News: Director’s Letter

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The Promise of Cancer Immunotherapy

Monday, June 15th, 2015

The idea of using immune cells to treat cancer isn’t new; however, recently basic scientists and clinical investigators have garnered enough mechanistic insight and clinical data to realize the promise of cancer immunotherapy. New immunotherapy drugs were approved late last year, and in trials we saw that more patients were responding to the drugs and [...]

Preventing Cancer

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

When I was a postdoctoral fellow in the early 1990s, two large epidemiologic studies showed that a select group of human papilloma virus (HPV) types is responsible for premalignant lesions found in Pap smear screening and for the development of most cervical cancers. Later studies showed that nearly all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. [...]

An Exciting Time

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

We know that half of all cancer cases are preventable or detectable early, and imaging plays a big role in early detection of tumors. For example, our new lung cancer screening program, just launched in January, provides low-dose CT scans for patients at high risk for lung cancer, one of the deadliest cancers. Ninety percent [...]

Our Mission

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

We’re strong and we’re advancing in our fight against cancer. That’s the feeling permeating Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, even as the health care industry faces unprecedented financial concerns and we proactively tighten our budgets here at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. I’m reminded of the name of this magazine—Momentum. Every day I can feel the movement and [...]

Signature Strengths

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I opened my lab in the Cancer Center at Vanderbilt on St. Patrick’s Day in 1995, and remember thinking what a “lucky” date to move into a lab. I never imagined that 12 years later I would be leading one of the nation’s premier cancer centers. When I was asked to be interim director in [...]

Decoding Cancer

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Do you know which physical traits you inherited from your parents and grandparents? I’m fairly tall and so are my parents, so I can surmise that my tall stature was linked to an inherited trait. Each of us inherits cells with a set of chromosomes containing the genetic information passed down from our parents. Genes [...]

Battling Blood Cancers

Friday, June 29th, 2012

One person in the United States dies every 10 minutes from a blood cancer – leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. This year more than 140,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed and more than 53,000 will die from these blood cancers, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The good news is the overall [...]

The Next 40 Years

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Just over 40 years ago, on Dec. 23, 1971, President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act and our country waged an unofficial “War on Cancer.” This prompted a significant boost in U.S. investment in cancer research, with the National Cancer Institute alone spending more than $105 billion in the years since. Other government agencies, foundations [...]

Successes and Challenges in Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

The nearly 100 percent five-year survival rate for localized prostate cancer is one of the great success stories in the field. But when a man is told he has prostate cancer, it quickly becomes clear just how frightening and confusing that diagnosis can be. Fortunately, there are many treatment options. But for early stage, localized [...]

Confronting Lung Cancer’s Stigma

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

I’m no fan of smoking. In fact, I wish we could reduce the smoking rate in this country to zero. Even if this wish were to come true, between 15,000 and 25,000 Americans would still die of lung cancer each year. Tobacco use is a key issue in lung cancer. The link between smoking and [...]