Conquering Cancer: Wilmot Takes Part in ASCO Meeting

May. 24, 2022
Geriatric Oncology Specialist is Rewarded for Shared Decision-Making Research

Kah Poh (Melissa) Loh, MBBCh, M.S., who specializes in treating older adults at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, was awarded a competitive Conquer Cancer Foundation-Walther Cancer Foundation Career Development grant.

Head shot of Melissa Loh, MD
Melissa Loh, MBBch

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s leading professional organization for cancer specialists, announced the award in advance of its annual meeting, June 3 to 7. Several Wilmot faculty members and trainees will participate in ASCO.

Loh receives $200,000 to support a pilot randomized clinical trial evaluating communication and shared decision-making between doctors and older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected as a recipient of this award, and I’m happy that ASCO reviewers saw the value of this research topic,” Loh said. “Older adults with AML and their caregivers experience high stress levels at diagnosis and many of them do not feel informed about their cancer. Our prior work shows that patients’ health status, as well as treatment preferences and goals — things that are important for shared decision-making — are not always being sufficiently discussed for many reasons, such as time and emotions. We’ve developed a new communication tool called UR-GOAL to meet these needs, and the award will allow us to test whether it improves shared decision-making between older adults with AML, their caregivers, and oncologists.”

One of Loh’s mentees, Marissa LoCastro, a third-year UR School of Medicine and Dentistry student, also received the ASCO Annual Meeting Research Award in recognition of her abstract on advanced care planning for older adults with blood cancer. The award supports trainees from underrepresented backgrounds, such as LoCastro, to attend the event.

Other Wilmot and University of Rochester Medical Center physicians participating in the ASCO 2022 annual meeting:

  • Darren Carpizo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Surgery who specializes in liver, pancreatic, and gastrointestinal cancers, was invited as a panelist/speaker for an education session on targeted and immunotherapy approaches for those diseases.
  • Carla Casulo, M.D., associate professor of Medicine who specializes in treating various type of lymphoma, was involved in a clinical trial consortium evaluating therapy for follicular lymphoma that progresses within 24 months of diagnosis.
  • Nikesha Gilmore, Ph.D., assistant professor of Surgery who focuses on symptom management for cancer patients, was invited as a panelist/speaker for an education session on social justice and equity. Her session will address biomarkers and health equity for older adults with cancer.
  • Sindhuja Kadambi, M.D., M.S., senior instructor in Hematology/Oncology who specializes in treating older adults with cancer, was invited as a panelist/speaker for an education session on the use of geriatric assessment tools and improvements in technology for that population.
  • Mostafa Mohamed, MBBch., a postdoctoral fellow in Wilmot’s geriatric oncology research group, is presenting a study on polypharmacy, which is the concurrent use of several medications, its prevalence and how it impacts cancer treatment. The study was recently published in The Oncologist and led by Erika Ramsdale, M.D.