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Talking to Your Oncologist about Cancer Immunotherapy

When do most patients first learn about immunotherapy? How long can you start after your initial course of treatment? How does it feel to take part in a clinical trials? How do you anticipate and manage side effects? 

In this webinar designed for patients and caregivers, Ariella Chivil, a patient advocate, and Alexander M. Lesokhin, M.D., her oncologist, discuss the nuances of communicating and informing both doctor and patient while on immunotherapy. They share their experiences with immunotherapy and answer viewer questions.

Ariella ChivilAriella Chivil was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2010, just before her junior year of college. After completing 14 different treatment protocols, each with its own set of side effects and complications, Ariella and her doctors decided to try something new: a clinical trial of the immunotherapy nivolumab (Opdivo®). Her first scans after beginning the trial showed a marked reduction in her tumors. In May 2016, nivolumab received FDA approval for the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma. Today, Ariella is off treatment and enjoying living and working in New York City.

Alexander LesokhinAlexander M. Lesokhin, M.D., is a hematologic oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who specializes in treating people with blood cancers such as lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Specifically, he’s focused on developing innovative ways to use the immune system to treat cancer and help these patients. To this end, he’s currently leading two phase I clinical trials that are evaluating different immunotherapies in patients with advanced blood cancer, and is also a co-investigator in two other immunotherapy clinical trials. In addition to his clinical immunotherapy expertise, Lesokhin’s laboratory research aims to characterize a subset of immune cells called myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and how they influence the development of adaptive immune responses against tumors.

The "Cancer Immunotherapy and You" webinar series is produced by the Cancer Research Institute and is made possible with generous support from Bristol-Myers Squibb, with additional support from Regeneron, Sanofi Genzyme, and Adaptimmune.

Browse our Cancer Immunotherapy and You Webinar Series playlist on YouTube or visit the Webinars page on our website to see other webinars in this series.

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*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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