Cell hunters: the quest to diagnose pancreatic cancer early

Part 1: Diane Simeone, M.D.

pancreatic cancer cells

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of blogs that focus on members of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center. Led by an inter-disciplinary team of scientists and clinicians, the Center holds the promise to significantly change the bleak statistics associated with this disease by revolutionizing pancreatic cancer care. One diagnostic tool they are advancing involves detecting pancreatic cancer cells in the bloodstream before any sign of cancer is obvious through current diagnostic techniques. The successful hunt for these cells would result in a tool for earlier detection, when treatment is more likely to be successful.

The first thing you notice about Diane Simeone, M.D., the Lazar J. Greenfield Professor of Surgery and director of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, is her tireless passion for finding better ways to detect and treat pancreatic cancer. So far, the survival prospects for this disease are dismal, she’ll tell you. Continue reading

Conquering cancer through innovation and collaboration: the year in review

new-year2014 was another year of discovery and innovation at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center as we work toward our goal of conquering cancer. Here are summaries of select clinical, laboratory and population collaborations by Cancer Center members that will benefit cancer patients everywhere:

  • March 25, 2014: 25% of breast cancer survivors report financial decline due to treatment, and the financial impact varied greatly by race. “As oncologists, we are proud of the advances in our ability to cure an increasing proportion of patients diagnosed with breast cancer. But as treatments improve, we must ensure that we do not leave these patients in financial ruin because of our efforts,” says study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil. In a second study, Dr. Jagsi found
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Is your course of radiation treatment longer than it needs to be?

patient and doctor in an exam room

Radiation oncologist Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., consults with a patient

Mounting evidence finds that delivering higher doses of radiation per treatment is as effective in some breast cancer patients as a traditional course where smaller doses are given over a longer time period. The new method, called hypofractionation, involves about 3-4 weeks of daily radiation treatments, instead of the usual 5-week or longer course.

But several newly published studies have found that hypofractionated radiation is not widely used.

Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, led two of these studies. Looking at a national database of patients, she and her colleagues found that hypofractionation was used in only 13.6% of Medicare patients with breast cancer. In Michigan, Jagsi’s other study found, fewer than one-third of patients who fit the criteria for offering this approach got the shorter course of treatment. Continue reading

Maize and Blue Go Pink raises $100K+ for breast cancer research

Go Pink2The second annual Maize and Blue Go Pink event was held at the Somerset Collection on Thursday, Aug. 21. The event, in partnership with The Forbes Company, owners of the Somerset Collection, was attended by more than 200 guests and raised over $100,000 to support breast cancer research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The evening began with a VIP reception that included a fashion-focused live auction co-emceed by WDIV Channel 4’s Ashlee Baracy and Neiman Marcus style adviser Ken Dewey.  Throughout the evening, dueling pianos greeted guests as they entered Somerset Collection’s south wing for a progressive culinary and wine experience while they shopped.

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Do women have access to breast reconstruction?

Doctor holding X-ray film and woman in pink braFewer than half of women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer have breast reconstruction. A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds 42% of women who were surveyed had breast reconstruction.

The study, published in JAMA Surgery, looked at 485 women treated with mastectomy for breast cancer, following up with them an average of four years after their diagnosis.

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New prostate cancer study paves way for potential treatment changes

minority menResults of a phase 3 clinical trial will change the way oncologists treat advanced prostate cancer. The findings were announced this weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, where oncologists throughout the country present information on new cancer research.

Maha Hussain, M.D., a medical oncologist who treats prostate cancer patients at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of the co-authors on the study.

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