Melissa Wilson, PA-C, MPAS from UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and Vernon Sondak, MD, Chair, Department of Cutaneous Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, join host Raymond Liu, MD, for a discussion about the future of melanoma in 2023 and beyond.
Treatments combining immunotherapies with targeted therapies, which disable the carcinogenic products of mutated cancer cells, have further increased treatment efficacy and durability. Toxicity and resistance, however, remain critical challenges to the field. During this podcast, our guests review past treatments and novel therapeutic interventions and discuss the term “de-escalation of care,” future directions, and how to communicate with your healthcare team.
About Our Guests
Dr. Sondak is Chair of the Department of Cutaneous Oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida. He holds the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Distinguished Endowed Chair in Cutaneous Oncology, and is also a Professor in the Departments of Oncologic Sciences and Surgery at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. Since 2004, when he came to Tampa, the Cutaneous Oncology Clinic at Moffitt has grown into one of the largest multidisciplinary treatment centers for pediatric melanoma and related conditions in the world. Dr. Sondak has been a leader in studies of surgical treatment of melanoma and other cutaneous malignancies, particularly in the application of sentinel lymph node biopsy and lymph node dissection to the staging and treatment of melanoma, and has been instrumental in training many surgical oncologists in these techniques over the years. Dr. Sondak also has a strong research background: he served as Principal Investigator of the Moffitt Skin SPORE, a major NCI-funded “team science” grant conducting translational research in melanoma and other cutaneous malignancies. His research interests include surgical treatment of melanoma in adults and children; adjuvant (postoperative) and neoadjuvant (preoperative) therapy of melanoma; and evaluation of new therapies for patients with localized or disseminated melanoma.
Melissa Wilson, PA-C, MPAS, has a wealth of knowledge and experience helping melanoma patients and their families. Melissa is up-to-date about the latest melanoma treatments and research.
A natural trailblazer, Melissa is proud of her collaborative work as an NCCPA-certified physician assistant senior since 2005 with the distinguished melanoma specialist Dr. John Kirkwood at the University of Pittsburgh in the Cancer Institute Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine. Their treatment and research initiatives were so successful that they have been used as a template for other cancer programs throughout the country. Wilson works as a lead physician assistant for the Melanoma Program at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
A natural teacher, Melissa has also worked with a multidisciplinary team on patient education and collaboration. She holds appointments at Chatham University Clinical Preceptor, where she is adjunct faculty and is a cancer care module lecturer on melanoma since 2013.