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Albany Med Today

Researchers, Physicians Fight Cancer Together

Albany Med physicians and researchers working to integrate laboratory discoveries into improved patient care brought together experts from around the country last month to explore innovative and collaborative approaches to cancer treatment.

“Cancer will not be cured by the clinician alone or the basic researcher alone,” said C. Michael DiPersio, PhD, a professor who studies the genetics of breast cancer at the Center for Cell Biology and Cancer Research at Albany Medical College. “We work together to find cures and develop better treatments for cancer patients. At Albany Med, we are mindful of that every day.”

Topics discussed at the 7th Annual Translational Oncology Research Symposium hosted by Albany Medical College and New York Oncology Hematology, P.C. (NYOH) included the latest trends in genetic and pathologic perspectives, targeted therapies, stem cell research, orthopaedic oncology and surgical advances.

Over the years, these gatherings have led to “robust research collaborations,” said Karen Tedesco, MD, CME director for NYOH and co-chair of the symposium. She cited research examining new molecular targets and immunotherapeutic approaches to treating kidney cancer being conducted by David Shaffer, MD, of NYOH and Ronald Kaufman, MD, of Albany Med and the Urological Institute of Northeastern New York.

Lajos Pusztai, MD, co-director of the Cancer Genetics and Genomics Research Program at Yale Cancer Center and co-author with Albany Med’s Jeffrey Ross, MD, of a study that characterizes alterations across 287 cancer-related genes, said cancer care is undergoing a fundamental shift toward treating patients based on the specific molecular drivers of their individual disease. “Not all breast cancer or lung cancer is the same,” he said.

Dr. Ross, chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, said the drive to help current patients gives a sense of urgency to the work.

“We’re working together to find clues to help each person now,” he said.