|Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, Senior Vice President for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Senior Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, always knew she wanted to be a physician. "Health equity was built into everything I did, even if I didn’t know it or recognize it at the time," Wilkins said. "I have always learned and believed that people are the same — everyone deserves to be healthy, and everyone should have the best opportunities to take care of themselves and their families." Click below to learn more about health equity initiatives.
|Vanderbilt was the lead site for an NIH-funded, phase 2, multicenter influenza vaccine study in pediatric allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) recipients that may lead to a change in the current flu vaccine recommendations in this vulnerable population. Natasha Halasa, MD, MPH and colleagues recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that two doses of high-dose trivalent flu vaccine resulted in higher amounts of influenza-specific antibodies than two doses of standard dose quadrivalent vaccine.
Capecitabine Compared to Endocrine Therapy for the Treatment of Non-luminal A Hormone Receptor-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer
This phase II trial compares the effect of capecitabine to endocrine therapy in patients with non-Luminal A hormone receptor-positive breast cancer that has spread from where it first started (primary site) to other places in the body (metastatic). In this study, patients submit a sample of tumor for testing to determine if their breast cancer is considered non-Luminal A. Only patients with non-Luminal A receive study treatment. In the future, doctors hope that this test can assist in picking the best treatment for patients with this type of cancer. Capecitabine is in a class of medications called antimetabolites. It is taken up by tumor cells and breaks down into fluorouracil, a substance that kills tumor cells. Endocrine therapy is treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones. To slow or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other drugs may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Giving capecitabine as compared to endocrine therapy may kill more tumor cells in patients with metastatic breast cancer.
pB1-11 and TA-HPV Vaccines Combined with Pembrolizumab for the Treatment of Recurrent or Metastatic PD-L1 and HPV Positive Oropharyngeal Cancer
This phase II trial tests how well pB1-11 and human papillomavirus tumor antigen (TA-HPV) vaccines in combination with pembrolizumab work in treating patients with oropharyngeal cancer that has come back (recurrent) or that has spread from where it first started (primary site) to other places in the body (metastatic) and that is PD-L1 and human papillomavirus (HPV) positive. Oropharyngeal cancer is a type of head and neck cancer involving structures in the back of the throat (the oropharynx), such as the non-bony back roof of the mouth (soft palate), sides and back wall of the throat, tonsils, and back third of the tongue. Scientists have found that some strains or types of a virus called HPV can cause oropharyngeal cancer. pBI-11 is a circular deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) (plasmid) vaccine that promotes antibody, cytotoxic T cell, and protective immune responses. TA-HPV is an investigational recombinant vaccina virus derived from a strain of the vaccina virus which was widely used for smallpox vaccination. Vaccination with this TA-HPV vaccine may stimulate the immune system to mount a cytotoxic T cell response against tumor cells positive for HPV, resulting in decreased tumor growth. Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as pembrolizumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread by inhibiting the PD-1 receptor. These investigational vaccines could cause or enhance an immune response in the body against HPV, during which time the activity of pembrolizumab against oropharyngeal cancer associated with HPV may be strengthened. These drugs in combination may be more effective in increasing the ability of the immune system to fight oropharyngeal cancer than pembrolizumab alone.
Decitabine and Cedazuridine in Combination with Venetoclax for the Treatment of Patients who have Relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia after Donor Stem Cell Transplant
This phase II trial tests how well decitabine and cedazuridine (DEC-C) works in combination with venetoclax in treating acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in patients whose AML has come back after a period of improvement (relapse) after a donor stem cell transplant. Cedazuridine is in a class of medications called cytidine deaminase inhibitors. It prevents the breakdown of decitabine, making it more available in the body so that decitabine will have a greater effect. Decitabine is in a class of medications called hypomethylation agents. It works by helping the bone marrow produce normal blood cells and by killing abnormal cells in the bone marrow. Venetoclax is in a class of medications called B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) inhibitors. It may stop the growth of cancer cells by blocking Bcl-2, a protein needed for cancer cell survival. Giving DEC-C in combination with venetoclax may kill more cancer cells in patients with relapsed AML.
Total Body Irradiation and Hypofractionated Radiation Therapy with Atezolizumab and Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer, TESSERACT Trial
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase I/II trial studies the side effects, safety, and effectiveness of low dose radiation to the entire body (total body irradiation [TBI]) and higher dose radiation to known areas of cancer (hypofractionated radiation therapy [H-RT]) combined with atezolizumab and chemotherapy (carboplatin & etoposide) in treating patients with small cell lung cancer that has spread to disease sites outside of the lung (extensive stage). Extensive stage disease has historically been treated with chemotherapy alone with consideration of chest (thoracic) radiation therapy for those with response to chemotherapy, as well as consideration of preventative radiation therapy to the head (prophylactic cranial irradiation). Emerging evidence supports the synergistic interactions between immunotherapy and radiation therapy. Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as atezolizumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Carboplatin is in a class of medications known as platinum-containing compounds. It works in a way similar to the anticancer drug cisplatin, but may be better tolerated than cisplatin. Carboplatin works by killing, stopping or slowing the growth of tumor cells. Etoposide is in a class of medications known as podophyllotoxin derivatives. It blocks a certain enzyme needed for cell division and DNA repair and may kill tumor cells. Combining TBI and H-RT with atezolizumab and chemotherapy may improve response to treatment.
