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"My team will get you, cancer."Dr. Sapna Patel | Cancer Physician & Researcher
Dr. Patel has always been fascinated with skin. “I always liked the skin. So it seems natural for me to be fighting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer and one of the most aggressive types of cancer out there.”
When Dr. Patel began, there were hardly any effective therapies for advanced melanoma. Even chemotherapy was not effective for the type of rare melanoma Dr. Patel treated: melanoma of the eye.” We’ve recently figured out that we can direct the body’s immune system to fight the invading cancer and melanoma has been the breakthrough cancer for this treatment.”
MD Anderson has specialists and subspecialists in every type of cancer. The talent of these teams is unmatched and among the many reasons they’re leading the charge to end cancer globally. Dr. Patel and her colleagues happen to make up one of these cutting-edge teams.
For instance, she and her team have always known the immune system was a primary line of defense against infections, viruses, parasites and the like. Their position was to help the immune system recognize cancer in the body where it shouldn’t be, and then mount a response specific to that cancer. So they initiated clinical trials, not only for melanoma, but for other tumor types. It was these other malignancies like lung, breast, and ovarian, that really helped them hone in on directing the immune system to fight cancer.