|Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, Senior Vice President for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Senior Associate Dean for Health Equity and Inclusive Excellence for Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, always knew she wanted to be a physician. "Health equity was built into everything I did, even if I didn’t know it or recognize it at the time," Wilkins said. "I have always learned and believed that people are the same — everyone deserves to be healthy, and everyone should have the best opportunities to take care of themselves and their families." Click below to learn more about health equity initiatives.
|Vanderbilt was the lead site for an NIH-funded, phase 2, multicenter influenza vaccine study in pediatric allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) recipients that may lead to a change in the current flu vaccine recommendations in this vulnerable population. Natasha Halasa, MD, MPH and colleagues recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that two doses of high-dose trivalent flu vaccine resulted in higher amounts of influenza-specific antibodies than two doses of standard dose quadrivalent vaccine.
Testing the use of Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine Compared to the Usual Treatment (Chemotherapy with Docetaxel plus Trastuzumab) for Recurrent, Metastatic, or Unresectable HER2-Positive Salivary Gland Cancer
This phase II trial compares the effect of usual treatment of docetaxel chemotherapy plus trastuzumab, to ado-emtansine (T-DM1) in patients with HER2-positive salivary gland cancer that has come back (recurrent), that has spread from where it first started (primary site) to other places in the body, or cannot be removed by surgery (unresectable). Trastuzumab is a form of targeted therapy because it works by attaching itself to specific molecules (receptors) on the surface of cancer cells, known as HER2 receptors. When trastuzumab attaches to HER2 receptors, the signals that tell the cells to grow are blocked and the cancer cell may be marked for destruction by body's immune system. Trastuzumab emtansine contains trastuzumab, linked to a chemotherapy drug called emtansine. Trastuzumab attaches to HER2 positive cancer cells in a targeted way and delivers emtansine to kill them. Docetaxel is in a class of medications called taxanes. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing and may kill them. Trastuzumab emtansine may work better compared to usual treatment of chemotherapy with docetaxel and trastuzumab in treating patients with recurrent, metastatic or unresectable salivary gland cancer.
Testing the Use of Steroids and Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors with Blinatumomab or Chemotherapy for Newly Diagnosed BCR-ABL-Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Adults
This phase III trial compares the effect of usual treatment of chemotherapy and steroids and a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) to the same treatment plus blinatumomab. Blinatumomab is a Bi-specific T-Cell Engager (BiTE) that may interfere with the ability of cancer cells to grow and spread. The information gained from this study may help researchers determine if combination therapy with steroids, TKIs, and blinatumomab work better than the standard of care.
Testing What Happens When an Immunotherapy Drug (Pembrolizumab) is Given by Itself Compared to the Usual Treatment of Chemotherapy with Radiation after Surgery for Recurrent Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This phase II trial studies the effect of pembrolizumab alone compared to the usual approach (chemotherapy [cisplatin and carboplatin] plus radiation therapy) after surgery in treating patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma that has come back (recurrent) or patients with a second head and neck cancer that is not from metastasis (primary). Radiation therapy uses high energy radiation or protons to kill tumor cells and shrink tumors. Cisplatin is in a class of medications known as platinum-containing compounds. It works by killing, stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Carboplatin is also in a class of medications known as platinum-containing compounds. It works in a way similar to the anticancer drug cisplatin, but may be better tolerated than cisplatin. Carboplatin works by killing, stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as pembrolizumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Giving pembrolizumab alone after surgery may work better than the usual approach in shrinking recurrent or primary head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Testing the Use of Investigational Drugs Atezolizumab and/or Bevacizumab with or without Standard Chemotherapy in the Second-Line Treatment of Advanced-Stage Head and Neck Cancers
This phase II/III compares the standard therapy (chemotherapy plus cetuximab) versus adding bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy, versus combination of just bevacizumab and atezolizumab in treating patients with head and neck cancer that has spread to other places in the body (metastatic or advanced stage) or has come back after prior treatment (recurrent). Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as atezolizumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Bevacizumab is in a class of medications called antiangiogenic agents. It works by stopping the formation of blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to tumor. This may slow the growth and spread of tumor. Cetuximab is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. It binds to a protein called EGFR, which is found on some types of cancer cells. This may help keep cancer cells from growing. Cisplatin and carboplatin are in a class of chemotherapy medications known as platinum-containing compounds. They work by killing, stopping, or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Docetaxel is in a class of chemotherapy medications called taxanes. It stops cancer cells from growing and dividing and may kill them. The addition of bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy or combination therapy with bevacizumab and atezolizumab may be better than standard chemotherapy plus cetuximab in treating patients with recurrent/metastatic head and neck cancers.
