SCCA Cancer News Watch

Here’s a quick summary of notable recent health and cancer news:

One Doctor’s Quest to Save People by Injecting Them With Scorpion Venom
Wired takes a look at what Fred Hutch’s Jim Olson is doing with scorpion venom–aka Tumor Paint–that helps surgeons see tumors in the brain. But perhaps what’s most novel about Olson’s work is not so much his research, but how he’s funding it. Instead of looking to government and other traditional sources, Olson has adopted techniques that seem more at home in Silicon Valley. A well-rounded and even-handed article that not only captures Olson’s work, but the compassion that’s driving it.

Can Doctors Teach the Body to Cure Cancer?
The Atlantic considers recent advances in cancer immunotherapy and features some of the research going on at Fred Hutch, including David Maloney’s work with CAR-T cells for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Dr. Maloney was also interviewed about this work earlier this year by Patient Power’s Andrew Schorr.

In Other Health and Cancer News
Scorpion venom may not only help paint tumor cells, Newsweek reports that it and bee venom may also be effective killing cancer cells. The Guardian published a first-person account of a woman whose dog–a miniature dachshund–detected her breast cancer. The Well at The New York Times reports on a study that shows that regularly taking small amounts of aspirin cuts the risk of developing colorectal, esophageal, and stomach cancers. storb-shellAnd the Seattle Times’ Gabriel Campanario sketches Dr. Rainer Storb’s daily commute by boat from Madison Park to his work here at South Lake Union.

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    Dr. Evan Yu Discusses New Immunotherapy Compound

    Dr. Evan Yu is leading a clinical trial here at SCCA that’s exploring how a new compound called MPDL3280A might work for patients with metastatic bladder cancer. In certain types of cancer, a protein, known as Programmed Death Ligand 1, or PD-L1, can attach itself to tumors and help them evade the body’s immune system. MPDL3280A works by blocking PD-L1, thus giving the immune system a chance to kill the tumor. In the video below, Dr. Yu discusses how MPDL3280A worked in previous trials and what it could mean for patients with bladder cancer.

    Click here to learn more about Dr. Yu’s trial and here to learn more about the work that’s going with immunotherapy at SCCA.

     

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      Five Minutes With Dr. V.K. Gadi

      Editor’s Note: “Five Minutes With” is a new series about SCCA’s staff and physicians that is designed to give our readers a look into the “non-clinical” side of the people who work at SCCA. If there’s a doctor or staff member that you would like to know more about, or perhaps a question that you would like us to ask, please let us know.

      vk-gadi-five-minutesV.K. Gadi has been practicing at SCCA since its inception in 2001. Dr. Gadi was raised in Decatur, Alabama and is the son of an engineer who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority and NASA. He’s a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of breast cancer, father of two daughters (5 and 9 years old), and once was a Seattle SuperSonics season ticket holder. Learn more about Dr. Gadi’s clinical and research expertise here.

      What hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing outside of work?
      Yoga, eating dinner, martial arts, poker, watching movies (not films).

      Do you have a personal motto?
      Ask forgiveness, not permission (an apt variation on Nike’s “just do it”). It gets me in trouble sometimes, but has probably made me who I am today.

      Who is the person you most admire?
      My wife. She is an intelligent, elegant woman who gracefully balances career and personal objectives. Moreover, she puts up with me, and for that alone she should get some sort of award.

      What’s the last book you read?
      014241381X
      I read fairly broadly (ask my patients – we often share titles), but nowadays it leans towards children’s literature. My five year old daughter and I just completed Boy, by Roald Dahl. It is an account of his early days growing up in England. It’s a book written for older children and adults, but she seemed to enjoy it so much.

      What is your favorite place to go in Seattle?
      My neighborhood. I’ve got great friends there and most times I am happy just to hang out with the wondrous individuals who live around us.

      If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
      Right now, the Eastern Mediterranean – Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt. There’s so much history and I’ve never been. Looking forward to it hopefully once all the unrest settles down.

