The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, and this year at Markey, that happened to coincide with a visit from our External Advisory Board (EAB) earlier this month. Our EAB serves an important purpose – their existence is mandated by our National Cancer Institute designation, and their purpose is to guide Markey toward becoming an even better NCI designated center in every way possible.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2015) -- Dr. Gerhard Hildebrandt has been named the Division Chief of Hematology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.
Hildebrandt's clinical focus is cancers of the blood and lymph system. He sees patients before and after blood or marrow stem cell transplantation and treats patients suffering from acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease. He also serves as a professor of medicine in the UK College of Medicine.
Hildebrandt received his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz Medical School, Germany, in 1997. Upon completing his doctoral research thesis, he was awarded the "doctor medicinae" with magna cum laude.
He then completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a Hematology and Oncology fellowship at the University of Regensburg, Germany and became Bone Marrow Transplant and Hematologic Malignancies Attending at the University of Regensburg. In 2009 he was awarded the "Habilitation," the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by own pursuit in Germany.
After moving to the United States in 2009, Hildebrandt was a faculty member at Louisiana State University in Shreveport and served as director of their bone marrow transplant program. He later moved to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to become director of the Utah Blood and Marrow Transplant program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Hildebrandt is a member of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the American Association for Cancer Research. He has authored more than 40 articles, books and book chapters, and is strongly involved in clinical trials.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2015) - Through his Ironcology fundraising organization, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center oncologist and local triathlete Dr. Jonathan Feddock is partnering with the Markey Cancer Foundation to host "The Healthiest Weekend in Lexington," a two-day event June 12-13 that will focus on community engagement, cancer awareness, and promoting a healthy lifestyle while raising funds for cancer care at Markey.
The weekend includes the first-ever “Survive the Night Triathlon,” an overnight team relay that covers 140.7 combined miles of swimming, biking and running. The triathlon begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 12 at Spindletop Hall, 3414 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, Ky. Registration for the triathlon is $350 for individuals or $425 for a team of up to 10 athletes, and participants must register by June 1.
On Saturday, June 13, the event continues at 9 a.m. with the Something for Every Body Exercise Event and Expo, also at Spindletop Hall. Numerous local fitness centers have volunteered their time and expertise to create a choose-your-own-exercise format, where attendees can participate in a variety of small group fitness classes throughout the morning including yoga, TRX, Silver Sneakers, water aerobics, boxing, barre, body rolling and more.
Each fitness class will be available for a $5 donation. Participants will need to register at the event to reserve a spot for their preferred classes and times.
During the exercise event, local businesses will be on hand with information highlighting a healthy lifestyle for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The expo is free and open to the public.
Feddock, a seasoned triathlete who regularly competes in Iron Man competitions, began using his talents as an athlete to raise money for patient care at Markey last year. He raced in four long-distance events in 2014, using crowdfunding to raise more than $142,000 for Markey.
"After seeing the success I had raising money racing in triathlons, a lot of people expressed an interest in helping raise money for Markey in a similar way," Feddock said. "So I created the Healthiest Weekend in Lexington fundraiser with the idea that there would be something for everyone, whether you are a seasoned athlete or brand-new to fitness."
The Healthiest Weekend in Lexington is sponsored by UK HealthCare, Audi of Lexington, Big Ass Fans, Clark Material Handling Company and West Sixth Brewing. Fitness services will be provided by CycleYou, Fit4Mom Lexington, Legacy All Sports, LiveWell Training Club, Proof Fitness, PureBarre, Source on High, SweatLex and the YMCA of Lexington.
ABOUT MARKEY CANCER FOUNDATION
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation’s mission is to reduce cancer mortality in Kentucky and beyond by supporting innovative cancer research and treatments, education and community engagement, state-of-the-art facilities, and compassionate patient care at the UK Markey Cancer Center.
Ironcology is an exercise-based fundraising effort started by UK Markey Cancer Center radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock in 2014. Feddock, a long-distance triathlete, originally set out to raise $200,000 through crowdfunding pledges for his efforts in the 2014 Ironman Louisville to put a downpayment on a new, state-of-the-art radiation implant suite at the Markey Cancer Center. With that goal now attained, Feddock is expanding Ironcology to the masses to engage others to participate in pledge-based competition and events to raise money on behalf of the UK Markey Cancer Foundation.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 14, 2015) – Storytelling has always been an essential part of the human experience. From prehistoric tales of the hunt, to fairytales, and even modern blockbusters, stories have reflected the culture, values and experiences of not only the characters but the storyteller himself.
Though storytelling has always been a powerful force in society, only recently has its power been used to encourage healing. The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center is working to recognize the powerful patient stories that result from a cancer diagnosis and use these stories to help patients through a method known as narrative medicine.
