ARUP (Associated Regional
and University Pathologists),
University of Utah
Wednesday, September 16, 2020,
The ASA Building remains closed.
The disease we know as cancer was named Karkinoma by Hippocrates (460-370 BCE), but the knowledge and development of tools for understanding tumor progression did not come until the 1900s and 2000s. Cancer’s underlying challenge is that it is not one distinct disease. Instead, each cancer is unique and arises from a person’s own cells. These cells constantly evolve and acquire new mutations that are involved in the DNA repair processes, or that control cell proliferation, differentiation or death. This ability grants cancer cells a selective advantage over normal cells.
Denice Smith will explore the ways in which cell/molecular testing contributes to our knowledge of cancer, as well as to diagnosis, tumor progression monitoring, and the choice of an appropriate therapy given the mutations present in a tumor. She will provide examples of specific mutations for which targeted therapies have been developed, highlighting the promising areas of immunotherapy in which the patient’s immune system is able to overcome the ability of the cancer cells to avoid immune detection and destruction. Finally, she will review the federal Cancer Moonshot program which enhances data sharing and speeds up advancements in cancer prevention, detection, and therapy.
Academy Village resident Denice Smith, born and raised in Tucson, earned a BS and MS in Biology at the University of Arizona and a PhD in Cell Biology at Dartmouth College. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Biozentrum in Basel, Switzerland. She taught cell biology and biochemistry at the College of Charleston in South Carolina and Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, and later taught in the cytology program at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is recently retired from ARUP Laboratories, a non-profit research laboratory at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. During her fourteen years at ARUP she developed and validated laboratory tests for various cancer types, including thyroid, lung, bladder, pancreatic and cervical cancer.
Written by: Carol and Donald Gilzinger, Academy Village Volunteers