Firefighter Aims To Catch Cancer Early

Apr 26, 2018
FACEs and LAM are exhibitors at the annual firefighters conference in Indianapolis. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)
Jill Sheridan

A new non-profit and an Indiana laboratory have teamed up to promote early cancer detection for firefighters.  The group of emergency responders faces a greater risk of cancer.

Chris Conner founded Firefighters Against Cancer and Exposures, FACEs, to support firefighters going through cancer treatment.  Firefighters encounter more cancer-causing chemicals than they used to. 

Grant To Help Create Holistic Cancer Care

Feb 7, 2018

A new Indiana University School of Medicine program to holistically address a cancer patient’s needs has received a $14 million gift.

Supportive oncology provides extra layers of care for patients with cancer. Some studies show it can help prolong life. The grant from the Walther Cancer Foundation will enable the creation of a program to addresses not just the management of pain and symptoms but also psychological issues like anxiety or depression.

IU School of Medicine Dean Dr. Jay Hess says it’s a growing trend in cancer care.

Targeted Cancer Dyes Get One Step Closer To Market

Nov 2, 2017

A large gift to an Indiana biotech company will help targeted fluorescent dyes advance, the technology helps make cancer surgeries more successful. The imaging compound armed with fluorescent dyes, given to patients before surgery, illuminates cancer cells and help surgeons find and remove lesions that might have been missed.

On Target Laboratories CEO Martin Low says many skilled surgeons have used the product.

“As experienced as they are they still have found additional lesions that they said were clinically relevant and would benefit the patient by removal,” says Low.

Purdue Develops New Tool For Cancer Risk Prevention

Sep 18, 2017

A new device developed at Purdue aims to more easily identify breast cancer risk factors. The so-called “risk-on-a-chip” that could help researchers figure out how cancer starts.

The chip is a plastic nano-tool that allows researchers to create a tiny controlled environment where they can study factors that play into the development of breast cancer.

Purdue cancer pharmacology professor Sophie Lelievre says her theory is that an increase in cancer cases is related to the environment.

The latest assessment from the American Cancer Society details where Indiana lags and what progress it’s made in cancer fighting policies. The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network annual progress report evaluates state legislative efforts.

American Cancer Society’s Bryan Hannon says failure to pass a cigarette tax increase last session set Indiana back in reducing smoking rates. But he says a modest funding increase for tobacco control programs was a step in the right direction.

The Indiana University School of Medicine is getting $25 million from the Lilly Endowment to recruit new scientists to Indiana, and to pair them up directly with big Indiana companies.

Medical school research dean Anantha Shekhar says it aims to fast-track the creation of treatments from discoveries about cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and more.

He says new technologies like gene sequencing are facilitating those applications faster than ever.

Samuel King, Jr. /

Firefighters from around the state are participating in cancer-prevention training this week in Indianapolis. 

Firefighters are regularly exposed to cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons. And cancer is their leading cause of death. Indianapolis firefighter and cancer survivor Mike Estridge says the health threat was underestimated for years.  

“We knew that there was a problem but we didn’t know how bad the problem was,” he says.

Purdue University Center for Cancer Research

Purdue was one of 270 institutions across the country who rallied their support Wednesday for Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot,” a recently-announced federal iniative that looks to fund and mobilize researchers to, in their words, “double the rate of progress toward a cure.”

The initiative’s “moonshot” title evokes an optimistic time in history…when scientists achieved something Purdue alum and NASA astronaut David Wolf says seemed as impossible as finding a cures for cancer.

Shuhua Yue / Purdue University image

More than 1 million people in the United States will get cancer this year, and doctors are treating a growing number of these patients with immunotherapy,  a method that works a lot like a vaccine. 

About 30 different immunotherapy medicines are FDA approved, a majority of them in just the last four years.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Jill Sheridan reports on work being done in Indiana to help develop this emerging treatment.

  Cancer is a diagnosis that no one wants to hear, but unfortunately, many Americans still do. The journey through treatment is long and arduous, and not always successful. Oncologist Ranjana Srivastava has written A Cancer Companion to help those with cancer, and those who love someone who has been diagnosed. She never tells readers its easy, but she does give advice on how to get through it with a positive and accepting attitude.