For decades, medical cancer treatment has generally meant chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, alone or in combination. But things are changing rapidly. Today, new approaches such as immunotherapies and targeted therapies are becoming available, with many more in research and development. In many cases, the new treatments are more effective, with fewer side effects. “It’s an exciting time to be in cancer research and cancer discovery,” said Colin Duckett, PhD, professor of pathology, interim chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, and vice dean for basic science. “We’re moving into this era where we have a new set of tools we can use to treat cancer.” Researchers in the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) and across the School of Medicine are helping to create these new tools, fueled by the knowledge and experience of experts from a wide range of disciplines.
Health challenges across the globe — everything from climate change to infectious disease and better treatment options for patients — precipitate the need for skilled physician-scientists: physicians who see patients in the clinic and who also devote time to scientific research. Duke programs including the Office of Physician-Scientist Development and the Medical Scientist Training Program are helping to meet that need.
As the new chief patient officer at the American Cancer Society, Arif Kamal is working to ensure that cancer treatment goes beyond providing the appropriate therapy and also addresses each patient’s individual circumstances.
Lori Pierce, a radiation oncologist, professor, and vice provost for academic and faculty affairs at the University of Michigan, says there is an important but frequently misunderstood distinction between “equality of care” and “equity of care.”
Eugenie S. Kleinerman, chair of the Division of Pediatrics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is exploring how to alter the tumor microenvironment to increase the efficacy of treatments and improve outcomes.
2019 Nobel Prize winner Bill Kaelin says he’d be disappointed if he could predict the next big thing in cancer research and care, because many of the greatest advances come from unexpected directions.
Look at almost any arena within the world of medicine, science, and health care across the nation and beyond, and you will find individuals serving as leaders who learned and trained at Duke University School of Medicine.
Third-year Duke medical student Emily Alway grew up near Detroit, but every July, her family would travel to North Carolina for Lumbee homecoming, which includes a parade and a pow-wow. The Lumbee Tribe is the largest Native American tribe in North Carolina, and its members have traditionally lived in Robeson, Cumberland, Hoke, and Scotland counties in the southeastern part of the state.
One of the most powerful moments Phil Lister, MD’79, had in medical school came during a lecture by Adhemar "Jim" Renuart, BS’52, MD’56, HS’57. Renuart shared with the students the challenges he experienced as both a doctor and a father to a child with medical issues.
Health care professionals found themselves facing a whirlwind of unknowns at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Among the many unanswered questions was what effect shutdowns, social isolation, and the virus itself would have on children. Despite what some stated at the time, Kurt Newman, MD’78, and his colleagues at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., believed there was cause for concern.