WEEI>On Demand>>MFB - Dr. Bruce Johnson, chief clinical research officer, Dana-Farber

MFB - Dr. Bruce Johnson, chief clinical research officer, Dana-Farber

Aug 20, 2014|

Dr. Johnson plays a very important role at Dana-Farber, helping to identify research for clinical trials. These trials provide study data that helps in the treatment of patients by targeting new therapies when other drugs stop working. He specializes in advances in research in lung cancer.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Does Curt Schilling went Dennis and Callahan earlier today that interviews on line -- WEEI dot com is the former Red Sox great pitcher spoke for the first time about his cancer -- his treatments. The Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute we will replay that interview in its entirety at six before regain the Red Sox baseball broadcast that doesn't mean that the donations have to stop. When the Red Sox game begins in fact we can pick up. From there in fact we tried to work towards our goal of getting to three million before the end of the broadcast dates -- then -- Maloney Christian Fauria. Pleased to be joined right now by doctor Bruce Johnson. Who is a a drastic lung cancer chief clinician at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. We should point out that we had your protege pass he audio on with us a little bit earlier on and one of your. Favor patience was all of us yesterday to right. -- what they have had the privilege of doing is so we're we're just in various spoke yesterday and one -- of pieces of work that we don't know the last several years is trying to identify the subset of people that we can treat with just giving tolls once a day -- city giving chemotherapy and it's the kind of work that we've been doing was in the thoracic group for the last ten years had been Dina par. No just and we were talking about imminent now. This courageous right because his clinic as a trial in the dose I think you start -- -- 150. Milligrams -- those huge toll both doses but the fact that it was a very very aggressive. And the fact he got through it. It's up it's gonna help others because now you know more about. Well one of the things didn't I'm I'm not gonna. Talk too much specifically about him but I can use him as an example about how we generally approach things. One of the things that we try to do is not only have these. Most up to date -- treatments that are currently available but also try to work to make things better. I've worked on lung cancer for thirty years first of the national cancer institute and done now -- Dana Farber for the last fifteen years. And we've worked to try to make things better for folks so lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Responsible for about a 160000. Deaths. And the length of time that people live. -- on foresee initially been measured in months to sometimes a year two and one of the things we were very hardest to identify who amongst the people are likely going to be able to respond to these specific targeted treatments. That not only work longer but also allow people to carry on a normal life. They think that ends up happening and I think you see at summer patients that come here. They don't typically have him this year Lawson and look -- sell these pills allow people to be able to carry on and and it's either lady friends and -- dogs around such. So what you do is. You help identify research for the clinical trials so. Did you is it more of OK you what's cool which which drug which treatment. It is it is is -- a more there's more advantageous for us so bar. Patience and then figure out which patient is best for that particular drug. Open -- reported out you know one of the things that we have attempted to do. Is that we used to try to long ball 240000. People got lung cancer and one in one basket and indeed we do see all the patients in a single clinic. However what we ended up discovering is that within those 240000. Patients the United States to get lung cancer. Is that there are some -- you look at their tissue under the microscope. When he began getting into what's changing and what's causing their cancer. It actually ends up being a myriad of causes. And what we've focused on his tried to identify with them as a sub sets where they're gonna respond to specific drugs and for that we work as a team and no one of the things that has been. Unthinkable -- helpful. Over the years is that discovery piece where my laboratory scientific colleagues. Are able to go through and systematically characterize hundreds and hundreds amongst cancer -- specimens. There are patients have allowed us to study that we're very grateful for. And the second thing and this is where it's pertinent to -- it to video Jimmy Fund and the telethon. Is that we are able to use the money that comes in to do the testing so for instance when the people come in and we monitor this test. There's only a few people a beacon Billiton there insurance company and we've been able to do testing for. Initially six genes in 2009. And then we went to ten and 2000. Ten and we've just gone up to 350. And that's available to our to our patients. As part of were searched and -- and the donations and things that we. Get to Dana Farber allow us to do those characterizations without having to worry about making sure that everything's gonna be covered by insurance. Good this team that you we in in the research feel a different doctors that we look at it. You -- all sense of excitement kind of of where it's going or how quickly you guys are helping are quickly finding out ideas. -- The things that having been in the field for thirty years I did a series of publications. About that ten to fifteen years ago that sort of looked at the pace of both of our field. And it was a little bit of discouraging. Assessment this took place in the late nineties and liquidity thousands. And and a 2000 Ford really started to just fundamentally change. And we went from for these subset of patients. Going from expectation of months to a year or two is we -- pretty constantly tell about the third of our patients that. This is likely going to be able to be controlled for years we hope within that period of time. Will come up with additional treatments that allow us to take things even further to help. Don't do this and the first a series of combinations are coming where we've been kind of working in this one drug at a time when and we think we're beginning to get some idea about it combined these. And perhaps talk about much more longer term survival only -- a subset of -- cancer patient. Doctor Bruce Johnson this from Dana Farber Cancer Institute we came back from commercial break with a SoundBite from Curt Schilling and again folks if you missed it that's -- WEEI dot com doing your whole interview. We came back of that -- and he was saying throughout the interviewing all this is on me for using smokeless tobacco and we adjusted non yesterday and the assumption is when you -- lung cancer like -- your mouth cancer throat cancer you associate that with the efforts of smokeless tobacco and associate lung cancer was smoking. But as Justin was saying he didn't smoke. And while 27%. Of all cancer deaths come from lung cancer I imagine there's a smaller percentage that people don't associate. With lung cancer has nothing to do with cigarettes. And just the people of sometimes gets stereotyped away from help when it comes to donations because people wanna put their money elsewhere because it's able people or smoking. They're doing that themselves on to donate elsewhere is that something that you have to overcome in this specific field. So so the first thing is and I'm glad you brought up the smoking issue and I always like to put out a plea of and I'd like to ask the people -- messages to try to begin to put us out of business by it's stopping smoking or not starting. As you correctly stated long it's cigarette smoking uses the cause 85% one cancer. End those -- -- if people never started smoking those would be and ago way. Now that said. People who smoked observed cancers in this some of the other less healthy habits that we pursue. The part that you bring up is that than nonsmokers is actually about fifty personal cancer and it's about 30000 -- similar to what the numbers of people get ovarian cancer and some of the common tumors so. Although it's it's not the most common form of cancer -- It's equivalent to some of our -- more common tumors. On the other piece of it and and the part of my mistress of this is that. The majority of people that get lung cancer you are not people who were smoking. As I mentioned before about 50% of people would never smoked and and and another 35 says 45%. Are people who have heard the message -- quit. So. We'd -- although it's you know it's bad to smoke which people would start -- people are smoking will stop. We tried to take care of all the patients. And again you can help by doing that I had donating to -- cancer 20222. Or call 8777381234. So what's next on the research front and any new and exciting. Treatments -- diagnosis is anything you can talk about. I think the thing that region talk about is that. And one of the things that happens on the other league season is now happening cancers that once they find something they can effectively target. Then there's an easier process where you develop more potent and specific drugs directed against a specific target that typically can make that longer. But the part that we really are hopeful for is being able to combine. A second drug targets and activated pathway and that's one of the principles that we've done and you've heard a lot of you patients hears it. When you put together combinations of -- -- -- and you can begin talking about. Long term survival and potentially even cures and that's what we're. I'm guardedly optimistic about. The catalog of the changes and -- pathways has become much more accurate in the last five years and says it. What's happened last five years in the previous 25 for me being in the field. And and those of the things that were hoping for the second part we hope for it in the part we're trying to do work on is to make certain that these are less. Toxic. That people have just to in -- lives as much to be able to get the effective treatments and be on and more normal life. Well listen we really do appreciate yours not -- joining us give us some information education on it and we hope people hear the message and can donate to the Jimmy Fund doctor Bruce Johnson and Dan Farber cancer institute fingers haven't gone thank you okay. Thank you very focused on days with an FBI who -- -- Christian pour it in bands and there are changing the number.

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