Women in Oncology : Episode 1

Women in Oncology: How Leukemia Treatment has Changed and Stayed Stagnant Over the Years

Judith Karp, MD; Azra Raza, MD; and Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, highlight the decades-long evolution of the leukemia field and express challenges such as defining the causes of leukemia and developing therapies to treat the disease and mitigate adverse effects like bone pain.

Catherine E. Lai, MD, MPH, an associate professor and physician leader of the Leukemia Clinical Research Unit at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, moderates a discussion with Judith Karp, MD; Azra Raza, MD; and Michelle M. Le Beau, PhD, on what the field of leukemia treatment looked like when they began their careers.

Karp is Professor Emerita of Oncology and Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she was a professor of oncology and the director of the Adult Leukemia Program in the Division of Hematologic Malignancies at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, until her retirement in 2013. Raza is a professor of medicine and the director of the MDS Center at Columbia University. Le Beau is the Arthur and Marian Edelstein Professor of Medicine and the director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center.

In this episode, Karp, Raza, and LeBeau highlight the decades-long evolution of the leukemia field and express challenges such as defining the causes of leukemia and developing therapies to treat the disease and mitigate adverse effects like bone pain. They also discuss how the limitations of resources such as technology, effective treatments, and supportive care for patients affected their work and continue to do so.

Additionally, the 3 experts explain the importance of having female mentors in a male-dominated field, the excitement they felt when novel therapies emerged, and how many past issues, such as a lack of new treatments, are still relevant today. In looking to the past, they elaborate on the foundations for their subsequent career successes, many of which were directly related to overcoming the challenges they faced early in the leukemia treatment landscape.

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