University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Video Blogs

October 2014 — Free to Breathe Advocacy Summit Group Visits
UPCI Lung Cancer Research Labs

Members of the Free To Breathe Advocacy Summit Group recently toured the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), including Lung Cancer Program laboratories, to learn more about the approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer that UPCI researchers are developing and employing.

Dr. Nancy Davidson (Director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC CancerCenter) and Dr. Timothy Burns (Assistant Professor of Medicine and researcher in the UPCI Lung Cancer Program) welcomed about 70 members of the group Free to Breathe, which is an organization dedicated to funding lung cancer research, ensuring patients have access to clinical trials and advocating for the latest treatments for lung cancer patients. The group is made up of doctors, patients, caregivers and other advocates whose goal is to double lung cancer survival by the year 2022.

Watch the video below to learn more:

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September 2014 — Targeted Radiation, Drug Therapy Combo Less Toxic for Treatment of Recurrent Head, Neck Cancers

Physician-researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)/ UPMC CancerCenter report that patients with a recurrence of head and neck cancer who have previously been given radiation can be treated more quickly, safely, and with less side effects with high doses of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) in combination with the drug cetuximab.

Between July 2007 and March 2013, doctors treated 48 patients with the combination therapy. All of the patients were able to complete the treatments, which were administered in a span of about two weeks compared to traditional therapies which can take up to nine weeks. Severe toxicity was reported at 12 percent using the combination therapy, compared to upwards of 85 percent using conventional therapies.

The results of this study were presented at the 2014 American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in San Francisco. Watch John Vargo, MD, a radiation oncology resident at UPCI/ UPMC CancerCenter and one of the lead authors, discuss this study.

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July 2014 — Potential Breast Cancer Drug Performs Well in Early Clinical Trials

A drug previously studied to improve chemotherapy may be effective in treating patients with cancers related to the BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutations, as well as patients with BRCA-like breast cancers, according to a UPCI clinical trial. The drug, veliparib (ABT-888), is a PARP inhibitor, which means it lowers the resistance of cancer cells to treatment by targeting the polymerase (PARP) family of enzymes responsible for a wide variety of cellular processes in cancer cells, particularly DNA repair.

Watch medical oncologist Shannon Puhalla, MD discuss results of the phase I study, which were presented at the 50th annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.

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