During a narrative medicine session, patients sit one-on-one with a health professional to share their personal stories, whether it's as simple as their actual day-to-day experiences or their emotional journeys. As patients share their unique experiences, the narrative medicine facilitator will help to tease out important details and insights and help patients use their story as a way to cope and recover mentally.
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Though talking points vary greatly from patient to patient, one thing that remains consistent in each session are a series of questions asked by Markey's Narrative Medicine Facilitator Robert Slocum.
"What is your source of hope?"
A cancer diagnosis changes a person's life overnight. For many people, fighting cancer can mean taxing treatments, unexpected financial burdens, time away from loved ones and time away from activities they enjoy. It can be easy to focus on treatment, and healing the body, and forget about the toll that the experience takes on the mind.
At Markey, staff is always concerned with finding ways to keep patients engaged and maintain their sense of hope throughout treatment.
Slocum believes that one way to achieve this is through patients sharing their story and experiences.
"This is a person who happens to have cancer," Slocum said. "A person with a life, with dreams, hopes, responsibilities, and ways to share. Staying connected to that during the process of treatment can be very important."
Many patients are open to sharing their experiences but are unsure of how to do it. They feel holding these conversations might burden loved ones or health professionals. They might feel that their personal experience is not important.
Narrative medicine is a chance to express to them that their experiences do matter.
"It is important to hear again and again that we are here to listen," Slocum said. "We want to hear your experience. Your experience matters. That can be the opening that many people felt 'oh there was never a good time to talk,' well, this is a great time to talk."
This adjunct therapy becomes especially helpful for cancer patients in isolation, where they may be confined to a room with few approved visitors for a month or more. Lola Thomason, the patient care manager for Markey's blood and marrow transplantation and medical oncology floor, notes that these patients are at a particularly high risk of developing psychosocial issues, simply due to lack of interaction and conversation.
"Narrative medicine gives patients an opportunity just to get their story out," Thomason said. "Just being able to get those feelings off their chest means so much to them."
Slocum is frequently referred to patients by Thomason and her team, a system that is working well so far.
"Lola has a sixth sense for who needs to be seen and when they need to be seen," Slocum said.
"Where do you get your strength?"
There is, without a doubt, strength that comes from being able to share your personal story.
When Slocum holds these important conversations with patients, he focuses on helping patients discover what their personal strength is and helps them find the strength to share their experience with others, if they choose.
"It is possible to draw out and draw on a patients sense of strength," Slocum said. "It is an opportunity for a patient to come to a clearer understanding of their life and what they are going through presently in the context of everything they have faced before."
Narrative medicine begins with a referral from a health professional and a simple conversation.
"It can be simply 'how are you feeling today', 'what brings you to the hospital' or 'how has treatment been going'," Slocum said. "That can be the start of a conversation that begins to go a little bit deeper."
Once patients choose to participate in narrative medicine, they can share their story in the way that they are comfortable. Patients are free to share as much or as little as they would like to. The purpose is for patients to begin to share their story and also provide an opportunity for them to process their experiences.
One of Slocum's patients at Markey, Dr. David Gagnon, has been very open to sharing his experiences dealing with a rare blood cancer and subsequent brain cancer diagnosis.
Gagnon has a unique story to tell as both a doctor and a cancer patient. Because he understands the doctor and patient viewpoint, he has gained an understanding of the importance of sharing experiences and emotions.
"Patients who don't talk don't seem to do well," Gagnon said. "I have found that talking and sharing with physicians and other patients who are going through this is helpful for me and helpful for them."
During his session with Slocum, Gagnon's topics run the gamut of his life experiences, including thoughts on his career as a physician, to his hobbies and fitness goals, to his spirituality. While Gagnon has an interesting perspective, every patient offers a unique viewpoint that Slocum hopes to help draw out and build upon as a source of strength for the patient.
"Patients come in all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and with different perspectives," Slocum said. "I try to work with whoever they are and whatever they bring."
"What gives you the courage to face the future?"
For some patients, narrative medicine has allowed them to find the courage to share their story with others. This might mean sharing what they are feeling with family members or even writing it down for other patients to read and hopefully relate to.
Many patients come out of a narrative medicine session with a fresh outlook on their treatment, and on life in general.
"I've had patients say wonderful things about how their perspectives have changed in cancer treatment," Slocum said. "They don't take things for granted anymore. Cancer is a terrible diagnosis, but it's also a second chance."
