By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - October 29, 2019
The next generation of precision medicine is being put into practice at Moffitt Cancer Center. That is the message Dr. Howard McLeod, chair of Moffitt’s Individualized Cancer Management Department and medical director of the DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute, imparted on the dozens of people who packed Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club to learn more about the cancer center. The Research Innovations event, held annually in New York, is an opportunity to showcase the cutting-edge research and therapeutic advances being made at Moffitt. McLeod was this year’s keynote speaker.
“Moffitt genomics is a powerful example of research in practice,” said McLeod. “We are using next generation sequencing to understand why some therapies are not working for a patient. We also use the information to guide therapy selection, identify clinical trials and, in some cases, refine a patient’s diagnosis.”
McLeod went on to share how Moffitt is working to take genomic research even further. “Our goal is to sequence the tumor of every metastatic patient when they arrive at Moffitt,” he said. “This will allow us to provide a more precise and individualized treatment plan.” Moffitt is performing this for more than 120 patients per week.
The evening began with a welcome from Moffitt President and CEO Dr. Alan List, who thanked our hosts for the event, Moffitt Foundation board members Eileen and Howard Curd and National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman. List went on to explain what sets Moffitt apart from other institutions in the United States. “At Moffitt, nothing is cookie-cutter about the way we treat our patients,” he added.
Dr. Louis Harrison, Moffitt Radiation Oncology Department Chair, Chief Partnership Officer and Deputy Physician-in-Chief, then took the podium. He shared the special bond physicians develop with their patients and introduced his own patient and New York resident Francie Heller.
Heller shared the story of her battle with head and neck cancer, but what stood out was her appreciation for Harrison and Moffitt. “Whenever I have an issue, I reach out to Dr. Harrison. He always responds right away. I don’t know how he does it with all his patients, but he does,” she commented.
The event was the perfect way to show how Moffitt can have an impact more than 1,000 miles away from Tampa and what truly makes the cancer center special — our commitment to our patients and mission to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.