From One Cancer to Another

By Katherine Brind’Amour

Man with beard looks through microscope. He wears a white lab coat with Penn State Hershey College of Medicine logo. In the background are test tubes and lab equipment.

David DeGraff examines tumor samples of bladder cancer.

In all of the ways you might think of fighting cancer, perhaps one of the last things on your mind would be to turn one type of cancer into another. After all, who wants to turn a tumor into…a different kind of tumor?

David DeGraff does.

As a 2018 recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Research Scholar Grant for nearly $800,000 over the next four years, DeGraff has big plans for his latest funding. Hear him discuss his findings in this video:

“If we understand what makes a given type of tumor tick, we may be able to force it to become another type of tumor—something that responds to therapy,” says DeGraff, assistant professor of pathology and surgery and a member of Penn State Cancer Institute.

(more…)

February 21, 2018 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Just dance: Sweat, tears and stretching goes into two students’ journey to THON

By Lisa Maresca

Two students, one female and one male, stand with their backs to the camera, facing an arena full of people. They stand with their hands in the air, making a diamond shape with their fingers.

Emma Dahmus, left, and Clay Cooper look out from the stage during the My Hero Zero concert post-pep rally.

Clay Cooper has been stretching twice a day, every day for the past several weeks. The fifth-year MD/MBA student began running on the treadmill again and got as much sleep as he could.

It’s all part of the preparation for dancing in his first THON.

“I started doing P90X yoga, which is an hour and a half,” added Emma Dahmus, another MD/MBA student and first-year THON dancer. “I also bought compression socks.”

She needed them.

(more…)

February 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

Meet the First Four Diamonds Patient: Denise Voloshin

By Marianne Clay

Middle-aged white woman with blonde hair and glasses holds a photo of herself in 1975.

Denise Voloshin, the first Four Diamonds patient, holds a school photo of herself from 1975, the year she was treated for cancer.

Just days before this year’s Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) Weekend Feb.16-18 at University Park, cancer survivor Denise Voloshin marvels at the accomplishments of the world’s largest student-run philanthropy and of its sole beneficiary, Four Diamonds. Since the days when Denise was a patient at Penn State Children’s Hospital, THON has raised nearly $150 million for the work of Four Diamonds.

Like it has since 1977, Four Diamonds will use the millions raised during this year’s THON to provide financial support to pediatric cancer patients and their families at Penn State Children’s Hospital and to fund innovative cancer research.

“The incredible ways THON and Four Diamonds help young cancer patients and their families is nothing short of amazing,” Denise says.

She should know. She was the first “Four Diamond” patient. See photos of Denise as a young girl and today on the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Flickr page.

(more…)

February 12, 2018 at 3:21 pm 1 comment

Pediatric Cancer Treatment Advances Bring New Hope to Children Battling Cancer

By Marianne Clay

Dr. Barbara A. Miller, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Penn State Children’s Hospital, discusses the significant improvements in the treatment of pediatric cancer over the past four decades that have boosted survival rates.

Woman with brown hair and glasses wears lab coat with Penn State College of Medicine logo.

Dr. Barbara A. Miller is the chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

How have treatments for pediatric cancer improved since 1974?

  • The treatment regimens are much more complex. Multi-drug regimens are very common, often with higher drug doses and incorporating new or improved drugs.
  • Risk-directed therapies are more commonly used. Patients are now often stratified into “low” risk, meaning that their disease responds better to current therapies, and they require less intensive therapy, compared to “high” risk, meaning they are at high risk for a relapse and require more intensive therapies to give a better chance of cure. The genetic and biological criteria for designing therapies are continually being better defined.
  • New drugs are available that are biologically targeted and have fewer side effects, and more of these are currently being developed. However, we still need to learn a lot about how to use them, including what diseases they are effective in, how to use them with conventional chemotherapy and with each other, and for how long. (more…)

February 12, 2018 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Head, and heart, in the clouds

Helping others is in Jim George’s nature. As the director of community relations at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, he’s made it his career. In 2011, he became a licensed pilot. That same year, he started building his flight hours so that he could start to volunteer with Angel Flight East.

The nonprofit organization provides free air transportation to financially needy patients and their families by arranging flights to distant medical facilities.

“It’s a great excuse to fly,” George says of Angel Flight. “You get to do what you love and do something good for someone else at the same time.” (more…)

February 5, 2018 at 8:05 am Leave a comment

More than meets the eye

Gascho with ancillary portraits 1

Dr. Joseph Gascho stands in front of his support staff series of portraits at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

If there’s one thing Dr. Joseph Gascho wants you to do, it’s to open your eyes to new possibilities and really see things.

Gascho, a cardiologist with Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute, spends his time outside of the hospital behind a camera, taking photos of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center staff, doctors and patients.

View Dr. Gascho photos on this Flickr album.

“I want other people to see what I see,” he explained. “I’m interested in perceiving and seeing what’s going on, and photography is a way of doing that.

“In hospitals, I want people to see that people are more than they appear to be on the surface. Patients are more than just patients, and doctors are more than just doctors.”

(more…)

January 29, 2018 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

For This Advocate, Sweet Victory

By Carolyn Kimmel

Weighing 380 pounds, Bellefonte resident Dean DeVore was pre-diabetic and struggling with lethargy and sleep apnea. The AccuWeather meteorologist and game announcer for the Penn State Nittany Lions realized he had to do something to gain control over his health. He turned to surgical weight loss and lost 160 pounds.

Pennsylvania residents who, like DeVore, are struggling with obesity have a new option, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Ann Rogers, director of the Penn State Surgical Weight Loss program. After more than a decade of advocacy and more trips to Capitol Hill and the State Capitol than she cares to count, she is celebrating a victory.

As of Jan. 1, Pennsylvania state employees who have a BMI of 40 or more and diabetes are able to get weight loss surgeries covered by their health insurance. The benefit is thanks in large part to Rogers’s tireless efforts.

(more…)

January 17, 2018 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Recent Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Penn State Medicine and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 410 other followers

Share This Page

Bookmark and Share

Recent Tweets

Categories