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News: Featured Story

Hidden Risks

Monday, November 7th, 2022

Damaris Olagundoye, MD, grew up knowing that her maternal grandmother was a breast cancer survivor. She would listen as her mother talked with cousins who had also been diagnosed with the disease, but her family didn’t learn until decades later that they carried a mutation in the BRCA2 gene. Her mother’s heritage was Afro Panamanian, […]

Cracking the Colon Cancer Conundrum

Monday, November 7th, 2022

Twenty years ago, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) established the nation’s first Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) to focus exclusively on colorectal cancer, the second leading cancer killer after lung cancer. Directed by Robert J. Coffey, MD, and continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) since 2002, the gastrointestinal (GI) SPORE has fostered a […]


Monday, November 7th, 2022

Claudia Barajas recently put on headphones at El Jefe, a Nashville-based Hispanic radio station, to moderate an information-packed discussion about lung cancer prevention and the importance of screenings for individuals at higher risk of developing lung cancer.  Her Spanish-speaking guest was Rafael Paez, MD, a clinical fellow in the Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy, […]

Friendly Face

Monday, November 7th, 2022

Charlotte Ladd’s work history has been a series of serendipitous opportunities ranging from investment banking to oncology nursing to teaching immigrant nurses in Florida. But it’s her work as a volunteer at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center that has brought her the greatest joy. Ladd volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the waiting room of the Henry-Joyce […]

Shot Shield

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) has taken multiple measures since the COVID pandemic began two years ago to protect its patients, study how the disease affects immunocompromised people and provide them with an extra shield against infection. “The pandemic brought unique challenges and required quick changes in how we provided care,” said Laura Goff, MD, executive […]

Sarcoma Sisterhood

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Courtni Hammers remembers feeling sicker than she’d ever been in her life, racked with fever and overwhelmed with flu-like body pain. Having these symptoms in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic magnified her anxiety. Hammers, then a 25-year-old Navy hospital corpsman, picked up her phone and called Kelsey Bauman, a 29-year-old dental hygienist living more […]

Empathetic Mindset

Friday, April 29th, 2022

When Ryan Merrell, MD, was in his third year of medical school at the University of Alabama, he hadn’t quite decided what specialty he would choose. Then life dealt a heavy blow, nudging him toward the field of neuro-oncology. His father, Jim, who had recently retired from Boeing in Huntsville, Alabama, was diagnosed with glioblastoma […]

Jennifer Pietenpol promoted to new position; Ben Ho Park named Cancer Center director

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Pietenpol named chief scientific and strategy officer Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), Benjamin F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and Executive Vice President for Research for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is stepping down on June 30 from her long-held role as the Cancer Center’s director to focus on a combined leadership […]

Brighter Outlook

Friday, April 29th, 2022

If Landon Ryan had been diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma 10, 20 or 30 years ago, she might not be here today with nearly perfect vision. Thanks to recent improvements in the treatment for this rare form of cancer that almost exclusively affects children under the age of 5, the diagnosis had the power to change […]

Our aging blood

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Lianfei Xu and her husband were just weeks away from traveling to their native China to visit family in the fall of 2014 when she learned that her dad hadn’t been feeling well and was going into the hospital to have some tests. “We were planning to visit my husband’s family on the other side […]

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