Shutting down inflammation within the body, and then harnessing the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells, could provide the one-two punch needed to effectively treat head and neck cancers, according to researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Research into the pivotal role played by the inflammatory molecule inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in promoting cancer growth and immune evasion is being led by Andrew G. Sikora, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of Head and Neck Translational Research in the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.
One year ago, New York City Police Officer Eder Loor was responding to a 911 call in East Harlem when the 26-year-old man that he and his patrol partner had just apprehended plunged a three-inch knife into Officer Loor’s temple. The blade, which entered just behind his left eye, went to the base of his skull. Incredibly, Officer Loor was able to pull the knife out of his head and keep pressure on the wound until paramedics arrived and brought him to The Mount Sinai Hospital.
I recently got a call from a man in Arizona who found my name on the internet while he was researching some skin cancer facts. He had seen that I had a particular clinical interest in the early diagnosis of melanoma on the lower extremity, and the foot in particular.
He asked me if when he goes to his dermatologist, should he have his feet looked at. It is interesting that many people do not consider the foot as a place that skin cancer, or for that matter, any kind of cancer can occur. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In 2008, a first-year medical student named Jennifer Ling developed a program called the First Generation College Application Essay Writing and Scholarship Program, under the sponsorship of Students for Equal Opportunity in Medicine (SEOM). There were six students in the program, all of whom enrolled seeking help with their college application essays.
Three years later, Jennifer’s program merged with the Mount Sinai Scholars Program, a tutoring program originally sponsored by Mount Sinai’s Department of Health Education. The combined program was renamed the First Generation Scholars Program, and continues as an SEOM-sponsored program. Since then, the program has grown to include more than sixty students and mentors.
“You read the scan, and know it’s in the muscle…have you spoken to your children?,” were the words I heard from the world renowned Oncologist who diagnosed me with Stage IV Appendiceal Cancer, a very rare cancer. In fact, appendix cancer is diagnosed in fewer than 1,000 Americans each year. I couldn’t win the lottery? What made the diagnosis even more terrifying was that there wasn’t much information out there about this cancer.
The first group of doctors offered me IV chemotherapy to treat the cancer they left in my body, which they would not remove, and informed me that there was a 2% success rate with this treatment option. I was told there was no other treatment option available. When they scheduled me for surgery to put a port into my chest for the chemotherapy, I told them I would think about it and get back to them. I never went back. Where you are treated first doesn’t always offer the best treatment option.