Plumbing the Core and Nibbling at the Margins of Cancer

Cancer Commons Editor in Chief George Lundberg, MD, is the face and curator of this invitation-only column

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    Meet Deb Christensen, Nurse Navigator for People Facing Advanced Cancer

    With: Deb Christensen, MSN, APRN, AOCNS, OCN

    For people with advanced cancer, making sense of the complexities of cancer treatment can be truly daunting. Enter the oncology nurse navigator (ONN), a nurse with specialized training to help patients overcome any barriers they may face in accessing high-quality cancer care. At Cancer Commons, our Director of Patient Services Deb Christensen, MSN, APRN, AOCNS, OCN, applies her ONN training to ensure that every… Read more »

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    Cardiometabolic Medications That Inhibit mTOR Might Help Prevent or Treat Cancer

    With: William H. Bestermann Jr, MD

    Many people believe that cancer is a metabolic disease. A biological process known as the mTOR pathway controls cellular metabolism by way of central signaling, and it is involved in tumor growth. Here, our Curious Dr. George asks William H. Bestermann Jr, MD, an internal medicine doctor, how medications that target the protein mTOR and its associated pathway could prevent or treat cancer. Dr.… Read more »

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    Using Virtual Trials to Screen for Potential Glioblastoma Therapies

    With: Al Musella, DPM

    The existing drug development system “has failed miserably” for people with glioblastoma brain tumors, according to Al Musella, DPM, President of the Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research & Information, Inc. In partnership with Cancer Commons, his organization’s Brain Tumor Virtual Trial aims to speed discovery of promising new glioblastoma treatments. Curious Dr. George: How might your Virtual Trial approach speed the process toward… Read more »

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    How an Expert Would Manage His Wife’s Metastatic Breast Cancer

    With: Richard B. Schwab, MD

    For most people with breast cancer, a lump is the first sign that leads to diagnosis. But some cases are not detected until after spread has already occurred. Here, our Curious Dr. George asks Richard B. Schwab, MD, how he would approach such a case if his own wife were the patient. Dr. Schwab is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and… Read more »

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    How Would an Expert Handle His Own Cancer of Unknown Origin Causing Severe Back Pain?

    With: Marc B. Garnick, MD

    Treating cancer that has been fully diagnosed can be a complex challenge. But sometimes the process of diagnosis itself presents an urgent puzzle. Here, our Curious Dr. George asks Marc B. Garnick, MD, how he would approach his own case of an unknown form of cancer. Dr. Garnick is the Gorman Brothers Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Beth Israel Deaconess… Read more »

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    How an Expert Would Treat Her Own Metastatic Melanoma

    With: Pauline Funchain, MD

    Cancer patients often ask their doctors, “What would you do if you were me?” Here, our Curious Dr. George asks Cleveland Clinic oncologist Pauline Funchain, MD, how she would handle her own diagnosis of advanced melanoma. Curious Dr. George: What would you do if you personally were discovered on a routine exam to have abnormal liver function tests that led to scans and the… Read more »

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    The Latest in Melanoma Treatment: A Guest Perspective

    With: Ryan Sullivan, MD

    What’s new in melanoma treatment? Our chief scientist Emma Shtivelman, PhD, recently outlined the latest options. Here, our Curious Dr. George invites a response from Ryan Sullivan, MD, Associate Director of the Melanoma Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Curious Dr. George: As a melanoma expert, what are your thoughts on the treatments outlined in our… Read more »

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    Helping Patients Access Investigational Treatments

    With: Lea Ann Browning-McNeeSusan C. Winckler, RPh, Esq.

    For some advanced cancer patients, the best course of action may lie beyond standard treatment options. Some of these patients can enroll in clinical trials that investigate promising new treatments. But others may find their best option is to apply for individual “expanded access” to an investigational treatment. Here, our Curious Dr. George asks two leaders from the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and… Read more »

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    When is the Best Time to Seek a Clinical Trial for Glioblastoma?

    With: Eric Wong, MD

    For some people with glioblastoma brain tumors, enrolling in a clinical trial enables access to cutting-edge treatment. Here, our Curious Dr. George talks clinical trials with Cancer Commons Expert Physician Advisor, Eric T. Wong, MD. Dr. Wong is also Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Co-Director of the Brain Tumor Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Curious Dr. George: Malignant… Read more »

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    How Can Detection of Tumor DNA in the Blood Aid Advanced Cancer Treatment?

    With: Alexey Aleshin, MD, MBAPaul Billings, MD, PhD

    As a tumor grows, it may shed fragments of its DNA into the patient’s bloodstream. After treatment, if part of the tumor remains or it begins to grow again, more of this circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) may enter the blood. That raises the possibility that detecting ctDNA could help clinicians monitor molecular or minimal residual disease—cancer that remains after treatment and cannot be detected… Read more »