      What is your favorite restaurant?
      Canlis—pretty old school I know, but killer views, unfussy atmosphere, excellent service, and top-notch food. A real Seattle gem. And Rumba— I’m giving you a second location, because one can’t go to Canlis frequently without going broke. It’s a rum bar. Nothing more to say after that!

      sonics-logo-100Mariners, Sounders, or Seahawks?
      Sonics – I am still hurting.

      iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone?
      iPhone, but my commitment is weak.

      What career could you see yourself in if you weren’t an oncologist?
      ESPN sports anchor – pretty vapid, but I can’t help myself. So I’ll stick to being a oncologist/researcher/professor type.

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        SCCA/Starbucks Cycling at Track National Championships

        This year USA Cycling has selected the Marymoor Velodrome for the location of the 2014 Masters Track National Championships. The fastest cyclists, aged 35 and up, will come from across the country to Marymoor Park in Redmond from Tuesday August 19th to Sunday August 24th.

        starbucks-track-cycling

        Ali McKay gears up for a flying 200 meter sprint.

        Competitors are separated out into various age groups that compete in a wide range of track races over the course of the week. There will be a full slate of racing each day generally including preliminary heats progressing to the finals. Check the schedule here. Races include individual and team time trial events (including pursuits), individual and team sprint, points races, scratch races and even the madison, a race popularized at Madison Square Garden in New York in the late 1800’s and early 1900s.

        Track Cycling began around 1870. At that time cycling was in its infancy and indoor tracks were built to provide for paid spectator venues. The tracks generally consist of an oval design with two straights and banked turns, which allow high-speed racing. Track bicycles are direct connected and do not allow coasting and do not have brakes. Cyclists regulate speed by foot pressure on the pedals.

        Constructed in 1975, the Marymoor Velodrome is located entirely within Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. The track is a 400 meter length track with 23 degree banking.

        SCCA/Starbucks Cycling will have competitors across many race types and age categories. Come on out and cheer us on as we compete against the best in the USA!

        Paul Camera is President of the SCCA/Starbucks Cycling Team. His day job is Director, Equipment and Packaging Development at Starbucks in Seattle.

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          SCCA Clinical Trial Openings

          clinical-trialsListed below are clinical trials that have opened at SCCA in the last several weeks. These trials are looking at new treatments for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer, metastatic prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). For more information about these trials, click on the links below. Check out our website to learn about the more than 200 ongoing clinical trials at SCCA. And follow us on Twitter at @SCCA_Trials for information about recently opened trials.

          Cabozantinib (XL184) vs Everolimus for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (METEOR)
          A Phase 3, Randomized, Controlled Study of Cabozantinib (XL184) vs Everolimus in Subjects With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma That Has Progressed After Prior VEGFR Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Therapy

          PRI-724 Plus Gemcitabine for Advanced or Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma (20141153)
          Phase Ib Multicenter, Cohort Dose Escalation Trial to Determine the Safety, Tolerance and Preliminary Antineoplastic Activity of Gemcitabine Administered in Combination with Continuous Intravenous Doses of PRI-724, a CBP/ B-Catenin Inhibitor, to Patients with Advanced or Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Eligible for Second-Line Therapy after Failing First-Line Therapy with FOLFIRINOX (or FOLFOX)

          PET Imaging as a Biomarker of Treatment Response for Prostate Cancer (8021)
          PET Imaging as a Biomarker of Systemic Treatment Response for Men with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

          MRI- and PET-Predictive-Assay for Cervical Cancer (8118)
          MRI- and PET-Predictive-Assay of Treatment Outcome in Cancer of the Cervix

          Lenvatinib (E7080) Vs Sorafenib as First-Line Treatment for Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma (20131240)
          A Multicenter, Randomized, Open-Label, Phase 3 Trial to Compare the Efficacy and Safety of Lenvatinib (E7080) Versus Sorafenib in First-Line Treatment of Subjects With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

          Cabozantinib (XL184) in Subjects with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Who Have Received Prior Sorafenib (20130857)
          A Phase 3, Randomized, Double-blind, Controlled Study of Cabozantinib (XL184) vs Placebo in Subjects with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Who Have Received Prior Sorafenib

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