About Vanessa Wasta

Posts by Vanessa Wasta:

Scientists let GENIE data “out of the bottle”


Nearly 19,000 de-identified genomic records from cancer patients treated by an international group of hospitals, including the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, have been collected in a database coordinated by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and are now available to scientists across the globe. The data was gathered from the genomic sequencing of(...)

5 Things We Learned About Immunotherapy This Year


Immunotherapy has become one of the hottest areas of cancer research, and the number of cancers successfully treated by immunotherapy is growing. Nearing the end of 2016, there are now four FDA-approved immunotherapy drugs that target immune system checkpoints to treat six types of cancer. We asked Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel(...)

President Obama Signs 21st Century Cures Act


A ceremony was held yesterday at the White House to sign the 21st Century Cures Act, which authorizes $4.8 billion in National Institutes of Health funding for a broad range of biomedical initiatives, including cancer and precision medicine. Immunotherapy patient Stefani Joho [watch a video of Stefani's story] and Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee, deputy director of the(...)

Immunotherapy drug staves off lung cancer better than chemo in some newly treated patients

Immunotherapy drug staves off lung cancer better than chemo in some newly treated patients

In a head-to-head comparison between the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab and standard chemotherapy as a first-line therapy for advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer, patients taking pembrolizumab had a 50 percent greater drop in the risk of death or disease progression and a four-month greater increase in progression-free survival compared with those who took chemotherapy. A report on(...)

Studies track how the immune system responds to tumors

Studies track how the immune system responds to tumors

The University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy  have published a pair of studies looking at biomarkers involved in the immune system's response to tumors in the Nov. 7 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The University of Chicago studies are explained here. For the Johns Hopkins(...)

Do you have endocrinologists on the lung cancer team?


Endocrinologists, or hormone doctors, are on your lung cancer treatment team “if it's clinically appropriate for them to be a part of it,” says radiation oncologist Russell K. Hales, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. Hales notes that “Endocrinologists often look at hormone levels, and we use(...)

How do you decide if a patient is right for a clinical trial at Hopkins?


“Every clinical trial is done in a way to try to get a very homogenous group of patients, so we can better draw conclusions about whether the innovation we’re testing is actually working,” says radiation oncologist Russell K. Hales, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. “A patient(...)

What side effects can lung cancer radiation cause?


Many lung cancer patients are concerned about the side effects lung cancer radiation can cause, such as heart or kidney damage, or fertility problems, says radiation oncologist Russell K. Hales, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. “Any therapy can cause short-term or long-term problems, and side effects,”(...)

A perspective on an immunotherapy clinical trial


This blog post was written by Kristina Baum, who has melanoma and is participating in a clinical trial on immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. For more information on Kristina's story, watch her interview with Denise Grady on the New York Times' Facebook page or follow her on Twitter at @kristinabaum. For the post,(...)