Director, VCU Massey Cancer Center; Senior associate dean of cancer innovation, VCU School of Medicine; Lipman Endowed Chair; Professor, Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University
Being Black and running an NCI-designated cancer center at a time of a worldwide pandemic, an ugly election, and a racial reckoning in a Southern town puts you in a position to make profound observations.
On a chaotic COVID weekend two months ago, a friend’s child (a young, talented black and Latino student athlete) came home from college not feeling well. The young man’s mother, an executive administrative assistant, called off work to stay home with him because of his, as she described, “full-blown flu-like symptoms.”
As the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, the two separate, unequal societies that make up the United States of America are equally frightened, bewildered, and unsure of what comes next.
Advances in the field of tumor immunotherapy have given great hope for those treating cancer. We are in an era of unprecedented achievements, as evidenced by impressive clinical responses in patients treated with adoptive cell therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors.