WEEI>On Demand>>D&C - Dr. Barrett Rollins, chief scientific medical officer, Dana-Farber

D&C - Dr. Barrett Rollins, chief scientific medical officer, Dana-Farber

Aug 29, 2016|

Dr. Rollins manages the scientific, technological, and research operations of the Institute. Dr. Rollins talks about Profile, which is a research project launched by scientists at Dana-Farber. It is one of the nation’s most comprehensive personalized cancer medicine initiatives. Since the project began in 2011, Profile scientists have been analyzing the DNA in tumor tissue from patients coming to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for treatment of all types of cancers. Subsequently, Profile testing has expanded to pediatric cancer patients.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Lot of people mark the passing of time in their lives and various various ways whether it's New Year's Eve and here we go to another year. My birthday and now turning thirty or forty or fifty or sixty opening day at Fenway Park is another one. One of the ways Dennis and Callahan and Manningham mark the passage of time in their lives is who we spot. The face off and have a conversation with doctor fair Romans used to chief scientific medical officer today in a par which of course being cute with it's my. He manages the scientific technological and research operations of the institute and get nothing here has come and gone doctor good to see you again. It's great to see you guys aisles and mark the passage of time by my walk up to Fenway from home this is really wonderful I got to thank you again. On behalf of all the scientists and clinicians and researchers and staff at camp harper but most importantly. On behalf of the patients were doing what you do every year this is just the most inspiring thing I can. But after runs as an overview witness of the view from 35000 feet this is our fifteenth here I believe we raised in excess of forty. Million dollars what has happened. In his last fifteen years. With them not only the forty million dollars for all the money in the cancer research where we've gone from like eight Tuesday or eight L where are we. Here so that's it it's a great question because I think especially when you get to anniversaries like this it's important look back and see what you've been able to do. I have the great privilege of having worked at Dana Farber since 1983. And I've stayed there because it is the most exciting place to work in the world as far as I'm concerned when I've been able to do my privilege. Is to watch how things have changed over the course of time. To me. The most important thing the big 35000. Foot message. Is that things get better year after year after year the survival improved. The quality of life improves our ability to treat patients effective and safe way improves. And the reason that that's happened I think this is essential for all your listeners to know. One of the main reasons that happens is because they provide the money. To be able to to allow us to be able to do the research. That. Creates those new interventions. You can comes on the odds are good doctors performing the most exciting thing that's happened in the past couple years. Is what you're gonna hear about it think a lot of for the next two days that's immune there're guys talked about this yet those so you know the reason that we can. Overcome infections the reason we can be infected with bacteria or viruses and get rid of this as we have an immune system that recognizes these things for. But that we mount this response to its roots foreign body. For a 150 years cancer scientists thought well maybe cancers are foreign bodies to maybe your immune system and recognize. These cancers and get rid of them. We've had people at Dana Farber months ago which it's my wicked Smart people art institution who really believed in this and worked on this. When it didn't look very hopeful. And it was dollars from people like your listeners that allowed them to keep doing their work and ultimately what's happened is we now have a whole series of drugs. There are doing things we never thought possible. Patients with really difficult diseases like lung cancer melanoma skin cancer field every other treatment. They get these drugs that modify their immune system so that now there are inconsistencies there cancers for and it gets rid of the cancers for for long periods of time. The most important message in this little vignette is that the reason this happened is because of basic research. That really wasn't necessarily directed at looking at cancer but it was basic research today how does the does the immune system work. We couldn't have done that research without the people. Listening today who've been able to provide money so we can do or what's the next big idea then. So the next big idea to combine all of us in past years I've talked about the importance of genetic abnormalities in cancer. And I come up with drugs that specifically turn off these genetic abnormalities. The big thing now is to combine. Combine this with new stuff to really completely remove the cancer from the patient for what we're seeing these nice prolonged responses. Not everybody yet we have to figure out how to make this happen for everybody and for relief prolonged period of time and I have to say it again. Everybody who's out there listening. If you want if you're frustrated about cancer frustrated because you have mr. loved one have because. You you know somebody has it that way that you can be effective. The way you can really take control of this problem is to donate money because you're money has enabled these new Q. I made the observation that seems busier than ever today in a at the Jimmy Fund clinic is that true and is that a good thing bad thing. So I think it's a good thing you know we are seeing an increased number if you order a commission. About the no I I don't know I didn't put that contrary to what my agent. Now that we are seeing more patients coming to them our but I think that's important because. The until things become completely standard here. The way you get good players but coming to centers like ours we've gone out into the community as well we have many centers all over the statement summoned in New Hampshire. We need to bring these incredible advances to as many people as possible this is even part of Joseph Biden's moving shops though via ideas to bring. These advances in cancer says many people. Profile project is. One of the most. I think it's gonna end up being one of the highest impact things that we've done so I've talked before about how cancer is fundamentally. The genetic disease some disease that occurs when the genes that control the way you're cells grow. Yet to use a technical terms screwed up and that we know what the consequence of those screw ups are and we can make drugs now that. Counter counteract those rooms but we need to make the diagnosis first we need to figure out what the genetic abnormalities in a patient's cancer. The profile project is designed to get these genetic profile of the cancers leukemia lymphoma. Every patient who comes to Dana Farber Brigham and women's cancers for adults children and everybody. But all this information to a huge database but the doctors know what the abnormalities are but also let our scientists get into that database and ask questions about how to genetics. Affect the way the cancer behaves how genetics influence. Whether someone responds to a to a to a treatment. This is now one of the biggest databases in the world but the most important thing for this message is again we had we could only do this. Charitable donations went from your listeners. And for people who wonder you know are we the only people doing this we're not. We are now combining our data with six or seven other major cancer centers to try to answer these questions using it. If doctor Barrick Rollins the chief scientific medical officer at the Dana Farber and another indication of how Smart he is this is his first day back from a summer vacation so rather than go right in the office and have to you know deal with that beaten them back at work here it's casualty if you if you heard of a shark they know any never got it under bush get them out I did you. Didn't think really really Smart people like doctor Rawlins weren't that worried about sharks are you kidding. Your your afraid of sharks moment whites are not claim her job at. And avoid the sales guys are you leaving them I think there underground they're worse it's just circling up funds beat exotic sex thanks doctor.

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