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Archive for January, 2010

UNMC’s Dr. Bridge a rising star in the pathology world

by Tom O’Connor, UNMC public relations

 
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story originally appeared in the Fall 2009 edition of UNMC Discover.

 Julia Bridge, M.D., has a unique skill set that makes her a true Sherlock Holmes in the pathology world.

 

She specializes in analyzing bone and soft tissue tumors, and she’s one of the best in the world.

 

A professor of pathology and microbiology at UNMC, Dr. Bridge will be honored next year by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York for her contributions to advance knowledge of human cancer. She will receive the prestigious Fred W. Stewart Award, which honors a top pathologist each year.

 

“Cancer cytogenetics is one of the foundations of our growing understanding of human cancer that is driving improved diagnosis and therapy,” said Marc Ladanyi, M.D., chief of MSKCC’s Molecular Diagnostics Service in the department of pathology. “Through her career-long effort in this area, Dr. Bridge has not only put UNMC on the map, she has made it a world capital in this field.”

 

There are more than 100 different types of bone and soft tissue cancers and many types exhibit overlapping clinical, radiographic and microscopic features, so making the correct diagnosis is challenging.

 

New genetic findings — at least 40 of which have been discovered by Dr. Bridge and her laboratory team — allow pathologists to more precisely identify and classify these tumors.

 

“Once we know the exact type of cancer, the clinician can provide the most appropriate therapy with the highest chance of delivering a successful outcome,” she said.

 

One tumor-specific genetic change identified by Dr. Bridge’s team is the 12;22 rearrangement in clear cell sarcoma.

“Cancer cytogenetics is one of the foundations of our growing understanding of human cancer that is driving improved diagnosis and therapy. … Dr. Bridge has not only put UNMC on the map, she has made it a world capital in this field.”-Marc Ladanyi, M.D.
 

This cancer may appear clinically and microscopically identical to the deadly skin cancer malignant melanoma. Recognition of this molecular marker has become fundamental in differentiating it from malignant melanoma.

 

Dr. Bridge’s team tries to identify additional markers of diagnostic and prognostic importance and develop more rational classification schemes that will impact clinical management and therapy election.

 

“We’re looking at the underlying genetic changes and the molecular consequences of those changes,” she said. “Many tumors have a characteristic genetic change that is exclusive to that tumor.

 

“Once we recognize this change, it’s like a domino effect. We can then specifically target these genes as well as other genes further down the pathway.”
 
 
Date Published: Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dr. Vose elected to clinical oncology society board

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations

 

Julie Vose, M.D., has been elected to the board of directors of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

 

Dr. Vose, the Neumann M. and Mildred E. Harris Professorial Chair and chief of section of hematology/oncology, begins her four-year term in June.

 ASCO — the world’s leading professional organization — represents physicians who treat people with cancer. It also sets the standard for patient care worldwide and leads the way in clinical research to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

 

“This is a very exciting opportunity for UNMC to be involved in setting national health care standards and policies in hematology and oncology,” said Dr. Vose, one of the country’s leading experts on lymphoma. “It will give us a voice and a seat at the table with other oncology leaders from around the country and world to improve oncology clinical care, research, and education.”

 

Dr. Vose’s election to the board is a testimony to her expertise and international recognition in clinical oncology, said Lynell Klassen, M.D., professor and chairman of the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine.

 

“It reflects what she’s done,” he said. “To be elected at this level by a group of peers is truly noteworthy.”

 

Dr. Vose is principal investigator or co-investigator of two National Cancer Institute grants and other clinical research grants totaling more than $6 million. She has authored or co-authored 240 manuscripts, 40 book chapters and 230 abstracts and has given more than 400 lectures and presentations internationally.

 

Date Published: Thursday, January 7, 2010

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