If we are to reduce the number of lives lost to cancer today and into the future, we must do our jobs better. That means intensifying our ability to characterize individual tumors and developing treatments tailored specifically to them. It also means making the treatments we already have safer for patients and preventing new cancers in the first place.
In this issue of Synthesis, we explore two very different projects that take aim at the toxicity that can go along with certain diagnostic tests generally and with cancer treatment specifically. In one, you will learn about Diana Miglioretti, who combs large databases of patient data to look for any associated risk with cancer and a child’s exposure to medical radiation, such as computed tomography. In another, you’ll meet Megan Daly and Yoshihiro Yamamoto, who are working on technologies to home in on a tumor with radiation therapy in a moving lung without damaging critical functional tissue.
Synthesis also will introduce you to two exceptional individuals who have recently brought their expertise to UC Davis and who will help us expand our research enterprise: Kate Rauen, an expert in certain pediatric genetic mutations also found in many cancers; and Bradley Pollock, public health epidemiologist with a focus on pediatric cancer.
You will also meet Yvonne Wan, a nationally known liver researcher who studies imbalances in gastrointestinal bacteria (microbiota) that can contribute to gastrointestinal and liver cancer. Her basic research may also yield clues to the role healthy bacteria play in preventing these cancers.
Finally, we introduce a growing cadre of oncology professionals who work in our clinics and our hospital: nurse practitioners. These advanced practice nurses not only facilitate access for patients by extending the reach of oncologists, but help provide patient-centered care and improve cost-effectiveness.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Synthesis.