The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute shares a special partnership with Wayne State University -- Karmanos’ basic science researchers and clinicians are all faculty members at WSU’s School of Medicine. This partnership allows the two groups to work together to break new ground in the ongoing formulation of the most sophisticated cancer treatments for patients.
Putting an even finer focus on speeding treatments from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside, Karmanos’ six cancer working groups represent a synergistic collaboration between the Institute’s many laboratory scientists, cancer experts and clinicians who interact directly with patients.
Working groups include those that focus on prostate cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, cancer cell signaling, leukemia and lymphoma, and tumor immunology.
Many significant and productive projects have been developed as a result of working group collaborations.
Tumor Immunology Working Group
- Developed a vaccine that has the potential for treating HER-2/neu breast cancer, one of the deadliest and hardest to treat.
- Working with Italian scientists to eventually develop a new hybrid DNA vaccine targeting HER2 molecules, which are present in breast, ovarian, lung and other cancers.
Lung Cancer Working Group
- Using grant funding to develop a database containing lung cancer patients’ critical information such as age, gender, smoking history, race and other demographic information to define which patients are at risk for lung cancer progression
- Looking to establish a formal lung cancer program at Karmanos, one recognized by the National Cancer Institute that would secure increased funding for research into lung cancer, which kills more people annually than breast, colon, prostate, kidney, liver and melanoma combined.
Ovarian Cancer Working Group
- Studying the body’s immune response to tumor proteins that could lead to a blood-based ovarian cancer screening test.
Doctors on both sides of the cancer treatment equation say collaborations among working group members have changed the way they think about developing new cancer treatments and how they treat patients. Many of the working groups include experts in the areas of biology, chemistry, computer science, genetics, autoimmune diseases, cancer imaging, cryotherapy, pathology and molecular biology, among others.
Besides changing perspectives on how to diagnose and treat cancer, doctors also say its fun and enlightening to get out of their areas of study and hear about their colleagues’ projects.