Narrative medicine is just one of the ways that Markey has worked to foster hope, strength and courage in their patients. Their integrative medicine program helps to find alternative medicine practices that complement a patient's existing treatment. Markey offers a wide range of integrative programs including narrative medicine, art therapy, music therapy and Jin Shin Jyutsu.
For more information on narrative medicine or for referrals, contact Robert Slocum at (859) 324-0955 or email@example.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 323-2399
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fourth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last Thursday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign.
This year, students from Bondurant Middle School (BMS) in Frankfort, Ky., and Shelby County West Middle School (SCWMS) in Shelbyville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer research.
After a formal introduction by UK researchers Tianyan Gao and Craig Vander Kooi, the students received a a tour of cancer research lab space in the BBSRB and learned how to use some basic lab equipment. The event also featured presentations by BMS student and cancer survivor Tyler Calhoun, the LLS Honored Hero, and UK pediatric hematologist/oncologist Dr. John D'Orazio.
Pennies for Patients is the annual fundraiser for the School & Youth division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It encourages students to collect spare change during a set three-week time frame early in the year. Funds raised support leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research; patient and community service; public health education; and professional education.
For this year's campaign, more than 340 schools across the region participated. Kentucky schools participating in Pennies for Patients had to raise a minimum of $1,000 to win the chance to attend Meet the Researchers Day. BMS and SCWMS were chosen in a random drawing, raising a combined $5,027.12 for LLS.
To learn more about the Pennies for Patients program, visit www.schoolandyouth.org.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) -- Dr. Mark Evers, director of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Surgery, has been elected treasurer for the American Surgical Association. Evers will serve as treasurer through 2020.
The American Surgical Association is the nation's oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. They strive to benefit the patient and the profession of surgery by advocating and promoting excellence, innovation and integrity. Its members include the nation's most prominent surgeons from the country's leading academic medical institutions, many surgery department chairs, and leading surgeons from around the world.
Evers is an internationally recognized clinician-scientist, surgeon, educator and administrator. As a surgeon, his primary interests are in GI, endocrine and soft tissue/skin cancers, and he continues to maintain an active clinical practice.
His laboratory research, which has been continuously funded for more than 20 years from the National Institutes of Health, is predominantly focused on signaling mechanisms for proliferation of colorectal cancers and in hormonal control of cancer growth.
Under his leadership, the UK Markey Cancer Center became the only Kentucky medical center to receive National Cancer Institute designation and only the 68th NCI-designated cancer center in country.
Evers currently sits on the Council of the Southern Surgical Association, having also served as secretary and president of the organization. He has held leadership positions in various national societies including the Society for Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, the American Gastroenterological Association and the Society of University Surgeons.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2015) - The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Jin Shin Jyutsu Integrative Medicine program recently received a grant of more than $10,500 from the Lexington affiliate of Susan G. Komen to produce 10 Jin Shin Jyutsu Self-Help videos for patients and families.
Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy. JSJ uses light touch on 52 points on the body in sequences known as “flows” with the purpose of promoting relaxation and healing of the body and mind. JSJ has been offered at the Markey Cancer Center since 2009. Jennifer Bradley, who heads the program, and her staff provide up to five free JSJ sessions for patients.
Jennifer also teaches patients, caregivers and staff how to utilize this light touch therapy on their own bodies for self-care in a form called Self-Help. Self-Help training is offered to all patients receiving sessions. Self-Help classes at Markey, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and the Lexington YMCA LiveStrong program are ongoing for patients, caregivers and staff.
The JSJ Self-Help videos will teach simplified versions of the techniques Bradley uses in her sessions for viewers to use at home.
“The majority of the videos will address specific needs of cancer patients, but many of the techniques shown will be useful to caregivers as well,” said Bradley.
The videos will be posted on the UK HealthCare YouTube channel along with videos Bradley has previously produced. As part of the grant, Bradley will also be subtitling new and existing videos in Spanish.
“As part of UK HeathCare and the University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center is a resource for all Kentuckians," said Bradley. "These self-help videos make Jin Shin Jyutsu available to all of the Commonwealth, whether one is a patient at Markey, one of our Affiliate hospitals or being served elsewhere."
At Markey, Bradley and her staff use JSJ to assist patients with the physical and emotional effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment. In 2012, Bradley presented a pilot study that showed that patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress and nausea starting with their first session. To learn more about Jin Shin Jyutsu and the Markey program, view the informational video.
"These videos are a rich resource for patients, caregivers and all of us and can be accessed and shared from every corner of the state," said Bradley. "I’m grateful that Lexington’s Susan G Komen affiliate has made this possible."
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 27, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center recently launched a new iPhone app featuring a searchable database of the open clinical trials at Markey. The app gives Markey patients and their treatment teams an easier way of identifying the clinical trials currently offered that might be beneficial for the patient’s treatment plans.
