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Siteman Cancer Center is an international leader in moving laboratory and preclinical research into clinical practice with new methods and interventions to better diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.
At Siteman, more than 450 Washington University physicians and scientists treat 70,000 people each year, including 12,000 newly diagnosed patients, making the cancer center one of the largest in the U.S. These faculty members receive $175 million annually for basic and clinical oncology research grants.
Siteman also has one of the largest clinical research programs in the U.S., offering 600 therapeutic clinical trials each year, and enrolling nearly one-quarter of newly diagnosed patients in therapeutic trials. Trials that are underway include chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T cell) therapies for solid tumors, as well as hematological malignancies.
Siteman is a leading center for innovative leukemia research, with a bench-to-bedside approach that has the potential to improve survival and reduce treatment-related side effects. The National Cancer Institute has awarded Siteman leukemia researchers their third Program Project Grant (PPG), the latest totaling $14.3 million, and an $11.5 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant.
Washington University doctors and researchers at Siteman were involved in clinical trials that led to the Food & Drug Administration approval of a CAR-T cell therapy for adults with certain types of large B-cell lymphoma. Siteman and its partner pediatric oncology program, Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, were among the first centers to offer CAR-T cell therapy as a new standard of care, the latter for the treatment of patients up to age 25 with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). At Siteman, researchers also are working to develop other immunotherapies that attack cancer, including CAR-T cell therapy for multiple myeloma.
A second, $10.4 million SPORE grant at Siteman is funding the development of new approaches to detect and treat pancreatic cancers.
As a leader in sequencing the genomes of cancer patients and their tumor cells, Siteman scientists have a unique perspective on the genetic alterations that drive the development of cancer. Siteman researchers and clinicians also are engaged in studies to determine what drugs will work best for patients based on the genetic signatures of their tumors, including breast, lung, endometrial and other forms of the disease.
Public health researchers at Siteman have determined that about half of all cancer cases could be avoided through a healthy lifestyle. Habits such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco help to prevent many forms of the disease. Siteman’s prevention experts are leading researchers who conduct studies to understand the most effective methods for preventing cancer and educating the public about cancer prevention.
Engineers in optical imaging are developing goggles that use near-infrared light to assist surgeons in visualizing tumors. The investigational technology relies on a biomarker that binds to cancer cells, causing the tumor to “light up” and become visible to surgeons wearing the goggles.
Timothy Eberlein, MD, has served as Siteman’s director since 1998. In 2017, Christina Longnecker, JD, MBA, BSN, RN, joined Siteman’s leadership team as vice president of oncology services, and Nick Fisher, MBA, joined as executive director of research and business administration. They and the rest of the Siteman team are committed to providing the best cancer care to patients today and conducting groundbreaking research to improve cancer care for patients tomorrow.