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Texas Oncology Presents Health Tech Austin’s Cancer Innovation Summit

January 29, 2021

The field of oncology research and innovation is constantly evolving thanks to dedicated researchers, physicians, and cancer care leaders, working together to improve the lives of people with cancer.

Recently, oncology experts from Texas and beyond gathered for an insightful discussion at Health Tech Austin’s Cancer Innovation Summit, presented by Texas Oncology, where they shared knowledge and experience of how cancer care has evolved as well as what the future holds for areas such as radiation, telemedicine, and research.

The Future of Radiation Oncology in a Flash

Radiation oncologist, Ryan Tierney, M.D., of Texas Oncology–South Austin opened the virtual summit with a preview into a future that includes flash radiation therapy. Dr. Tierney explained there is much excitement for this advancement which kills cancer cells while sparing normal tissues by delivering radiation in very high doses over a fast period.

I tell my patients that telemedicine is kind of like wearing a mask – it may not be your favorite thing to do and there are aspects of it that are uncomfortable. However, it allows you to operate safely and complete necessary tasks to function is today’s environment.” – Dr. Debra Patt, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, MBA

Catalyzing Telehealth Evolution Through Crisis

Debra Patt, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, MBA, executive vice president, public policy and strategic initiatives at Texas Oncology, led a panel discussion on the rapid rise of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond with Texas E-Health Alliance Executive Director Nora Belcher and Thomas Kim, M.D., principal of AGMP Telehealth. The national health care emergency catalyzed telehealth evolution, but Dr. Patt emphasized the value of translating the patient-physician relationship through a virtual medium. These virtual relationships are especially important in allowing support and caregiver involvement throughout cancer diagnoses and treatments while still keeping cancer patients and medical professionals safe.

Clinical Cancer Research to Watch

Innovation in cancer research was illustrated by the presentation of promising clinical trial results taking place in Austin by Jeff Yorio, M.D., medical oncologist and hematologist at Texas Oncology–Austin Central. One noteworthy example highlighted the success of combining two important immunotherapy drugs, ipilimumab and nivolumab, to treat a melanoma patient whose cancer spread to the lungs and liver. After four cycles of the treatment, there were no signs of cancer in either of these organs. Like many trials in Austin, this helped lead to the FDA approval of this drug combination.

While 2020 was a year of both great challenges and innovations, Drs. Tierney, Patt, and Yorio concluded that 2021 has even more on the horizon for advancing the future of cancer care and realizing breakthroughs in the field of oncology.

To learn more about innovations on the way in radiation oncology, telemedicine and clinical trial research, catch up on the conversations from Health Tech Austin’s Cancer Innovation Summit here.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.