At any given time, Markey has more than 100 active cancer clinical trials open to accrual. Each trial represents an opportunity for cancer patients to participate in research designed to improve cancer care or measure the effectiveness of different types of treatments and drugs.
The app is also an effective way for referring physicians to quickly find out if there is an appropriate Markey trial for which their patients may qualify.
The new app allows users to search for clinical trials by the site of the disease, the drugs used in treatment, the trial’s identification number (protocol number), the phase of cancer being treated, or by the trial’s principal investigator – the researcher, often an oncologist, who is the leader on the research being performed.
The app works in conjunction with Markey's online clinical trials database, updating information in real time. Although some other cancer centers have used outside developers to put together similar apps, Markey's app was designed in-house by a team that includes lead software architect Isaac Hands and senior software developer Chaney Blu.
Eric Durbin, director of the Cancer Research Informatics Shared Resource Facility at Markey, says it was important for UK to develop this project in-house.
"It was essential for us to have complete control over the application ourselves," Durbin said. "That way, we can introduce new features for our users as we receive feedback on what can help them help these patients."
Markey Associate Director for Clinical Translation, Dr. Susanne Arnold was one of the first physician-researchers to offer feedback on the app.
"Simplifying the search for clinical trials for busy clinicians and patients will help more people participate in clinical research trials designed to help improve their outcomes," Arnold said. "Apps like this one are critical to move cancer treatment into the modern age, and I love the simplicity of this one – it’s very easy to use and very helpful."
The app is currently for iPhone users only, although Durbin says the next step will be gathering feedback to develop an Android version.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 16, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center announced today that St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky., has joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, a newly launched initiative conducting high priority cancer research through a network of collaborative centers with expertise in the delivery of cancer care and conduct of research studies.
Thousands of patients across eastern Kentucky will have close-to-home access to innovative clinical research studies in the treatment and epidemiology of cancer as well as research studies in the prevention and early detection of cancer.
The team at St. Claire Regional Medical Center was invited to participate based on their previous experience in conducting oncology research. St. Claire has participated in research with Markey for more than 10 years, enrolling more than 120 patients from seven surrounding counties in nearly 20 different cancer clinical studies in that time. St. Claire’s clinical research studies included those initiated at UK in priority areas of lung cancer screening and early detection, smoking cessation, treatment therapies for lung cancer, and environmental risk factors for lung cancer.
St. Claire’s long-standing oncology research portfolio will expand as a result of joining the Markey Research Network. Clinical research studies currently open at St. Claire include a study to identify the best approaches to help cancer patients quit smoking which will help to improve their response to cancer treatments, with studies coming soon in lung cancer screening and survivorship.
“St. Claire continually works to provide an advanced level of healthcare to the 160,000 plus people in our service area,” said Mark J. Neff, president/CEO of St. Claire Regional Medical Center. The unfortunate truth is that Eastern Kentucky faces some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the nation which is why St. Claire is so excited to join the Markey Cancer Center Research Network in the battle to reduce cancer deaths in our region by offering close-to-home access to some of the most advanced clinical cancer trial treatments available.”
Clinical research studies are key to developing new methods to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and most treatments used today are the results of previous clinical studies. These may include studies in which patients who need cancer treatment receive their therapy under the observation of specially trained cancer doctors and staff. Patients who volunteer for cancer treatment studies will either receive standard therapy or a new treatment that represents the researchers’ best new ideas for how to improve cancer care.
The portfolio of available clinical research studies for each Markey Research Network member will be targeted, focusing both on the areas with the highest burden of disease, and the types of cancers that most affect these overburdened regions. Appalachia has some of the highest rates of cancer incidence and mortality in the country, especially for lung, colorectal, and cervical cancers.
As a member of the Markey Research Network, the physicians at St. Claire Regional Medical Center will offer the opportunity to consider participation in clinical research studies to their patients, with the patients remaining under their direct care and closer to home during their treatment.
"Being able to offer not only our own trials on site, but also major NCI trials, is a huge benefit to the members of our Research Network," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "The patients who chose to enroll in one of these trials at St. Claire should be assured that they are receiving the latest, best treatment options for their disease, with the added benefit of staying much closer to their own support system at home."
By disseminating Markey's clinical research studies across the region, the collaborative Research Network will offer better, more progressive treatment options to patients without the burden of traveling away from home and their physicians.
"Clinical research is the best way to advance cancer treatment protocols and move forward with the most effective new therapies," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "As the only NCI-designated cancer center serving the Appalachian region of Kentucky, we have an obligation to address the most devastating cancers in this area by continually improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatments. The Markey Research Network will play a vital role in improving the grim cancer mortality rates in our region."
