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Iams honored by National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Jul. 30, 2020, 7:58 AM


by Tom Wilemon

Wade Iams, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine, is the recipient of a National Comprehensive Cancer Network Foundation Young Investigator Award.

Wade Iams, MD, MSCI

The award will support his research on “Quantifying Minimal Residual Disease in Patients with Small Cell Lung Cancer.”

The research, which would benefit people diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, aims to develop a blood test for detecting cancer recurrence and monitoring treatment responses. The goal is to devise a method for gauging treatment outcomes that would provide data quicker than computed tomography (CT) scans.

“We need to do better and identify cancer recurrence before it shows up on CT scans because when small cell lung cancer recurs on CT scans, it is difficult to treat and lethal,” Iams said.

He hopes the research will help people with all stages of small cell lung cancer, including stage IV.

“A recent development in the last two years allows these patients to get immunotherapy right away in combination with chemotherapy,” Iams said. “However, even patients treated with chemotherapy and immunotherapy have disease growth on average in less than six months, so the treatment works initially in most people, and it does prolong life on average by two to three months. We want to do better than that for patients who have stage IV small cell lung cancer and build on the momentum from immunotherapy by using blood tests to decide if we are able to change treatments sooner rather than waiting for the cancer to grow on CT scans.”

The award provides $150,000 in support over a two-year period. The money will be used for coordination and collection of blood and tumor tissue donations from patients.

“The funding will be combined with support from partners in this analysis,” he  said. “We have partnered with other academic medical centers and some blood testing companies that want to evaluate their platforms with these precious samples.”

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