Capturing the power of Stanford

Understanding cancers at their basic biological level is the beginning. But transforming the lives of patients and their families relies on translation—those clinical studies that turn new knowledge into better treatments and more effective prediction and prevention. Stanford Medicine also exhibits great strengths at this crucial point in the spectrum.

A robust community of scientists, anchored by the Jill and John Freidenrich Center for Translational Research at Stanford, is working on clinical investigations across dozens of cancer studies. Transforming Cancer Care will increase the number and scale of these studies in areas such as bioinformatics and big data, genomics and precision medicine, and immunotherapy.

The complex and constantly changing interactions among biology, genetics, and environment that cause cancer are another key target for Transforming Cancer Care. Stanford’s recently expanded Cancer Population Sciences program will combine our renowned strengths in biology and genetics with new expertise in environmental factors to build a comprehensive risk assessment program that will enable us to predict and prevent cancer like never before.

Marsha Badagliacca never smoked, but her parents did, and at age 61, she ended up with cancer in both lungs. For five years, one new chemotherapy drug after another kept her going. “I joked that if they kept inventing things for me to take,” she said, “I would stay alive to take them.” Yet the tumors always came back…until she was treated at Stanford with CyberKnife, a Stanford-developed technology that irradiates tumors more precisely, minimizing damage to surrounding tissues and reducing side effects. In a recent letter she wrote: “It’s hard to believe that five years have passed since my CyberKnife treatment and a whole decade since my diagnosis! A good milestone to meet!”

The Stanford Vision

Translational initiatives currently in clinical trials

  • Antibody CD47 enables tumor cell ingestion by macrophages; holds promise for solid tumors, brain tumors, and acute leukemia
  • Antibody CD137 activates the body’s natural killer cells to attack cancer cells; holds promise for lymphoma, breast, and colorectal cancers
  • Stem Cell Transplantation and novel cellular therapeutics hold promise for multiple types of cancer
  • Hedgehog Pathway Inhibition promotes tumor regression; holds promise for skin, prostate, and
    gastrointestinal cancers
  • CyberKnife minimizes the tissue damage and side effects of radiation therapy; holds promise for breast, lung, and other cancers
  • Immunotherapeutics incites the immune system to kill tumors; holds promise for many cancer types
  • Genomic Medicine provides highly personalized treatments based on genetic sequencing; holds promise for pediatric sarcoma and other cancers