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Small Goals, Big Victories

A Conquer Cancer researcher improves care for patients with lung cancer


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While working toward the goal of conquering cancer, patients often celebrate smaller victories. These wins can range from spending a holiday weekend with family to taking a vacation without restrictions.

Jyoti Malhotra, MD, MPH, is a 2015 Young Investigator Award (YIA) recipient helping patients with lung cancer mark these milestones throughout treatment.

Jyoti Malhotra, MD, MPH

Jyoti Malhotra, MD, MPH

“For patients, achieving smaller goals can be significant and fulfilling,” said Dr. Malhotra, whose research focuses on early-phase drug development.

When patients run out of standard treatment options after trying multiple kinds of therapy, Dr. Malhotra encourages them to enroll in clinical trials that test newly developed drugs. These trials—often a last line of hope for patients—tend to be donor-funded.

“The Young Investigator Award provided support for my research in lung cancer…Having research support enabled me to focus on clinical investigation,” explained Dr. Malhotra, who used the data collected for future larger research projects.

Recently, Dr. Malhotra and her team found that immunotherapy in tandem with chemotherapy and radiation is a safe, tolerable, and viable combination for improving outcomes in patients with certain lung cancers. Targeted therapy, which acts on specific DNA changes in a patient’s lung tumor, is also proving effective. For a subgroup of patients, this means returning to a near-normal quality of life.

Improved patient outcomes mean more milestones reached or returning to hobbies once enjoyed.

Gifts from Conquer Cancer donors fund the researchers who lead these trials that make these patient achievements possible.

“Patients often thank me,” reflected Dr. Malhotra. “Every time this happens, I tell [them] these
advances have really been made possible due to the efforts of all the researchers and patients who participated in these studies over the past 2 decades.” 

© 2020. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.


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