News at Medicine - June 2013 - New therapy for cancer of the blood

New therapy for cancer of the blood
June 12, 2013
The latest research in a new field of therapy for treatment of lymphoma or leukemia was featured at this year's first public meeting of the Newfoundland & Labrador Thrombosis, Blood and Immune Disorders Education and Research Project, held May 30 at the St. John’s Geo Centre.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Thrombosis, Blood and Immune Disorders, Education Research Project is a project of Dr. Mary-Frances Scully, associate professor of medicine (hematology), Dr. Palinder Kamra, clinical associate professor of pediatrics, and Dr. Mani Larijani, assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases. Public events such as this one are organized through the hard work of dedicated volunteers, in particular Charlie Cheeseman, Ken Noseworthy, Holly King, and Derrick Roul.  
Dr. Kevin Curran of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York spoke on Adoptive T-Cell Therapy for Cancer: How Your Immune System Can Cure Cancer. He discussed the latest research in this new field of therapy, which genetically alters a patient’s own immune cells to attack and eliminate cancer cells. Dr. Paul Moorehead from the Faculty of Medicine also spoke on the topic of Acute Leukemia in Children. The evening also included a presentation by Holly King, family member to a cancer survivor.   
This event held at the GEO Center drew a full room of audience, consisting of cancer survivors, family members, caregivers, healthcare professionals, MUN faculty members and researchers.  Evaluation comments are collected from audience members at the closing of each event in order to monitor and improve the success of the project. For this event, all speakers drew high praises for their talks.  
Cancers of the blood and immune system account for approximately 20 per cent of cancer patients in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; myeloma and lymphoma are the most common blood cancers.  
“Our goal is to improve knowledge of the disorders, prevention and treatment strategies for disorders of the blood and immune system, for individuals affected, caregivers and family members,” said Dr. Scully. “We also aim to increase awareness of the symptoms and signs of anemia, iron deficiency, bleeding disorders, clotting disorders, immune deficiency and the early diagnosis of cancers of the blood and immune system.”   
Dr. Larijani added that the event was a tremendous success in terms of turnout. “We accomplished one of our main goals, which is to convey a sense of hope to patients and family member, through connecting with cancer researchers and education on emerging and promising treatments." 
From left: Holly King and Drs. Kevin Curran, Paul Moorehead, Mani Larijani and Mary-Frances Scully.