Lung, Small Cell
Split Course Adaptive Radiation Therapy and Immunotherapy with or without Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Stage IV or Locally Advanced Lung Cancer, SiCARIO Study
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase I/II trial tests the safety and efficacy of split-course adaptive radiation therapy in combination with immunotherapy with or without chemotherapy for the treatment of patients with stage IV lung cancer or lung cancer that that has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes (locally advanced). Radiation therapy is a standard cancer treatment that uses high energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Split-course adaptive radiation therapy uses patient disease response to alter the intensity of the radiation therapy. Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies such as pembrolizumab, ipilimumab or nivolumab may help the body's immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Chemotherapy drugs like carboplatin, pemetrexed, and paclitaxel work in different ways to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Giving split-course adaptive radiation therapy with standard treatments like immunotherapy and chemotherapy may be more effective at treating stage IV or locally advanced lung cancer than giving them alone.
Lung, Non Small Cell, Phase I
Gabapentin plus Ketamine for the Prevention of Acute and Chronic Pain in Patients with Locally Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Undergoing Chemoradiation
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase I/II trial studies the side effects and best dose of a combination of gabapentin and ketamine and to see how well it works to prevent acute and chronic pain in patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy (chemoradiation) for head and neck cancer that has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes (locally advanced). Gabapentin is a medication that is commonly used to treat nerve related pain. Specifically, it has been used to treat pain involving the mouth, throat and nasal passages in head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation. Ketamine is a type of general anesthetic that blocks pathways to the brain involved with sensing pain. This trial may help doctors determine how patients tolerate the combination of gabapentin and ketamine and to find the correct dosing for ketamine in those taking gabapentin. This will be the basis for a future, larger study to look at how effective this combination is at reducing and/or preventing pain in head and neck cancer patients.
Head/Neck, Phase I
This phase II trial studies the effect of hypofractionated radiotherapy followed by surgery in treating patients with soft tissue sarcoma. Hypofractionated radiation therapy delivers higher doses of radiation therapy over a shorter period of time and may kill more tumor cells and have fewer side effects. Giving hypofractionated radiotherapy followed by surgery may allow patients with sarcomas to be treated in a much more rapid and convenient fashion.
Treosulfan-Based Conditioning Regimen before a Blood or Bone Marrow Transplant for the Treatment of Bone Marrow Failure Diseases (BMT CTN 1904)
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase II trial tests whether treosulfan, fludarabine, and rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) work when given before a blood or bone marrow transplant (conditioning regimen) to cause fewer complications for patients with bone marrow failure diseases. Chemotherapy drugs, such as treosulfan, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Fludarabine may stop the growth of cancer cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth. rATG is used to decrease the body's immune response and may improve bone marrow function and increase blood cell counts. Adding treosulfan to a conditioning regimen with fludarabine and rATG may result in patients having less severe complications after a blood or bone marrow transplant.
Hormonal Therapy after Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab for the Treatment of Hormone Receptor Positive, HER2 Positive Breast Cancer, the ADEPT study
This phase II trial studies the effect of hormonal therapy given after (adjuvant) combination pertuzumab/trastuzumab in treating patients with hormone receptor positive, HER2 positive breast cancer. The drugs trastuzumab and pertuzumab are both monoclonal antibodies, which are disease-fighting proteins made by cloned immune cells. Estrogen can cause the growth of breast cancer cells. Hormonal therapy, such as letrozole, anastrozole, exemestane, and tamoxifen, block the use of estrogen by the tumor cells. Giving hormonal therapy after pertuzumab and trastuzumab may kill any remaining tumor cells in patients with breast cancer.
Testing Lutetium Lu 177 Dotatate in Patients with Somatostatin Receptor Positive Advanced Bronchial Neuroendocrine Tumors
This phase II trial studies the effect of lutetium Lu 177 dotatate compared to the usual treatment (everolimus) in treating patients with somatostatin receptor positive bronchial neuroendocrine tumors that have spread to other places in the body (advanced). Radioactive drugs, such as lutetium Lu 177 dotatate, may carry radiation directly to tumor cells and may reduce harm to normal cells. Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate may be more effective than everolimus in shrinking or stabilizing advanced bronchial neuroendocrine tumors.