Cutting-edge treatments for rare cancers

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Charles Staley, MD:
Exploring new treatments for rare cancers
November 13, 2008

Charles Staley, MD, chief of surgical oncology at Emory University School of Medicine and the Winship Cancer Institute, is exploring ways to use nanotechnology to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer.

"Pancreatic tumors are difficult to image because they don't show up very well on CT scans and MRI. If you can get nanoparticles to be taken up by the tumor and then put something on the nanoparticles so you can image them, something a scan can pick up, then you can image the tumor better. Once we're able to do that, perhaps we can put either radiation or chemotherapy into these particles to deliver them to the tumor," says Staley.

Staley specializes in rare cancers, especially those of the esophagus, pancreas, stomach, liver, small bowl, and rectum.

"There may be only 600 cases of pancreatic cancer in the whole state of Georgia, but we probably see half of them. If a new medical resident were to go through our clinics for a couple of weeks, he would think that pancreatic cancer is one of the most common cancers around, but it's just that we get a lot of referrals," says Staley.

To listen to Staley's own words about his research and how he treats patients with rare cancers, use the player at the top of this page or subscribe to the podcast.