October 21, 2015 Blog

Report from AMC’s Inaugural One Health Conference

amc one health conference

Report from AMC’s Inaugural One Health Conference

On Saturday, October 2, 2015, the Animal Medical Center hosted its inaugural One Health Conference at the Belfer Research Building of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. The One Health concept recognizes the health of humans, animals and the environment are inevitably intertwined. Attendees spent the rainy and windy Saturday in the comfortable Starr Foundation/Greenberg Conference Center on the third floor. The day’s presentations featured eight pairs of veterinarians and physicians presenting collaborative talks on a wide variety of cancers and cancer related topics, such as pain management and interventional radiology.
Two themes emerged out of the conference: targeted therapy and precision medicine. The themes were voiced equally by both the veterinary and physician presenters. Yet, each specialist interpreted the themes according to their own area of expertise.
Targeted Therapy
Dr. Rachel St-Vincent, AMC’s radiation oncologist, spoke about using stereotactic radiosurgery to target tumors in dogs. In order to effectively target tumors, high detail imaging is required to guide delivery of radiation to the tumor while avoiding normal tissue. Accurate targeting of the tumor allows veterinary oncologists to preserve limb function in dogs with bone tumors (osteosarcoma) and avoids damage to critical anatomic structures, such as the eyes and brain in dogs with head and neck tumors. Human osteosarcoma specialist Dr. Richard Gorelick of Albert Einstein College of Medicine echoed the advantages of stereotactic radiosurgery for human osteosarcoma patients.
High resolution imaging is also required for another targeted therapy, tumor embolization. AMC veterinary interventional radiologist Dr. Chick Weisse and human interventional radiologist Dr. Stephen Solomon both use non-invasive techniques to inject blood vessel blocking material into the vessels supplying tumors. By cutting of the tumor’s blood supply, the interventional radiologist kills the tumor without surgery or chemotherapy. This type of procedure is especially useful when tumors are too large to be removed via surgery or are resistant to chemotherapy.
Precision Medicine
Early this year, President Obama spoke about precision medicine in the East Room of the White House when he announced his budget would contain funding to advance precision medicine so doctors can “deliver[ing] the right treatments, at the right time, every time to the right person.”
Dr. Rodney Page of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center discussed early results from the 3,000 Golden Retrievers entered into the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. The study will follow these dogs for their entire lifespan, recording information about food consumption, air quality and water source. The cause of death will also be studied, looking for risk factors related to the development of cancer. Information from the study will be used to precisely change behavior of Goldens and their owners to decrease cancer risk in this very popular dog breed.
Drs. JP McCue, AMC neurologist, and Theodore Schwartz of Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center presented their work on endoscopic removal of brain tumors. Clearly, this is a precision medicine procedure. Using an endoscope instead of a surgical microscope has improved the precision of this procedure. The endoscope gives the operator a wider field of view inside the brain, allowing more complete removal of the tumor and improving the survival rate.
Dr. Larry Norton of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer’s Breast Center communicated exciting information, not about tumor cells, but about the impact of cells surrounding the tumor cells, cells of the tumor microenvironment. He believes the cells in the microenvironment promote tumor growth as well as tumor dissemination. In his mind, they represent an untapped therapeutic target. Oncologists are always looking for new and better ways to treat cancer and his findings generated a lot of discussion over lunch.
If you are intrigued by the One Health approach to medicine, watch for an announcement soon about the 2016 AMC One Health Conference.

Tags: AMC, amcny, animal medical center, ann hohenhaus, cancer, medicine, NYC, Oncology, one health, physicians, Radiation Oncology, veterinary,

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