To be invited into the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, medical centers must demonstrate a capacity to deliver the highest caliber of clinical expertise and demonstrate quality work in clinical research and complying with federal regulations. Other medical centers are expected to join the Research Network in the coming months.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 3, 2015) – Scott Logdon of Salvisa, Ky., seldom needed to visit the doctor. But in September 2012, a troublesome sore throat prompted him to make a rare visit to his primary care physician. Expecting a diagnosis of strep, he got some far worse news.
"I just thought it was strep throat," Logdon said. "It turned out to be leukemia."
Logdon was immediately referred to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, where he was officially diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
Because this type of cancer can worsen quickly, treatment began right away. Logdon underwent a rigorous round of chemotherapy at Markey, getting his infusion nonstop 24 hours a day for seven straight days.
The chemo put him into temporary remission. But further testing suggested that Logdon's cancer was likely to return at some point. While taking the “wait and see” approach was an option, it was risky.
“Statistically speaking, in high-risk patients like Scott, the cancer is probably going to come back,” said Dr. Greg Monohan, the Markey hematologist/oncologist who treated Logdon. “And if you wait and see if the cancer returns, the chemo may not take as well the second time around.”
Monohan’s team began discussing the option of a bone marrow transplant, a procedure that replaces damaged bone marrow with healthy bone marrow stem cells. Markey performs more than 80 bone marrow transplants each year.
Logdon agreed to try the transplant in October 2012, and the search for a viable donor began. The likelihood of transplant success is highly dependent on how closely the donor’s stem cells matches the recipient’s, and usually the best donors are siblings.
However, Logdon's brother and sister were tested, and neither were a match. His medical team then contacted the National Marrow Donor Program where he could potentially be matched with an anonymous donor from one of the international bone marrow registries.
In the meantime, Logdon underwent several rounds of ‘maintenance’ chemotherapy, aimed at keeping the cancer at bay until a match was found. Every 30 days, he endured five straight days of treatment, followed by a 10-day inpatient stay at Markey where he was monitored closely by Monohan’s team. Waiting took its toll on Logdon and his family, but an unexpected phone call of encouragement from UK Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari brightened the UK fan's spirits.
"Scott has had some dark days," said Angela Logdon, Scott's wife. "But he really appreciated Coach Cal taking the time to do that."
In January 2013, Logdon and his family got the call they’d been waiting for. An ideal donor had been found: a 20-year-old male who matched 10 out of the 10 major categories of proteins that determine the likelihood of the immune system accepting the transplantation.
While walking toward the campus library one afternoon three years ago, University of Wisconsin freshman Christopher Wirz passed by tables for a national bone marrow registry donor drive. Wirz’s cousin was one of the UW students working the drive, and when he stopped to chat, she convinced him to register.
“I signed up on a whim,” Wirz said. “I just happened to be walking that way that day.”
Wirz was told that his chances of actually getting matched were slim – only about one in 100,000. But in just over a year, Wirz got the call to be a potential donor twice – the first time, he wasn’t a close enough match. But the second time, he was a perfect candidate. He agreed to do the procedure.
Wirz was flown to Washington D.C. on two separate occasions, once for major testing and evaluation, and once for the stem cell harvesting. Prior to extraction of his cells, he received a series of injections to help his stem cells move from the bone marrow to the blood. He was tested again before the extraction began to ensure his blood counts were optimal.
“You’re kind of rooting for it, even though you don’t know the person,” Wirz said. “I was really cheering for good numbers.”
His stem cells were collected using a process called leukapheresis, which is similar to giving plasma. Wirz was hooked up to an IV for several hours to extract the stem cells from his blood, filling a large IV bag with the life-saving fluid, while another IV returned the blood to his body. After his donation was complete, Wirz felt a little tired, but spent the rest of his day touring DC before heading home. He thought about where that little piece of him could be going.
“I was wondering, ‘What happens to it now?’” Wirz said. “Where is it being delivered?”
Logdon received his bone marrow transplant on Jan. 31, 2013, following one last round of chemo. After nearly four weeks in the hospital, he was allowed to go home, though he continued to have weekly checkups for many months. Logdon's strength gradually returned, and he was able to return to his job at the Woodford County Detention Center, initially working part-time, in October.
“It took about a year to feel ‘normal’ again,” Logdon said.
Unrelated hematopoietic cell donations are anonymous – and any contact between the donor/recipient remains anonymous during the first year. After that mark, direct contact is allowed if both parties consent to release their personal information. Wirz received a handful of letters thanking him for his donation – from Scott, Angela, and their four children, including one carefully scrawled by their eight-year-old son.
