Lymphoma Program Hosts Oncologists from Brazil for Hematologic Malignancies Update

A group of more than 20 Brazilian oncologists traveled to Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital from South America to attend the 2017 Update in Hematologic Malignancies, a two-day interactive educational symposium organized and presented by members of the Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program’s research and clinical faculty. BrazilianHeme

The meeting, directed by Dr. Sarah Rutherford, featured didactic lectures on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and Richter’s Transformation (RT) by Drs. John Allan and Richard Furman, discussions of controversies and challenging cases in mantle cell, follicular and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (MCL, FL, DLBCL) led by Drs. Rutherford and Peter Martin, a lymphoma-specific hematopathology update from Dr. Amy Chadburn, and a tour of Dr. Leandro Cerchietti’s research laboratory.

Programs like this one foster partnerships that can propel us toward our goal of improving health outcomes for the nearly 100,000 people around the world who are affected by lymphoma. Our team is able to establish collaborative international relationships to teach and learn from medical practitioners of a diverse background, all while solidifying our role as a trusted, global authority on lymphoma research and care.

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Dr. Sarah Rutherford

“The relationship we have established with the Brazilian oncologists is fulfilling for all of us,” says Dr. Rutherford. “We enjoy teaching them and helping to manage complex cases that they face in Brazil. We also remain in touch with them after the conference – providing guidance on patients and even traveling to Brazil to participate in meetings. We look forward to continuing this collaboration given our shared mission of providing the best possible care for patients with lymphoma.”

Lymphoma Program Patient Celebrates 100th Birthday

Silvia Brodsky is a self-proclaimed feisty woman from New York City whose hobbies include reading, listening to classical music, cooking and baking (She swears her dishes never taste the same twice!), and staying in touch with her four sons in Kentucky, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The not-so-typical? Silvia just turned 100 years old – and lives independently in Brooklyn with her 88-year-old sister.

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Silvia Brodsky (Center) celebrated her 100th birthday with Melanie Bernstein, PA, (Left) and Sarah Rutherford, MD, (Right).

In the fall of 2017, a biopsy of a swollen mass in Silvia’s neck led to a diagnosis of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), a fast-growing cancer of abnormal B-cells. After feeling passed around by other institutions, Silvia and her family were thoroughly impressed by the efficiency and compassion of the Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital staff – particularly that of her physician, the Lymphoma Program’s Dr. Sarah Rutherford.

“Dr. Rutherford is an angel with hidden wings,” says Silvia. “All she has to do is walk in and smile, and I feel better.”

That’s high praise coming from Silvia, who places ultimate value on helping others. She considers herself lucky to have known her grandmother and great grandmother, her lifelong inspirations, whom she credits with teaching her how to take care of people by listening and giving advice. She heeds her great grandmother’s words daily: “If you haven’t helped anyone today, you’ve wasted your day.”

Dr. Rutherford is particularly close with her own grandmother, who turned 96 last year.

“I always have my grandmother in mind when taking care of older patients,” she says. “One of my primary goals is to improve the experiences and outcomes in older patients with lymphoma.”

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Dr. Rutherford with her grandmother

The Lymphoma Program is proud to be entrusted with the care of patients of all ages and committed to enabling more people like Silvia lead long lives of spreading love and care to others.

Dr. Sarah Rutherford Examines Necessity of Bone Marrow Biopsy in Follicular Lymphoma Clinical Trials

This is an excerpt of a recent Medscape article in which Dr. Sarah Rutherford comments on her research published in the British Journal of Haematology. Read the full story here.

Clinical trials in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) mandate that patients undergo bone marrow biopsies (BMBs) at baseline and at subsequent points following treatment in order to monitor response. But how necessary are they?

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Dr. Sarah Rutherford

The biopsies are unnecessary in most patients, argue researchers reporting results from a  retrospective analysis of 99 patients with FL enrolled across 32 clinical trials at Weill Cornell Medical College. The study found that the mandatory BMBs resulted in response assessment change in at most 1% of patients and so concluded that they were not needed.

“In our patient-centered approach to care, we find that these biopsies are painful and anxiety-provoking. The procedures take time, add to healthcare costs, and are a hindrance for patients to participate in clinical trials,” corresponding author, Sarah Rutherford, MD, medical oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, New York City, told Medscape Medical News.

“In routine clinical practice, we do not often do bone marrow biopsies in follicular lymphoma patients. Removal of this barrier can contribute significantly to increasing patient interest in clinical trials, which can provide them access to novel and promising therapies,” she added.