We Can See Tumor Heterogeneity. Now What? We Ask Cathy Smith, UCSF

Cathy Smith, MD, Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology at UCSF

Bio and Contact Info


00:00 FLT3 - The bad actor

07:15 Cancer lazy

10:53 The single cell lens

14:99 Treatment implications

19:25 Hard questions

24:32 We knew about heterogeneity. We couldn’t see it!

Cathy Smith counts herself among the Gleevec Generation after the landmark targeted cancer therapy. She’s an optimist who believes in the possibilities of precision medicine.

“We are outsmarting cancer,” she says.

Cathy is an Assistant Professor of Hematology/Oncology at UCSF where she is also an MD treating patients. Her area of expertise is in acute myeloid leukemia or AML. She joins us today to discuss a recent group paper and collaboration using new technology to track and monitor cancer evolution at the single cell level.

“It’s not that we didn’t know that this heterogeneity was under the surface, it’s just been hard to get at before we had this technology.” She is talking about single cell technology made by Mission Bio, a company based in South San Francisco.

As she looks forward to creating a first ever clinical trial using single cell data, Cathy says there are very hard questions to answer. It’s not totally clear what treatment decisions should be made when answer A comes back vs answer B. Still, she is optimistic that she and her colleagues will begin to find more answers for their patients.

“You don’t go into oncology if you’re a pessimist. You have to have hope that you’re going to get ahead of it. And the first step is to know what is going on."