Curious about the family, Wirz found them on Facebook, where Angela and Scott had documented every step of his illness.
“I saw his entire journey, from diagnosis and after,” Wirz said. “He was going through this life-threatening disease, but stayed so positive throughout it.”
That included some big moments: statuses about their joy at finding a match, and the happy outcome of the procedure, where Logdon was deemed cancer-free.
“I thought, ‘That’s me!’” Wirz said. “He has a part of me growing in him, and that’s what’s helping him.”
The two communicated via Facebook for several weeks, but their first phone call came early in April 2014 -- just a few days, in fact, after the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Team knocked off the University of Wisconsin in the semifinal game of the NCAA tournament.
Logdon, who describes his whole family as “die-hard UK fans,” couldn’t resist making a joke to the young Wisconsin student.
“I told him, ‘You know, I knew I felt kind of bad about beating Wisconsin in the tournament,’” Scott said. “’I guess it’s because I’ve got a little Badger blood in me now!’”
Later that summer, the Logdons invited Wirz and his family to come to Kentucky for the opportunity to celebrate and thank them in person. The first meeting between donor and recipient was emotionally overwhelming.
"There were a lot of tears," Logdon said. "I didn't want to let go of him when I hugged him."
Wirz, his sister, and his mother stayed for three days, touring the area and meeting dozens of thankful friends and family. One of the tour stops included Rupp Arena, where they convinced Wirz to try an Ale8 -- and, Logdon jokes, to show off UK's basketball tradition.
"We took him to Rupp Arena to show him where championships happen," Logdon said with a laugh.
Wirz, who described the whole experience as "amazing," said seeing how beloved Logdon was in his community made the whole experience finally seem real.
"Getting to see his community, and seeing how everything would be different without him," Wirz said. "That was really overwhelming."
"He's a very giving guy," Logdon said. "You don't see many 20-year-olds like him."
Wirz, now a senior and a triple-major at UW, said he wouldn't hesitate to help out another anonymous patient in need again.
"I would do it again in a heartbeat," Wirz said.
Signing up to become a donor in the marrow registry is easy – participants only need to fill out about five minutes of paperwork and complete a set of cheek swabs.
On Monday, April 13, the UK College of Pharmacy is hosting a Be the Match registry drive at the UK Markey Cancer Center. The drive will be set up at the Combs Research Building atrium at Markey from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day. If you can't make it to a local drive but would like to join the registry from home, visit Be the Match for more information.
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, 606-782-7735, firstname.lastname@example.org or Kristi Lopez, 859-323-6363 or email@example.com
Lexington, Ky. (April 2, 2015) - The Christ Hospital Health Network (TCHHN) in Cincinnati, Oh., announced today an affiliation with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, the state's first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. The affiliation will provide patients with more cancer treatment options and advanced education and research.
“We look forward to expanding healthcare choices for patients with cancer with this affiliation,” said Mike Keating, president and CEO of The Christ Hospital Health Network. “Our cancer experts will work closely with their colleagues at the UK Markey Cancer Center to advance high-quality care, with a focus on exceptional outcomes, affordable care and the finest patient and family experiences.”
“Our world-renowned physicians from the best educational institutions in the country, are critical, driving factors in our recognition, including high performing in our region by U.S. News & World Report," said Dr. Brian Mannion, medical director of oncology services at The Christ Hospital Health Network. "UK has a long-standing history as Kentucky’s top academic medical center. This affiliation will allow us to do even more for our cancer patients, particularly as we expand access to needed cancer services in Northern Kentucky.”
For the last 30 years, The Christ Hospital Health Network has been recognized as a national leader in cancer clinical trials with research and innovation that has led to breakthrough medical advances and improved outcomes. The Christ Hospital Health Network averages 30 active studies, from phase I through phase IV, and is affiliated with leading national research institutions, individuals, groups and corporations.
Through The Christ Hospital Health Network’s commitment to transforming care and expanding patient access and convenience in Northern Kentucky and across the region, patients will now have access to significant clinical cancer trials in Northern Kentucky through the UK Markey Cancer Center’s designation as a National Cancer Institute cancer center, one of only 68 cancer centers in the country and the only one in Kentucky.
“We are providing choice to our patients and their families with cancer without the stress and inconvenience of having to travel to other parts of the country,” Keating said. “Providing access to quality healthcare services where people live and work is at the heart of The Christ Hospital Health Network’s mission and is one of the key reasons we have been recognized by local consumers as the Most Preferred provider in the region for 19 consecutive years.”
