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Massey hosts 12th Annual MU-NCORP Symposium and Affiliate Retreat

Mar 13, 2023


A group of approximately 75 physicians, advanced practitioners, medical professionals in oncology and cancer survivors gathered for VCU Massey Cancer Center’s 12th Annual Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program (MU-NCORP) Symposium and Affiliate Retreat on March 10-11 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel and Spa in Short Pump.

“A robust and active MU-NCORP is essential in the 21st century to how we get clinical trials to our patients,” said Robert A. Winn, M.D., the director and Lipman Chair in Oncology at Massey and senior associate dean for cancer innovation at the VCU School of Medicine. “This group will serve as the standard bearers for how the community is a driver of what we do at Massey.”

Through its MU-NCORP, Massey partners with nine health systems and oncology medical practices throughout Virginia to expand its clinical trial offerings statewide to provide cancer patients — particularly minority and underserved patients — access to prevention, early detection and treatment clinical trials as well as cancer care delivery research closer to home. 

During the symposium on Friday, Thomas J. Smith, M.D., FACP, professor of oncology and director of palliative medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, provided an update on his research investigating effective strategies for mitigating painful and debilitating side effects of cancer treatment, including the use of a novel treatment option called scrambler therapy to reduce pain and neuropathy through electronic stimulation.

“I think over the next two or three years you’ll see a lot of people using scrambler therapy,” Smith said.

Wendy Bottinor, M.D., cardio-oncologist and member of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Massey, presented on some ongoing cardio-oncology studies at Massey to improve and protect the heart health of cancer patients.

MU-NCORP Symposium group pic

N. Arvind Dasari, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, discussed updates in the field of oncology for the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors, specifically the use of circulating tumor DNA as a powerful tool in the management of cancer patients.

During the Affiliate Retreat on Saturday, Richard Lucidi, M.D., division director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the VCU School of Medicine, highlighted fertility preservation options for cancer patients; Jennifer Rohan, Ph.D., LCP, director of psychosocial clinical care and research at Massey and the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and Vanessa Sheppard, Ph.D., associate director for community outreach and engagement at Massey, gave a comprehensive update on cancer care delivery research efforts at VCU; and Masey Ross, M.D., medical director of clinical research affiliations at Massey, and Kristin Campbell, CCRP, program administrator for the MU-NCORP at Massey, gave an overall update on the NCI Community Oncology Research Program at the cancer center.

Additionally, Massey patient and Community Champion Sharon Rivera-Sanchez moderated a patient advocate panel discussion featuring a group of cancer survivors, including Kimberly Bowles, Thelma Perry Brown, Terlisa Sheppard and Deondre Williams.

Written by: Blake Belden

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