Immunotherapy

We’re very excited about bringing this new series of clinical trials to our patients. The promise of outsmarting cancer and disarming its defenses by ramping up our own innate immune systems has never been more real.

I am the Vice Chair for Translational Research in the Department of Medicine and the Director of Cancer Vaccine and Dendritic Cell Therapies in the Center for Immunotherapy. My goal is to fix cancer-related immune dysfunction and teach our bodies to fight cancer.

I have been battling cancer successfully for 11 years. Looking back at my first diagnosis — stage 2 breast cancer, at age 42 — I downplay it now, because what happened next was so tragic.

In December 2016, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) announced a major collaboration focused on an emerging area of cancer research: neoantigens. These small proteins on the surface of cancer cells arise from mutations often unique to a tumor, making personalized immunotherapies like cancer vaccines a possibility.

Rowell Park is exploding in growth, in excitement; we have so many great things to look forward to. One of my visions for the future is that our immunotherapy research and treatments will make us the go-to place for patients that wish to receive innovative cancer therapies.

You may not realize it, but your body is home to a lot of microbes — way more than you might think. In healthy humans, “microbial cells outnumber human cells by about ten to one,” according to the Human Microbiome Project of the National Institutes of Health.

OK, time to stifle the Thanksgiving jokes about turkey making you drowsy. Yes, there’s an amino acid called tryptophan in turkey, and it does help your body produce a chemical called serotonin, which promotes a good night’s sleep. But chicken, beef, nuts, and cheese also contain tryptophan, and no one’s pointing the finger at them. So if you nod off after dinner, it’s probably due to all the carbs in that pile of brown-and-serve rolls you scarfed down.
Roswell Park is opening a clinical trial to study the CIMAvax-EGF® vaccine, a cancer treatment that was developed in Cuba. It will be used to treat lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer death worldwide. This vaccine trial is innovative in three significant ways.
The report released yesterday by the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel, a group convened by Vice President Biden last winter, highlighted some big ideas and high-impact opportunities in oncology.
During the Buffalo Cancer Moonshot Summit, Roswell Park joined a national conversation on how to end cancer as we know it. This initiative, backed by Vice President Joe Biden, intends to double the speed of cancer research and remove barriers to clinical trials by improving access to information.
If you are considering starting a clinical trial, either because your doctor recommended it or because you or an advocate found a trial that seems appropriate, I have this easy advice: “GO FOR IT!” What have you got to lose? Trials are safe, well researched and documented. You, as a patient, are monitored and cared for like you never thought possible. You have so much to gain!
“Happy birthday to me.” KayEllen Gebhart says this in a flat voice, recalling her birthday in 2008 — the day she learned she had stage III ovarian cancer. The bad news came after a CT scan to find out what was causing the “tummy issues” her family doctor thought might be caused by her gallbladder.