Committed to Excellence in Cancer Research, Education and Patient Care
December 2018
Improving Early Prostate Cancer Detection: Latest Technology Combines Imaging/Biopsy Tools to Improve Accuracy of Diagnosis
Tulane urologist Dr. Spencer Krane says the UroNav fusion biopsy system will aid with both prostate cancer detection and differentiation.
Tulane Health System is improving its ability to detect early prostate cancers with the addition of a new diagnostic technology that combines MRI and traditional biopsies.

The UroNav fusion biopsy system is a software-based technology that allows urologists to fuse MRI and ultrasound images while performing a prostate biopsy if cancer is suspected. Compared to traditional biopsies, UroNav increases the detection accuracy of clinically significant prostate cancers.

This technology allows physicians to better identify lesions that pose cancer heath risks and require aggressive therapy, versus lesions that do not pose similar risks and likely require additional monitoring before treatment is initiated.

“We obviously need to treat aggressive, potentially lethal prostate tumors as quickly and effectively as possible. But we don’t want patients to suffer needless worry and undergo unwarranted medical procedures if their cancer is slow-growing and not life-threatening,” said Dr. Spencer Krane , a urologist at Tulane Health System. “Fortunately, we now have a tool that can aid us with both of those challenges – prostate cancer detection and differentiation.”

Tulane Medical Center is the first hospital in the country to offer UroNav’s updated 3.0 software and tools. The upgrades provide increased speed and efficiency compared to previous releases. As an acclaimed academic medical center with world-renowned prostate cancer expertise, Tulane was chosen as the first site for the new software to help provide feedback that will enhance the rollout and features of this and future UroNav releases.

“This technology opens the door not just for prostate cancer detection, but also for precise treatment of the cancer itself,” Dr. Krane said. “This could help limit some of the risks of prostate cancer therapy, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.”
“We obviously need to treat aggressive, potentially lethal prostate tumors as quickly and effectively as possible. But we don't want patients to suffer needless worry and undergo unwarranted medical procedures if their cancer is
slow-growing and not life-threatening.”
- Spencer Krane, MD
Advanced Cancer Patients Can Live Longer with Palliative Care, Tulane Study Says
A team led by Michael Hoerger, right, an assistant professor of psychology, psychiatry and oncology at Tulane University, sampled more than 2,000 cancer patients about their palliative care experiences. Laura Perry, left, a health psychology PhD student, was on the research team. (Story by Barri Bronston)
Outpatient palliative care can improve survival duration as well as quality of life in advanced cancer patients, according to a Tulane University study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Palliative care focuses on helping patients manage their symptoms and cope with their illness through monthly meetings with a team of physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists and other healthcare professionals with expertise in this area. It helps patients cope with a wide range of issues, including pain, depression, anxiety, loss of appetite and sleep difficulties.

A team of researchers led by Michael Hoerger, PhD, assistant professor of psychology, psychiatry and oncology at Tulane, sampled 2,092 patients with advanced cancers, most commonly lung and gastrointestinal cancers. They used a statistical method called meta-analysis to combine the results of eight randomized clinical trials that examined the impact of outpatient palliative care on patients’ survival and quality of life.

Findings showed that 56 percent of patients who were randomized to receive outpatient palliative care were alive after one year as opposed to 42 percent who received typical care. The numbers translate into palliative care patients living more than four months longer than their counterparts who did not receive palliative care.
“The survival benefit was comparable to what is often observed in the context of a breakthrough drug trial,” Hoerger said.

Laura Perry, a health psychology PhD student and a member of the Tulane research team, said the findings highlight the importance of palliative care and may reassure reluctant patients, caregivers, clinicians and payers that palliative care can reduce the suffering caused by advanced cancer.

“If outpatient palliative care could offer a similar survival benefit at the population level, this would be like adding 250,000 person-years of life annually in North America alone,” Perry said.

The authors suggest that the findings provide a rationale for more high-quality studies of palliative care. The research team included three Tulane public health students — Graceanne Wayser, Gregory Schwing and Dr. Ayako Suzuki.
Serve and Assist:
Student Athletes Raise Funds for Patient Relief
Brook Jenny (facing the net, left) and Olivia Peyton (facing the net, right) defend the net for Dominican at the Pink Volleyball game against Chapelle.
The 2018 volleyball season may have come to an end, but there's still an important and meaningful bit of business on the calendar for student athletes from Mount Carmel Academy, St. Mary’s Dominican, Archbishop Chapelle, Cabrini, St. Scholastica Academy, Archbishop Shaw and Loyola University.

They will present Tulane Cancer Center with a check for $38,505 - cumulative proceeds from each school’s “Pink Games” fundraisers, held throughout the fall. 

Pink Games are a series of benefit volleyball games where athletes and often spectators wear pink to honor women fighting breast cancer as well as those who have lost their battles.  Some schools incorporate ceremonies where the athletes honor family members or friends who have been diagnosed.

Funds are also raised throughout the volleyball season via a large variety of other student-led initiatives, including bake sales, dress-down days, costuming, and more.

"It all adds up to an extremely significant and important gift for our patients," said Prescott Deininger, PhD , Cancer Center director. "The Pink Games partnership with Tulane Cancer Center started in 2013, and since then, funds raised exceed $155,000! We couldn't be prouder of the kids who made this possible."

As in years past, this donation will benefit the Cancer Center's Patient Relief Fund - a resource for providing much-needed financial assistance for those facing a cancer diagnosis as well as financial burdens that could become barriers to their care. The Fund assists with everything from medical bills and prescription co-pays to transportation and lodging for patients who have to travel to New Orleans for their clinic visits and treatments.

David Mocklin, head athletic trainer at Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine as well as Mount Carmel Academy, founded the Pink Games effort. “It is amazing to see the amount of effort and support that these schools put into the Pink Games during the month of October," said Mocklin. "I would like to thank everyone who made a donation towards the Patient Relief Fund. These funds have a direct impact on the people who are in need at the Tulane Cancer Center.”
St. Mary's Dominican High School students and fans donned brightly colored pink attire for the game against Archbishop Chapelle High School to raise funds for patient relief.

Dr. Chancellor Donald, assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Section of Hematology/Medical Oncology, has been named chief medical officer for the Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana (TACL) initiative. TACL is a statewide program that brings together leaders across healthcare, business, government, community, advocacy, philanthropy and other sectors to work toward the common goal of improving cancer outcomes in Louisiana.

Hua Lu, MB, PhD, the Reynolds and Ryan Families Chair of Translational Cancer Research, was recently elected a "2018 Fellow" by The American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Lu was given this lifetime honor, along with 415 other AAAS members, for diverse accomplishments including pioneering research, leadership within his field, teaching and mentoring, fostering collaborations and advancing public understanding of science.
Cooper Benson, MD, assistant professor of urology, was invited to attend Shell Oil's annual employee and contractor health fair, held recently in New Orleans. Dr. Benson distributed handouts on prostate and testicular cancer and answered questions. In addition to chatting with Dr. Benson, booth visitors could also sign up for Shell's Movember initiative, an annual event involving the growing of mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues.
Calendar of Events
Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019
Tulane offers free prostate screenings - a PSA blood test - on the second Tuesday of each month at Tulane Comprehensive Cancer Clinic, 150 S. Liberty St., New Orleans. To make an appointment, call 504-988-6300 or 1-800-588-5800.
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