cancer care

Breaking through the limits of cancer medicine

Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., the new director of precision oncology at Oregon Health & Science University, outlines his vision for the field   Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)   The cancer diagnosis, a rare sarcoma, was devastating for an old friend of Gordon Mills. “We spent lots of time trying to understand his disease, trying to characterize it, and he went to my colleagues to ask about what was the next therapy for him,” Mills … Read More

Radiation medicine’s evolving role in cancer care

(NCI/Rhoda Baer)   Expanding treatment options for breast cancer. Enhancing immunotherapy. Addressing disparities in access to cutting-edge treatment. These are some of the highlights from ASTRO, the largest scientific and educational forum for radiation oncology. Members of OHSU’s Department of Radiation Medicine made 11 research presentations and contributed to many more at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology in San Diego.

When cancer drug marketing sneaks into a soap opera plot

Polycythemia vera is an uncommon blood cancer that can be controlled with long-established treatments. So it seemed more than a little suspicious to Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H., when the disease took center stage in an episode of “General Hospital” – the longest running daytime drama on American television. “I felt there had to be some backstory,” Prasad, an OHSU Knight Cancer Institute hematologist-oncologist told listeners of  the public radio program Think Out Loud. “What we found was … Read More

Outsmarting treatment-resistant prostate cancers

Aggressive prostate tumors can rapidly evolve to resist PARP inhibitors, but it may be possible to detect resistance early enough to counteract.   Two views of the structure of the DNA-repair protein PARP1 It was a surprising discovery that opened up a new avenue for treating prostate cancer. In recent years, studies have revealed that gene mutations long associated with breast and ovarian cancers – BRCA1 and BRCA2 – also play a significant role in driving … Read More

Widely used prostate cancer treatment may worsen risk of falls

Men with prostate cancer became more vulnerable to falls if they used androgen deprivation therapy, and the heightened risk of falling persisted for more than a year after ending therapy, a study has revealed.

Riveting survival stories from the early clinical trials of Gleevec

Medicine had never seen anything like it before, Brian Druker, M.D., recalled. “These are people who’d been told to get their affairs in order. And now their blood counts are normal,” the director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute told Stat News reporter Bob Tedeschi. “But here’s the problem: When can you celebrate? I felt a little bit like walking on eggshells, because it’s like, OK, is this going to be a flash in the … Read More

Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, 20 years later

In 1997, Oregon became the first state to make it legal for terminally ill patients to self-administer a prescription to hasten death. A review of 991 cases of lethal self-medication through 2015 shows that the law’s impact has remained largely predictable. Three-fourths of the people were dying of cancer, nearly all were white and around 70 percent had attended college. More than 90 percent had health insurance, were receiving hospice care and died at home. … Read More

A new way to guide cancer immune therapy

Scrutinizing the immune cells infiltrating a tumor may reveal the cancer’s vulnerability or resistance to immune-based therapies.  

Lessons from Oregon about end-of-life care

At the end of life, people in Oregon are more likely to have their care wishes honored, less likely to be hospitalized and more likely to use home hospice services compared with people in Washington and the rest of the U.S.

With foundation help, an Oregon doctor roots out low-value medical practices

Physicians have started to face up to an uncomfortable truth: their profession has often embraced new treatments that don’t really help patients. “When you look at the balance of benefit and harm, some therapies provide no net benefit,” says OHSU assistant professor Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H., who has landed a $2 million grant to go after the problem.

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Targeting leukemia with drug combinations

Cancer researchers have devised a way to rapidly screen combinations of drugs to identify pairs of agents most likely to work synergistically against some of the most difficult to treat forms of leukemia.