Given hosts talk on latest in cancer treatment
August 24, 2005
Smaller, more effective doses of chemotherapy with fewer side effects – that has been a dream of cancer patients and professionals for many years. Now that dream is increasingly a reality, according to Dr. Andrew Thorburn, next week’s guest lecturer at Aspen’s Given Institute.The Aspen Given Foundation’s Summer 2005 Health Education Series continues its summer programming on Wednesday with insights into the latest research and goals in cancer treatment. Thorburn will present “New Strategies for Treating Cancer: Highly Targeted Tumor Treatment.” The Aspen Given Foundation is the institute’s nonprofit, fund-raising arm. Seating for his talk is free and unreserved; the presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. at The Given Institute, 100 E. Francis St.Thorburn is the Grohne professor of cancer research and the associate director for Basic Research at the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center in Aurora, the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.A professor in the pharmacology department, Thorburn is a leader in the understanding of how cancer cells are affected during formation and treatment, according to The Given Foundation. “Twenty years ago, we thought cancer was a result of cells growing too fast. Now, we say that the cells don’t die quick enough,” Thorburn said in a Given news release. During his talk, he will explain how cancer treatment has changed in the past few years. “Doctors are moving away from treating everyone with the same kind of tumor in the same way,” Thorburn said. “Now, they are targeting the particular genetic defect that caused each individual’s tumor. The expectation is that this new approach will be much more effective and associated with fewer side effects.” In his lecture, Thorburn will focus on a couple of examples that are studied in his own lab, where researchers are hoping to kill tumor cells with re-engineered bacterial toxins instead of treating people with chemical poisons. Thorburn’s current research includes the study of cell death regulation during tumor development and treatment with cancer therapeutics including “death receptors” and tumor cell-targeted bacterial toxins.He will explain some of the difficulties in the fight to combat cell damage, and he will focus on the good news and the positive trends there are in the latest therapies being developed to fight cancer.The Given Institute, a property of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, is marking its 33rd year of hosting national and international conferences, as well as professional medical seminars. The Aspen Given Foundation offers a full schedule of public lectures, brown-bag lunch series with local doctors, a valleywide dental health fair for children, and a vision screening for the public. Additional upcoming events include: Sept. 16-17: “Matter of Heart” – an evening of entertainment and education about women and heart disease presented by Jan Snooks, co-sponsored with Aspen Valley Hospital and the AVH Nurse Council. The event will be at The Given Institute at 7 p.m. Sept. 30: Children’s health lecture and reception with Dr. George J. Dover, director of the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Oct. 29: Save Your Sight Vision Fair – free vision screenings at the El Jebel Community Center.