About Valerie Matthews-Mehl

Posts by Valerie Matthews-Mehl:

Sequencing our Genes: Is Cancer Written in our DNA?


This is the first blog in a three-part series about Genome Sequencing and Predicting Cancer. Technology called next generation sequencing can be used to reveal an individual’s complete and entire DNA (whole genome).  Right now, it costs about $5,000 to sequence an individual’s whole genome, but the price tag is decreasing rapidly. With its increasing(...)

Engineering Cures


I entered uncharted territory when I began the feature story for the latest issue of the Kimmel Cancer Center's magazine Promise & Progress.  I was unaware that Johns Hopkins engineers had joined our cancer experts in the fight against cancer and equally unaware of the great body of work that was coming from this new(...)

Avastin: Good Drug, Bad Decision?


Recent news that the FDA will not approve the use of the drug Avastin for breast cancer has many patients who have benefitted questioning why.  Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson believes it is a perfect example of why personalized cancer medicine—getting the right drugs to the right patients—is so important. “Often in trials, drugs(...)

Cancer Screening Tests Everyone Should Know


Kimmel Cancer experts frequently say that “the best way to cure cancer is to prevent it from ever occurring.”  Most experts agree that currently-available cancer screening tests have lead to a decline in cancer deaths.  Moreover, they allow cancers to be detected early, making more treatment options available to patients. Let me say up front,(...)

Lacrosse vs Childhood Cancer


In my “other” life, outside of Johns Hopkins, I am a devoted lacrosse mom, spending most of my weekends at the lacrosse field supporting my son and his team. So, it is particularly enjoyable to see my two worlds combine—as the lacrosse community partners with us to raise important funds for pediatric cancer research.  I’m sure(...)

Science is Cool!


Whether it’s making a sticky, rubbery substance like Flubber, turning a clear solution blue, or figuring out how a normal cell turns into a cancer cell, it’s all science. Those of us at the Kimmel Cancer Center think science is cool, and we’re hoping, with the right introduction, young students will begin to think so(...)

Promise, Progress, and Hope for the Youngest Cancer Patients


It is truly an exciting time in cancer discovery.  Discoveries in cancer genetics, immunology, and cancer stem cells are leading us to new, personalized therapies that target the specific cells and cellular alterations that drive the cancer.  For children, this represents a huge step forward, as this new generation of treatments will not be as(...)

The Top Ten of 10


The Top Ten of 10 As we look ahead to a 2011 filled with new cancer discoveries, let’s take a moment to revisit the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center’s top advances of 2010: #1:  Personalized Cancer Medicine Becomes a Reality World renowned investigator Bert Vogelstein, M.D., and team pioneered the science that has led to(...)

Getting Personal About Personalized Cancer Medicine


I got into this business 25 years ago, when my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  I was a newlywed, and at 22-years-old, I faced the prospect of being a widow.  The evening we learned the shocking news, I remember leaving the hospital to return home. I was numb with fear.  I went into our(...)