Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: Cancer

The Family and Lab Behind a ‘Precious’ Donation to Basic Research

By Karen Kreeger | November 20, 2015 | Comments image from

In 2009, Sarah Gray found out during a routine ultrasound that one of the twins she was carrying had anencephaly, a fatal genetic condition where the brain and skull don't fully develop. After his death, she and her husband donated Thomas’s organs and tissues and since then, have been tracking how they've been used. Read more

Shining a Spotlight on Our Genes, in Our Jeans (photos)

By Katie Delach | November 13, 2015 | Comments image from

This Tuesday, the Basser Center for BRCA hosted the “Basser Jean Bash – Unzip Your Genes,” an inaugural New York City benefit which raised over $8 million for the Center and included a celebration with special performances by Freestyle Love Supreme and American Authors. Planning for the event took more... Read more

The Support behind the Support

By Olivia Fermano | November 9, 2015 | Comments image from

The number of adults and childhood cancer survivors in the United States is expected to reach 19 million in 10 years, nearly quadruple what it is today, the American Cancer Society reports. The increase in cancer survivorship is attributable to many factors – from advanced imaging techniques and earlier detection... Read more

Looking to Ancient Symbionts for New Cancer Therapies

By Karen Kreeger | October 26, 2015 | Comments Mitochondria Courtesy NICHD

Talk about a eureka moment: Andrea Facciabene, PhD, a research assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was taking a walk one day on the Penn campus when it hit him: What do we really need to make immunotherapy a reality for everybody? The answer, he thought, was in the mitochondria,... Read more

It’s Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day!

By Katie Delach | October 21, 2015 | Comments BRA Day

It’s BRA Day! Yes, you read that right. While much of October is focused on raising awareness around research and education for patients or families at risk for breast cancer, today is the day we pause to promote education, awareness, and access regarding post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day... Read more

Translation Starts at the Bench for Penn Fellow (VIDEO)

By Karen Kreeger | October 19, 2015 | Comments Pipette Fume Hood PP 2015

For postdoctoral fellow Kristen Pauken, PhD, what “gets her up in the morning” are the cancer immunology experiments she is conducting alongside her mentor John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology at the Perelman School of Medicine. His lab concentrates on getting a better handle on what makes... Read more

Abramson Cancer Center Raises $3.5 Million – and Takes a Selfie (Photos)

By Steve Graff | October 15, 2015 | Comments Selfie

We put together a slideshow of photographs to give a glimpse inside the Abramson Cancer Center’s (ACC) first “Philly Fights Cancer” fundraiser, but perhaps the best picture of the night was snapped Ellen-Degeneres-at-the-Oscars-style on an iPhone during the program. “Everyone get ready," said Tracy Davidson, NBC10 anchor and emcee for... Read more

Drug Pricing Debate Once Again Ignited

By Steve Graff | October 6, 2015 | Comments Earnings-on-drugs-1362499408_53

A few weeks ago, news broke that the founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli, bought the 62-year-old drug daraprim, only to turn around and up the cost by 5,000 percent. The move by Shkreli, who said the revenue would fund research to develop better treatments for toxoplasmosis, the parasitic infection... Read more

Plugging up the Pipeline

By Karen Kreeger | September 2, 2015 | Comments Steps Jeremy Levine

Cultivating a career in biomedical research is basically a series of experiential steps: Most times, but not always, it starts with a knack and interest in STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- in high school, a relevant major in college, eventually earning a PhD, and securing a... Read more

Using Summertime for a Head Start in the Lab

By Karen Kreeger | August 5, 2015 | Comments Summer in the lab pic Aug 2015

Back in 2013, the Penn Medicine News Blog covered then rising high school junior Kareema Dixon, who started her science career, in part, by participating in the BioEYES program developed by Jamie Shuda, EdD, director of Life Science Outreach at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IRM). Dixon continued with her... Read more

Decisions in Breast Reconstruction

By Katie Delach | July 17, 2015 | Comments image from

Autologous tissue reconstruction (left) and breast reconstruction using a tissue expander (right) are two of the most common reconstruction procedures following breast cancer treatment. Like many cancer patients, those facing a breast cancer diagnosis have a lot of decisions to make, and recovery is a long process. But unlike some... Read more

A Mutation, a New Drug, and a New Life

By Steve Graff | July 10, 2015 | Comments IMG_2462_large

Lois Hahn couldn’t have been happier on Tuesday. The 71-year-old wife and grandmother was back at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, with her son and husband by her side, for a follow-up visit with her medical oncologist, Alexander Perl, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology/Oncology in the ACC. She’s feeling and... Read more

When Less is Just Right

By Olivia Fermano | June 23, 2015 | Comments Ford-labcoat

Philadelphia is chock full of historical firsts, including in the field of medicine. Just last month, two of Penn Medicine’s big “firsts” celebrated their birthdays: the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania – the nation’s first medical school – turned 250 and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first... Read more

Buzz Around Immunotherapy Continues at ASCO

By Steve Graff | June 5, 2015 | Comments Twitter

I read a very witty and apt tweet at this week’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting—the medical conference attended by over 30,000 oncologists and others in the field from all over the world: “Immunotherapy is like the hashtag—it’s here to stay.” The pithy 100 or so characters—replete... Read more

250 Years of Progress, Here's to 250 More

By Robert Press | May 26, 2015 | Comments

A whole lot can happen in 250 years. That’s partially because — and I guess this isn’t much of a surprise — 250 years is a long time. Long enough for a standard snail to circle the globe about 2.64 times (seriously, I did the math). Long enough for Niagara... Read more

Beyond Skin Deep: How Scars Affect Psychosocial Well-Being

By Katie Delach | May 18, 2015 | Comments Laser-for-scars-face-body2

Americans spend more than $12 billion per year on cosmetic procedures to enhance their appearance, whether it’s tanning, implanting, nipping or tucking. That’s because physical appearance influences nearly every aspect of our lives. And it’s not all our own insecurities or judgments, either. Studies show that strangers who observe photographs... Read more

The New Avengers: Lab-Coated Heroes Honored for Behind-the-Scenes Contributions

By Karen Kreeger | May 5, 2015 | Comments Lab week 2015 logo

Late last month Penn Medicine observed the fortieth Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, a time to recognize the hard work and dedication of the 600-plus lab professionals in more than 30 laboratories across the health system. Read more

Roberts Proton Therapy Center Celebrates 5 Years (Photos)

By Steve Graff | April 23, 2015 | Comments 15

Congratulations to the Roberts Proton Therapy Center on its five year anniversary! On Wednesday night, the department of Radiation Oncology held an event in the Smilow Center for Translational Research to celebrate this significant milestone with faculty, staff, Penn Medicine leadership, patients and their families, and the Roberts family, including... Read more

Removing Barriers to Breast Cancer Care

By Olivia Fermano | February 13, 2015 | Comments image from

I overheard a breast cancer patient once say: There is only one thing worse than having cancer – not being able to afford it. Sobering. Financial cost remains a barrier to cancer screenings - let alone cancer treatment - among lower income women. While multiple factors contribute to racial and... Read more

Focus on Rare Diseases is Common at Penn Medicine

By Karen Kreeger | February 6, 2015 | Comments Rare Disease Day Logo 2015

Penn Medicine has been at the forefront of rare disease research for decades, and these efforts – as well as many of its other research and clinical milestones -- are being honored this year as part of the Perelman School of Medicine’s 250th anniversary celebration. Read more

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