"The burden of cancer in this area is huge, and reducing its impact requires collaboration and teamwork from many excellent community hospitals in the region," said Dr. Tim Mullett, director of the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network. "Bringing The Christ Hospital Health Network into the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network is another major step toward improving cancer care in Kentucky and beyond."
The affiliation provides many benefits to patients and physicians, including:
· More patient choice and convenient access
· New and innovative cancer treatments
· Cutting-edge clinical trials consultations with specialists and subspecialists
· Multidisciplinary cancer conferences, where physicians share knowledge, experience and explore new approaches to treatment
· Program support in medical oncology/hematology, pathology, molecular diagnostics, pharmacy, nursing and dietetics
· Access to the latest education and training for physicians, nurses and other caregivers
· Support for community outreach and education activities.
The Christ Hospital Health Network is the first affiliate hospital from outside the state of Kentucky. The Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network began in 2006 and now comprises 13 hospitals:
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 27, 2015) – Next week, KET will feature three University of Kentucky experts discussing cancer care in a set of programs that will accompany the three-part documentary series Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies by Ken Burns.
The series, which will air March 30, 31 and April 1 at 9 p.m., is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
On Sunday, March 29, at 1 p.m. on KET, UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers, will appear on One to One with Bill Goodman, discussing the latest news in cancer care and research, and Markey's goals to conquer cancer in the Commonwealth. Evers' interview will air again on Monday, March 30, 12:30 a.m. on KET and Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 p.m. on KET2.
On Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m., two UK experts will join KET Health Three60 host Renee Shaw for a live call-in program called "Answers for Cancer." Dr. Tim Mullett, a UK HealthCare lung cancer specialist who is himself a cancer survivor, and Dr. Fran Feltner, director of the UK Center for Excellence in Rural Health, will be on the panel to take questions from viewers about cancer screening, treatment and recovery resources in Kentucky.
Other panelists include Donald Miller, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville, and Patrick Williams, medical director at Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville.
Viewers can submit questions to the original program via Twitter at @HealthKET, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 800-753-6237. A recording of the program will air on KETKY April 6 at 9 a.m., April 10 at 11 a.m., April 11 at 4 a.m. and April 13 at 2 a.m.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 26, 2015) – The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center announced Wednesday that King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Ky., has joined the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, a newly launched initiative conducting high priority cancer research through a network of collaborative centers with expertise in the delivery of cancer care and conduct of research studies.
Thousands of patients across eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio and West Virginia will have close-to-home access to innovative clinical research studies in the treatment and epidemiology of cancer as well as research studies in the prevention and early detection of cancer.
The team at King's Daughters Medical Center was invited to participate based on their previous experience in conducting oncology research. King's Daughters has participated in research with Markey for more than 25 years, enrolling more than 450 patients from nine surrounding counties in nearly 50 different cancer clinical studies in that time. Their active clinical research studies included those initiated at UK as well as national research studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute in the National Clinical Trials Network. This long-standing oncology research portfolio will expand as a result of joining the Markey Research Network.
Dr. David Goebel, oncologist/hematologist at King's Daughters, said that this formal membership in the Markey Cancer Center Research Network would further King's Daughters' already strong relationship with the oncology researchers at UK.
"This research collaborative helps our patients with the best options to battle cancer," Goebel said. "The benefit of these studies not only can help the person with cancer, but also provide insight into treating others."
As a member of the Markey Research Network, the physicians at King's Daughters Medical Center will offer the opportunity to consider participation in clinical research studies to their patients, with the patients remaining under their direct care and closer to home during their treatment.
"Being able to offer not only our own trials on site, but also major NCI trials, is a huge benefit to the members of our Research Network," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "The patients who chose to enroll in one of these trials at King's Daughters should be assured that they are receiving the latest, best treatment options for their disease, with the added benefit of staying much closer to their own support system at home."
"Clinical research is the best way to advance cancer treatment protocols and move forward with the most effective new therapies," said Dr. Tim Mullett, medical director of the Markey Cancer Center Research Network. "As an NCI-designated cancer center not just serving all of Kentucky, but regions of Appalachia including West Virginia, we have an obligation to address the most devastating cancers in this area by continually improving cancer prevention, detection, and treatments. The Markey Research Network will play a vital role in improving the grim cancer mortality rates in our region."
To be invited into the Markey Cancer Center Research Network, medical centers must demonstrate a capacity to deliver the highest caliber of clinical expertise and demonstrate qualify work in clinical research and complying with federal regulations. Other medical centers are expected to join the Research Network in the coming months.
Video produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 19, 2015) – Singing, laughing and smiling are not words that most people would associate with a cancer treatment, but for Lexington resident Bahar Aleem, it's a common experience.
