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Clinical Research in Lung Cancer
A Personalized Approach to Cancer Care

Sponsored by Thompson Cancer Survival Center

On Friday, November 4, 2022, Thompson Cancer Survival Center (TCSC) and Thompson Oncology Group (TOG) hosted their second annual clinical research symposium. This event recognizes the importance of clinical research and making it available for the communities we serve. Continuing education opportunities help clinical providers, patients, and the community stay current with developments and trials available and those on the horizon. This conference will provide research professionals, clinical providers, patients, and the community at large with an updated and enhanced understanding of oncology clinical research.

Watch the Symposium Virtually: 

Event Summary:

After a warm welcome from Dr. David Chism, Medical Director of Clinical Research for TCSC, Dr. David Graham took the podium. A thoracic surgical oncologist working with TCSC, Dr. Graham presented a history of the evolution of oncology surgery in treating cancer and establishing the oncology surgery role in the multidisciplinary oncology treatment team, in both general oncology and specifically in lung cancer. He spoke of the importance of clinical trials in advancing surgical oncology as well as highlighted some of the advancements.

Brion Shin, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Thompson Proton Center, then presented the advantages of using proton therapy to treat non-small cell lung cancer, which include overall longer three and four year survival, less damage to healthy tissue and fewer treatment-related side effects than with conventional radiation. He also highlighted the need for more trials comparing protons and photons in treating lung cancer. Also from Thompson Proton Center, Chester Ramsey, P.D., Chief Medical Physicist described how image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) can not only manage radiation delivery, accounting for breathing movement while treating lung cancer, but as demonstrated in a clinical trial at Thompson Proton Center, CT based IGRT can also evaluate the tumor’s response to treatment. Treatment plans can then be amended to adapt to tumor responses- both able to be predicted and also able to be visualized.

Kimberly Pickel, NP from Thompson Oncology Group at TCSC Downtown Knoxville educated everyone on immune-related adverse effects from immunotherapy treatments and how to treat them. She gave an overview of immunotherapy agents for treating lung cancer and their corresponding side effects. She also addressed patients with pre-existing medical conditions and how they can affect response to immunotherapy and treatment of side effects. She then talked about how to manage the side effects.

Keynote speaker, Thomas Iams, MD, Director of Thoracic Clinical trials and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, reported on his research using circulating lung cancer tumor DNA to guide treatment in lung cancer. He described how pinpointing mutations in the ctDNA using liquid biopsies allows physicians to treat patients with therapies specifically directed at the mutations, improving survival. He hypothesized that ctDNA can provide insight into which patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer are cured with chemotherapy and radiation. He discussed the research and results that his team has conducted to support his hypothesis, stressing the importance of clinical research in this area of lung cancer. Dr. Iams closed with a charge to invest more in prospective evaluations of the clinical utility of ctDNA monitoring to guide treatment in patients with non-small cell and small cell lung cancer and thanked his team.



Featured Speakers:

Thomas Iams, MD
Medical Oncologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University
Topic: Potential of Circulation Tumor DNA to Guide Treatment in Patients with Lung Cancer

David Chism, MD
Medical Director of Clinical Trials 
Hematologist and Medical Oncologist

David Graham, MD
Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon 
Topic: Evolution of a Thoracic Surgical Oncologist in Early Stage Lung Cancer

Varun Shah, MD
Interventional Pulmonologist

Brion Shin, MD
Radiation Oncologist

Chester Ramsey, Ph.D., DABR, DABMP
Chief Medical Physicist 
Thompson Cancer Survival Center
Topic: Prediction of Lung Cancer Tumor Response to Radiation Therapy 

Kimberly Pickel, FNP
Oncology Nurse Practitioner


NOTE: Facility tours of Thompson Proton Center will be available immediately following the program! 


CME Credits Available! 

Covenant Health is accredited by the Medical Association of Georgia to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Covenant Health designates this live activity for 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.