TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2012) — Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women. More than 226,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States. Moffitt Cancer Center has experts available for interviews during National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Moffitt Institute for Robotic Cancer Surgery
Eric Toloza, M.D., Ph.D., and Jacques-Pierre Fontaine, M.D., are two of a few highly skilled surgeons across the country specializing in robotic-assisted lung cancer surgery. Minimally invasive robotic surgery offers physicians enhanced 3-D visualization and increased dexterity to remove tumors from hard-to-reach areas within the lungs and chest cavity. Because minimally invasive surgery requires only a few small incisions, many patients who might not be good candidates for open lung surgery may benefit from the use of robotics. Minimally invasive surgery means smaller scars and faster healing, decreased pain and shorter hospital stays.
CT Lung Cancer Screening Program
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has published guidelines for lung cancer screening that recommend helical low-dose computed tomography for people at high risk. This is the first approved lung cancer screening tool. Moffitt is offering low-dose CT lung cancer screening for this high-risk population. For those who don’t meet the criteria, a physician’s order is required. Appointments can be made with a pulmonologist in Moffitt’s lung cancer program to discuss the pros and cons of screening. To schedule a chest CT screening appointment, call the New Patient Appointment Center at 813-745-3980 or 1-888-860-2778. For questions, call Cancer Answers at 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488). Scans are $230.
Researchers are working to develop treatments that use a patient’s own immune system to prevent lung cancer, as well as its recurrence. A better understanding of cancer biology and immunology is opening the door to new therapeutic approaches:
- P53 Vaccine Trial – Moffitt investigators have developed and tested a new vaccine using dendritic cells transduced via an adenoviral construct with wild-type p53 tumor suppressor gene (INGN 225), based on the potential of the mutated p53 protein to serve as a target antigen for immunotherapy. Highly frequent mutations of the p53 gene in small cell lung cancer result in a selective protein overexpression in cancer cells as compared to normal cells. Alberto A. Chiappori, M.D., Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, M.D., Ph.D., and Scott J. Antonia, M.D., Ph.D., are leading this effort.
- CRS–207 Immunotherapy Trial – Moffitt is offering a clinical trial, led by Antonia, to evaluate the immune response of therapeutic vaccine CRS-207 in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. This therapeutic vaccine targets mesothelin, a cell surface tumor antigen present on normal mesothelial cells that is highly expressed in many human tumors including virtually all mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center
Moffitt recently opened the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center. The specialized program of the Department of Thoracic Oncology offers a multimodality approach with a strong emphasis on clinical research to develop novel treatments utilizing immunotherapy and therapeutic vaccines. The treatment team — Antonia; Tawee Tanvetyanon, M.D.; Craig W. Stevens, M.D., Ph.D.; and Fontaine — has special interest and expertise in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The vision of this center is to provide state-of-the-art treatment of mesothelioma to achieve a cure and restore quality of life to our patients.
Moffitt’s lung program offers a comprehensive radiation therapy program that combines the strength of a skilled, experienced team with advanced radiotherapy technology. Patients benefit from the latest image-guided Stereotactic Radiosurgery tools that allow physicians to sculpt or shape the radiation beam, as well as change the dose intensity and angle. This capability maximizes the effectiveness of treatment while minimizing radiation exposure and harm to healthy tissue nearby. Many patients have treatment with real-time daily image guidance. This computer-controlled dose delivery allows treatment to hit the tumor site with pinpoint accuracy and precise margins, reducing radiation dose to healthy tissues and reducing complication risk.
Thoracic Personalized Medicine Clinical Trials
- Moffitt is participating in the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium. The consortium represents the largest national initiative to prospectively examine non-small cell lung cancer tumors and match patients to the best possible therapies. The consortium includes 16 leading cancer centers across the country. The primary goal is to provide the most up-to-date care for lung cancer patients while collecting valuable information about the frequency and characteristics of abnormalities found in lung tumors to further improve patient care. The consortium is coordinated by a crossinstitutional group of researchers and the National Lung Cancer Partnership. Eric B. Haura, M.D., serves as Moffitt’s principal investigator.
- Crizotinib was recently approved for non-small cell lung cancer patients with ELM4-ALK, a gene that causes cancer growth. Moffitt was one of the clinical trial sites, and Chiappori was principal investigator. Additional trials are being developed for patients who develop a resistance to Crizotinib.
- Analyzing tumors on the molecular level allows Moffitt to offer targeted treatments and clinical trials. Investigators are developing trials for lung cancer patients with EGFR, KRAS, DDR2, PIK3CA and BRAF mutations. Chiappori, Haura and Mary C. Pinder-Schenck, M.D., are the principal investigators.
The Lung and Thoracic Tumor Education (LATTE) forum will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2 at Moffitt’s Vincent A. Stabile Research Building. Patients, families, caregivers and the public are invited to this free forum offering tours of Moffitt’s lung cancer research labs and updates from experts on new advances in lung cancer research, treatment, screening and prevention. “The forum offers members of the lung cancer community the opportunity to engage with leading experts in the field to learn about the latest advancements in lung cancer treatment and research. Our goal is to ensure patients and family members have the support and resources they need to make informed decisions,” said LATTE coordinator Christie Pratt, M.A., DHSc. The forum will feature patient testimonials and a Q-and-A with Haura. Resources and educational materials will also be available. The forum will include a sneak peak debut of “Living with Lung Cancer,” a video documentary showcasing the emotional side of being diagnosed. The video features patients and survivors of lung cancer. Attendees will have the opportunity to film their stories to be showcased in this documentary.
Prelude to a Cure Spring Fundraiser
Prelude to a Cure will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 19 at Carol Morsani Hall at The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. This fundraiser is in partnership with The Florida Orchestra’s Mozart’s “Requiem,” its highly anticipated performance with the Master Chorale. The event features a VIP cocktail reception and Florida Orchestra meet and greet before the 8 p.m. performance. All proceeds from this signature event will be donated to Moffitt for lung cancer research. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.preludetoacure.com or call 813-435-0668.
Live Facebook Chat: “Focus on Lung Cancer”
Moffitt will feature Pinder-Schenck in a real-time chat for Facebook fans. The live question-and-answer session will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Nov. 8. Questions can be provided in advance at www.facebook.com/MoffittCancerCenter.
Senior Voice America
Senior Voice America is scheduled to feature cardiothoracic surgeon Fontaine from 4-5 p.m. Nov. 16 on the “Health, Wealth and Wisdom” radio show on WHNZ, 1250 AM. Fontaine will focus on understanding the symptoms of lung cancer and the benefits of lung cancer screening.
Moffitt at International Plaza
Moffitt’s International Plaza location offers access to high-quality services and exceptional patient care in a smaller, conveniently located facility at 4101 Jim Walter Blvd. Pinder-Schenck and Thomas J. Dilling, M.D., have clinics at International Plaza. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488).
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Since 1999, Moffitt has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, twitter and YouTube.