Aleem was diagnosed with breast cancer after her doctor found a small cancerous lump in her breast during an annual mammogram. After having surgery to remove the tumor, she was required to come to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center weekly for chemotherapy. That's when she discovered the healing power of music therapy.
Music therapy is a specific type of complementary therapy where a board-certified music therapist provides patient-preferred music before, during, or after treatments to help a patient relax and explore new ways of thinking about their experiences. Studies indicate that music therapy can help reduce patient anxiety, lower pain perception and even reduce the amount of sedative intake needed before a procedure.
Music therapy is always conducted with the purpose of achieving therapeutic outcomes. Because there's not one specific type of music that functions the same for everyone, music is chosen carefully in order to find songs that will have the best therapeutic effect for each individual patient and/or family.
UK HealthCare has offered music therapy in many inpatient areas of the hospital since 2010. Last year, Music Therapist Jennifer Peyton was hired to treat patients at Markey, and the cancer center is able to offer this service to both its inpatients and chemotherapy outpatients.
During cancer treatments, Peyton will visit a patient's room, armed with her guitar, shakers and other musical instruments. She sings and plays for the patients and encourages them to participate with her, hoping that the music will allow them to express their emotions in a new, comfortable way.
Peyton is quick to point out that the therapy aspect of what she does is the most important part.
"We use patient-preferred music to elicit change in spiritual, cognitive, physical, and emotional domains," said Peyton. "This is not entertainment. While it can be entertaining, music therapy is not entertainment. It's therapy that uses music as a vehicle to do it."
Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area.
Peyton sees Aleem regularly, and the song of choice for Aleem is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
"I think it takes you away from your current situation and just makes you feel normal for a little while," said Aleem. "You don't think about or worry about anything. It just takes you away and makes you feel happy."
After singing, Peyton asks Aleem a round of questions, including "What does this song do for you?" or "Where is 'over the rainbow' for you?" These are opportunities for Aleem to explore any emotions the song might have evoked.
"It's amazing how people can identify with lyrics of a song much more readily than they can express them themselves," said Peyton.
Once the music starts, Aleem's eyes light up and she begins to smile from ear to ear. Peyton plays her guitar and sings while Aleem happily sways back and forth, taps her feet, claps her hands and sings along. Even Aleem's husband joins in by playing small maracas. Because of music therapy, Aleem now looks forward to getting her treatments.
"Even though having someone sing and play to you isn't a typical event, it can help someone feel special and it normalizes things and make things not so scary and not so anxious and not so stressful," said Peyton.
Overall, Peyton says the response from patients receiving music therapy has been very positive. She looks forward to growing the program at Markey and serving even more patients from all across the state.
After experiencing its positive effects, Aleem hopes the program expands as well.
"It just kind of uplifts you and makes you feel better no matter how you feel," said Aleem. "So hopefully we will be seeing more of it."
For more information on the music therapy program at Markey Cancer Center, contact Jennifer Peyton at email@example.com.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 9, 2015) – Nathan Vanderford, assistant director for research at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology, has a featured article on graduate education in the March 5 edition of Nature. Nature is one of the most prominent and prestigious interdisciplinary scientific journals in the world.
Vanderford co-wrote an article titled, "Wanted: Information" with Viviane Callier from the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. In the piece, Vanderford and Callier examine why recent doctoral graduates are having trouble obtaining jobs. They note that doctoral students, specifically those in the science and engineering fields, are not given enough information before obtaining a higher degree and also do not receive enough information about the job market while obtaining the degree.
According to the article, "those pursuing a Ph.D. need a more accurate picture of the academic and non-academic job markets and they need it well before they graduate."
Vanderford and Callier believe that with better information, students can better prepare to enter the job market and avoid common mistakes that leave them feeling both overqualified and unqualified for positions.
To view the full article, visit Nature online.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 25, 2015) – The National Cancer Institute recently awarded a two-year, $357,743 grant to University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers to study the role of a certain protein in aggressive cancer metastasis.
The lab of Kathleen O'Connor, professor in UK's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, studies how tumor cells interact with their environment to make cancer more aggressive.
Specifically, O'Connor's lab studies a protein called integrin α6β4, a protein that integrates signals from its environment so that cells can respond properly and die off if they are in the wrong context. This protein can cause carcinoma cells to take on some of the worst properties of cancer, including invasion, metastasis and drug resistance.
The integrin can selectively increase the expression of genes that cause cells to become particularly invasive and metastatic through a process known as DNA demethylation, but O'Connor says they do not yet know how these specific genes can be regulated.
"Through this study, we expect that understanding how the integrin affects this process will tell us more about how specific DNA demethylation occurs, as well as how cancers can become more invasive without mutating the DNA," O'Connor said.
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