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase II trial studies the best approach to combine chemotherapy and radiation therapy (RT) based on the patients response to induction chemotherapy in patients with non-germinomatous germ cell tumors (NGGCT) that have not spread to other parts of the brain or body (localized). This study has 2 goals: 1) optimizing radiation for patients who respond well to induction chemotherapy to diminish spinal cord relapses, 2) utilizing higher dose chemotherapy followed by conventional RT in patients who did not respond to induction chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs, such as carboplatin, etoposide, ifosfamide, and thiotepa, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays or high-energy protons to kill tumor cells and shrink tumors. Studies have shown that patients with newly-diagnosed localized NGGCT, whose disease responds well to chemotherapy before receiving radiation therapy, are more likely to be free of the disease for a longer time than are patients for whom the chemotherapy does not efficiently eliminate or reduce the size of the tumor. The purpose of this study is to see how well the tumors respond to induction chemotherapy to decide what treatment to give next. Some patients will be given RT to the spine and a portion of the brain. Others will be given high dose chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant before RT to the whole brain and spine. Giving treatment based on the response to induction chemotherapy may lower the side effects of radiation in some patients and adjust the therapy to a more efficient one for other patients with localized NGGCT.
Germ Cell (Pediatrics), Pediatrics
A Study of the Drugs Selumetinib versus Carboplatin/Vincristine in Patients with Neurofibromatosis and Low-Grade Glioma
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase III trial studies if selumetinib works just as well as the standard treatment with carboplatin/vincristine (CV) for subjects with NF1-associated low grade glioma (LGG), and to see if selumetinib is better than CV in improving vision in subjects with LGG of the optic pathway (vision nerves). Selumetinib is a drug that works by blocking some enzymes that low-grade glioma tumor cells need for their growth. This results in killing tumor cells. Drugs used as chemotherapy, such as carboplatin and vincristine, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. It is not yet known whether selumetinib works better in treating patients with NF1-associated low-grade glioma compared to standard therapy with carboplatin and vincristine.
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase III trial compares the effect of selumetinib versus the standard of care treatment with carboplatin and vincristine (CV) in treating patients with newly diagnosed or previously untreated low-grade glioma (LGG) that does not have a genetic abnormality called BRAFV600E mutation and is not associated with systemic neurofibromatosis type 1. Selumetinib works by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth and may kill tumor cells. Carboplatin and vincristine are chemotherapy drugs that work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. The overall goal of this study is to see if selumetinib works just as well as the standard treatment of CV for patients with LGG. Another goal of this study is to compare the effects of selumetinib versus CV in subjects with LGG to find out which is better. Additionally, this trial will also examine if treatment with selumetinib improves the quality of life for subjects who take it.
Dabrafenib Combined with Trametinib after Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients with Newly-Diagnosed High-Grade Glioma
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase II trial studies how well the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib works after radiation therapy in children and young adults with high grade glioma who have a genetic change called BRAF V600 mutation. Radiation therapy uses high energy rays to kill tumor cells and reduce the size of tumors. Dabrafenib and trametinib may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking BRAF and MEK, respectively, which are enzymes that tumor cells need for their growth. Giving dabrafenib with trametinib after radiation therapy may work better than treatments used in the past in patients with newly-diagnosed BRAF V600-mutant high-grade glioma.
Imatinib Mesylate and Combination Chemotherapy in Treating Patients with Newly Diagnosed Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Multiple Cancer Types
This randomized phase III trial studies how well imatinib mesylate works in combination with two different chemotherapy regimens in treating patients with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Imatinib mesylate has been shown to improve outcomes in children and adolescents with Philadelphia chromosome positive (Ph+) ALL when given with strong chemotherapy, but the combination has many side effects. This trial is testing whether a different chemotherapy regimen may work as well as the stronger one but have fewer side effects when given with imatinib. The trial is also testing how well the combination of chemotherapy and imatinib works in another group of patients with a type of ALL that is similar to Ph+ ALL. This type of ALL is called ABL-class fusion positive ALL", and because it is similar to Ph+ ALL, is thought it will respond well to the combination of agents used to treat Ph+ ALL.
Pediatric Leukemia, Pediatrics
Nivolumab in Combination with Chemo-Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma
Multiple Cancer Types
This phase III trial compares the effects of nivolumab with chemo-immunotherapy versus chemo-immunotherapy alone in treating patients with newly diagnosed primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL). Immunotherapy with monoclonal antibodies, such as nivolumab, may help the body's immune system attack the cancer, and may interfere with the ability of cancer cells to grow and spread. Treatment for PMBCL involves chemotherapy combined with an immunotherapy called rituximab. Chemotherapy drugs work in different ways to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody. It binds to a protein called CD20, which is found on B cells (a type of white blood cell) and some types of cancer cells. This may help the immune system kill cancer cells. Giving nivolumab with chemo-immunotherapy may help treat patients with PMBCL.
Lymphoma, Pediatric Lymphoma, Pediatrics