University of Kentucky Cancer Screening Helps Prevent Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer pic
Lung Cancer
Image: ukhealthcare.uky.edu

A pharmaceutical sciences PhD student at the University of Kentucky (UK), Sherif El-Refai is a translational researcher focused on immuno-oncology in lung cancer at the university’s Markey Cancer Center. To compliment his oncology pharmaceutical practice, Sherif El-Refai conducts research on lung cancer treatment, prevention, and diagnosis.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Every year, it kills more people than colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer combined. The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking. For those who smoke regularly, lung cancer screening is recommended to detect the cancer early and to reduce the risk of lung cancer death.

UK’s lung cancer screening program was designed for persons at risk of developing lung cancer. These include seniors older than 55, people who smoke or have recently quit smoking, and people who have been smoking a pack or more fa day or over 30 years. The screening uses a computed tomography scan to reveal suspicious cancerous spots in the lungs. Patients diagnosed with the cancer are referred to the university’s Markey Cancer Center, where a multidisciplinary team of medical care givers will commence treatment.

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University of Kentucky Hosted 2015 RC-SIRM Symposium and Workshop

An accomplished pharmacist, Sherif El-Refai is now engaged in a PhD program in pharmaceutical sciences, with a focus on clinical and experimental therapeutics, at the University of Kentucky (UK). Sherif El-Refai also conducts research on lung cancer and works as an oncology pharmacist at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

UK Markey recently announced that the UK Resource Center for Stable Isotope-Resolved Metabolomics (RC-SIRM) hosted the 2015 RC-SIRM Symposium and Workshop at the Bio Pharmacy Complex on the UK campus. At the 12-day interactive workshop, participants explored how to apply SIRM, which facilitates functional examination of gene dysregulation in lung cancer, as well as “bench to bedside” translational investigations and biochemistry studies in the life sciences.

The workshop was preceded by a one-day symposium featuring presentations by experts in the field of SIRM. According to the Resource Center for SIRM, a facility funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers utilize stable isotope labeling to study metabolic alterations and improve the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions, including cancer, cardiac disorders, and brain conditions. The keynote speaker was Chi Van Dang, MD, PhD, from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, whose presentation was followed by lectures by other experts from around the world.

About the University of Kentucky’s Black Lab and Its Publications

A PhD student at the University of Kentucky, Sherif El-Refai focuses on pharmaceutical science, specifically as it relates to oncology. Sherif El-Refai also participates in university’s Black Lab.

Propelling cancer research, the Black Lab consists of students studying gene expression and how to manipulate it so individuals receiving therapies have a higher potential of successfully combating the disease. The team has access to patient tumor samples, cancer cell lines, and bioinformatic data to develop wet-lab experiments.

Since its inception, the Black Lab has produced in excess of 15 publications on topics ranging from the deregulation of DUSP activity in EGFR-mutant lung cancer cell lines to gene expression signatures on cancer drug discovery. The works appear in such periodicals a Future Oncology, the European Pharmaceutical Review, and Clinical Medicine Reviews in Oncology.

More recently, the lab shared corporate communication strategies for teaching non-science communication skills to pharmaceutical sciences PhD students in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.

Strategic Plan to Direct University of Kentucky HealthCare until 2020

After earning a doctor of pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and working as a pharmacist, Sherif El-Refai decided to return to school to pursue a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky. Sherif El-Refai also secured a role as an oncology pharmacist at the UK Markey Cancer Center.

In June 2015, UK issued a press release to announce that the UK HealthCare Committee of the school’s board of trustees received a strategic plan outlining the future of UK HealthCare through 2020. The plan was developed to build upon UK HealthCare’s previous 10 years of success, which includes a 95 percent increase in full-time employees since 2004 and the inclusion of an additional 120 licensed beds in 2014. By authorizing the new strategic plan, the UK HealthCare Committee has encouraged stakeholders to commit to collaborative models, the patient experience, and service line integration.

The plan calls for the creation of a cultural change program and service line growth at a number of facilities, such as the Markey Cancer Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. According to the press release, service line growth will involve investment in operational efficiency, the continued treatment of the most complex cases, a redesigned transfer management program, and expanded partnerships with community physicians.