News: Fall/Winter 2010

“Did You Smoke?”

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

When Martha McCann Lesnick’s granddaughter was about 6 years old, she asked her grandmother about the yellow LiveStrong wristband she wore. Lesnick explained that she wore it because she was fighting lung cancer. Her granddaughter replied: “oh yeah, that’s because…what did you do?” “She was talking about smoking,” says Lesnick, a Nashville songwriter and four-year [...]

Words to Live By

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Fingers speeding across a keyboard, Sigourney Cheek watched letters appear on the computer screen as she composed an electronic message that would mark a new chapter in her life. Pausing to find the right words, Cheek wondered if an e-mail was the proper way to tell close friends that she had just been diagnosed with [...]

DNA Mechanics

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Picture a railroad track, running across the countryside. DNA looks something like that track. Its “rails” are chains of chemicals called nucleotides, each pairing with a partner on the opposite chain to form the “ties.” To ensure timely train traffic – and prevent catastrophic derailments – the railroad track needs regular maintenance. So does DNA. [...]

Cancer Care Gets Personal

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has become the first cancer center in the Southeast and one of the first in the nation to offer adult cancer patients routine “genotyping” of their tumors at the DNA level. The recently launched Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative will personalize cancer treatment by matching the appropriate therapy to the genetic changes, or [...]

Ezra Fitz: In His Own Words

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

“It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.” – John Steinbeck In late January of 2006, I was looking neither at tide pools, nor at stars. I was staring intently – just as I am now, as I’m writing this – into a [...]

Caring for the Whole Patient

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

For more than 30 years, surgical nurse Carolyn Watts, M.S.N., R.N., has tended to patients’ wounds. But healing, she notes, is about more than just the physical wounds. As she often tells nursing students: “Look at the whole patient, and not just the hole in the patient.” This holistic approach is especially important in cancer [...]

News from around the Cancer Center

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Cancer Center’s NCI support grant renewed Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year renewal of its Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) from the National Cancer Institute. Under the NCI’s Cancer Center Support Grant Program, VICC will receive more than $6.2 million a year for the next five years. The total represents a 12.7 percent [...]

Recent Publications by VICC Researchers

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is committed to conducting innovative, high-impact basic, translational and clinical research with the greatest potential for making a difference for cancer patients, today and in the future. Here’s a sampling of recent work published in peer-reviewed journals by center investigators: New melanoma drug shows promise A personalized approach to treating metastatic melanoma [...]

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 [...]

The Waiting Game

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Bomar Herrin, M.D., never missed a workout. At 58, he was averaging 16 pull-ups, punching the speed bag and doing the grueling P90X exercise program. But during his regular weightlifting routine in July 2009, Herrin felt something snap near his right shoulder. Drawing on his 30-year career as an emergency medicine physician, he thought he [...]