disease Group, and colleagues.

Stomach Cancer

Birth Country Key Factor in Developing Precursor to Stomach Cancer

Sylvester researchers have found that country of birth, not just geographic region, is a key risk factor for gastric intestinal metaplasia, a precursor lesion of stomach cancer. Their work, published in The Lancet Regional Health – Americas, also identified considerable variability among countries – even those with geographic proximity. “We need to carefully and precisely identify risk by country of birth, and our findings may help shape screening and surveillance programs in the U.S. and other countries with large immigrant populations,” said Shria Kumar, M.D., clinical epidemiologist and gastroenterologist and researcher in gastrointestinal cancer risk mitigation at Sylvester.

Cancer Risks

Commentary Explains How Petrochemicals Fuel Cancer Risks

A Sylvester researcher and collaborators have penned a commentary highlighting how petrochemicals are a major contributor to cancer risks, resulting in a profoundly negative impact on overall health. “Fossil fuels are extracted, refined, processed, transported, used and ultimately disposed of, and each step along the way poses additional health risks,” said James Shultz, PhD, a Sylvester faculty member and associate professor in Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences, and senior author of the article. Their viewpoint article was published Nov. 2 in JAMA Oncology,

Professional Honor

Cancer Researcher and Technology Innovator Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Shanta Dhar, Ph.D., assistant director of Technology and Innovation at Sylvester, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Dhar, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, is also a full member of Sylvester’s Translational and Clinical Oncology Program and co-leader of its Engineering Cancer Cure Program. She joins Nobel Prize laureates, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine members and other accomplished academic inventors in the 2023 class. Read more about Dhar’s research and accomplishments on the InventUM blog.

Oncology Nursing

Sylvester Nursing Leader Named President-Elect of Oncology Society

Jessica MacIntyre, ARNP, NP-C, AOCNP, executive director for clinical operations at Sylvester, will serve as the next president of the Oncology Nursing Society. She is currently president-elect and will transition to ONS president in April 2024. “I am honored to be the next president of ONS and look forward to contributing to this great organization that has supported me through the early stages of my career and beyond,” said MacIntyre, adding that she is proud to represent Sylvester in this role.

Barriers, Challenges Prove No Match for Sylvester Nurse Practitioner

Anastasia Santiago, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP, began life in a modest Miami neighborhood with few opportunities. Despite naysayers and a circuitous path filled with challenges, Santiago persevered to earn her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees while working full time at night. Today, she serves as the advanced practice supervisor for Sylvester’s Division of Hematology and a hematology nurse practitioner who supervises care coordination for clinics in the Leukemia Program. Santiago ensures that interdisciplinary care plans are executed without a hitch, from transportation to supportive care. Read more about her inspiring story on the InventUM blog.

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