Das Gupta symposium discussing improving cancer care for all patients

The Third Annual Dr. Tapas Das Gupta Cancer Research Symposium will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Student Center West’s Thompson Room, second floor, 828 S. Wolcott Ave. The theme of this year’s symposium is “Immuno-oncology: Opportunities to Improve Cancer Care for All Patients.” All students, researchers and healthcare providers in cancer-related fields are welcome.

This year’s presenters are:

Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACP, FASCO, will discuss “Building a Learning Healthcare System.”

“To make meaningful progress in health care, we must develop effective methods to collect, exchange and analyze essential health care data on a large scale,” said Bertagnolli, the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at Dana-Farber/Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center. “We must also have mechanisms to feedback knowledge generated at a level specific enough to allow decision-making on an individual patient level.

“Fortunately, the technology to make this a reality is widely available. The next step is to engage the clinical research community in the process.”

Bertagnolli, who has a background in laboratory work focusing on understanding the role of the inflammatory response in epithelial tumor formation, also serves as associate surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, where she collaborates with colleagues in medical oncology, radiation oncology, and pathology to treat cancer patients in a tertiary care setting.

Nita Ahuja, MD, MBA, FACS is the Chair of the Department of Surgery at Yale School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief at Yale New Haven Hospital. Ahuja’s presentation is titled “Epigenetic Immuno Priming as a Treatment Modality in Solid Tumors.”

“Only in the past decade have we begun to fully recognize the extent to which cancer cells use epigenetics to abnormally reprogram cells,” said Ahuja, who is the first woman in Yale’s more than 200 years to lead the department of surgery. “The advancement of genome sequencing in the clinical arena has informed our thinking about epigenetic therapy strategies for personalized cancer care.”

Ahuja’s lecture takes a critical look at immune priming with epigenetic agents as a treatment modality in solid tumors, and the potential to reverse cancer-associated epigenetic abnormalities to reprogram neoplastic cells.

Shelley Hwang, MD, MPH, is the Mary and Deryl Hart Endowed Professor of Surgery, Professor of Radiology, Vice Chair of Research for the Duke Department of Surgery, and co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Program at the Duke Cancer Institute. Her national leadership roles include membership on the National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Screening Committee and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Screening Guidelines Committee.

Hwang’s research interests include breast cancer prevention, identifying less invasive treatments for early stage breast cancers, and understanding the genetic and stromal determinants of cancer progression. She leads an interdisciplinary research team, which includes projects related to oncolytic vaccine therapy for advanced breast cancer. Hwang is the national principal investigator of a cooperative group study through the ALLIANCE, the COMET trial, which studies de-escalation of treatment for in situ breast disease. She serves as co-principal investigator of the international CRUK PRECISION Grand Challenge project on early stage breast cancer, and she leads the multi-site NCI Precancer Atlas project, which is part of the Human Tumor Atlas Network. Hwang is the top funded surgeon-scientist in the country in 2019.

University of Illinois Cancer Center Patient Brigade member Leniel Scott will also be a presenter. Scott was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2014; he has been cancer free for five years. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, Scott spent 15 years as a job coach assisting people with vision loss to gain permanent employment. For the past 12 years, he has coordinated daily operations and supervised a work team at a clock manufacturing plant.

An Arkansas native, Scott has lived in Chicago for 57 years. He spends time offering support to friends battling illness, and enjoys traveling with his wife and spending time with his grandchildren.

Registration will close on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Use password gupta2019 to register.  Lunch will be provided.

More information.

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