The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) is one of the leading research programs in the region. Studies at SCI evaluate new treatments and more effective treatment combinations and focus on detection and prevention. Advances in technology, biotechnology, and computational science are creating new opportunities to combat cancer.
“All of this combined and interacting together makes it possible for researchers to contemplate and even develop technologies and interventions that weren’t even considered possible a few years ago,” said Dr. Charles Drescher, director of gynecologic cancer research at Swedish.
The gynecologic cancer research program at Swedish enrolls 60 to 70 women per year into studies and has roughly 10 to 12 research studies open at any given time.
The TMIST study or (Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial) is a National Cancer Institute-sponsored randomized study to compare two types of FDA-approved mammograms and their ability to reduce the incidence of advanced breast cancer. While 3-D mammography has been around for several years, the TMIST study will help determine if 3-dimensional mammograms are more effective than 2-dimensional mammograms and in what specific situations.
This study is being conducted at about 120 centers across the United States, and Providence Swedish is the study’s only site in Washington.
“This is some of the work we do in clinical trials, but we also have a translational research program trying to really understand the biology and what drives the development of cancer and trying to understand why cancers become resistant to particular types of therapy,” Dr. Drescher said.
There are large disparities in the burden of breast and other cancers in minority and underserved populations. According to the American Cancer Society, more black women die from breast cancer than any other cancer. Black women are also 41 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, despite lower incidence of the disease.
There are various contributing factors, including the biology of breast cancer and available treatment options.
“Access to screening and early detection are also important factors,” Dr. Drescher said.
Swedish’s research is focused on ensuring the right care for every member of the communities it serves.
For more information about the work of the Swedish Cancer Institute, visit the Swedish website.