Dr. Bernard Fox
Expert in immunotherapy for cancer, Bernard Fox, Ph.D., of the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Cancer Institute, is the Chief of the Molecular and Tumor Immunology Laboratory and MORE THAN PINK!
The main goals within Dr. Fox’s laboratory are:
1. To develop and test new strategies that turn on and boost the immune system so that it can fight difficult to treat cancers.
2. To translate promising new therapies to patients.
3. To study the immune system of patients to determine if the treatment that they received has turned on the immune system.
“I have been interested in cancer research – specifically using the immune system to fight cancer since the 1980s,” Dr. Fox said. “While I have had many friends who had received treatment for breast cancer, it was two things that really triggered the focus on breast cancer:
1. When I first came to Oregon, Dr. Walter Urba was preparing to initiate a clinical trial for patients with advanced breast cancer. 36 patients enrolled on that study and one had a complete response. Following vaccination, 4-5% of the immune cells in [the patient’s] blood could recognize breast cancer.
2. The patients I met who went on that trial.”
Dr. Fox’s personal connection to breast cancer has also influenced his work around the disease.
“I have a family member who lives on the east coast and is currently battling breast cancer. I also have had a number of friends who succumbed to breast cancer,” Dr. Fox said. “It has helped me understand the immediacy of the need for better treatments.”
Dr. Fox encourages patients to take advantage of clinical trials. He says human cancers are extremely complex and there are many factors that determine if a treatment can be successful.
“The information from clinical trials is critical to the discovery of new treatments, provides insights and understanding of how the patients are responding to the treatment, and how we are changing the immune system to make it able to recognize and attack cancer,” Dr. Fox confirmed.
This work is incredible and Dr. Fox acknowledges the entire team that is part of any progress in cancer research.
“Collaboration is critical to combating cancer,” Dr. Fox said. “The complexities of the disease require a broad interdisciplinary team to gain insight into the nuances of cancer and identify the means to defeat it.”
Research is a mutli-step process and one of those steps is working closely with other researchers, radiologists, pathologists, surgeons and immunologists to evaluate if the experimental treatment is having the desired effect.
It is imperative that we continue to fund ground-breaking research, like Dr. Fox’s so we can one day live in a world where breast cancer does not exist.
Thank you Dr. Fox for helping us get closer to finding the cures one step at a time!