Open Mics With Doctor Stites 1-25-23

    The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 54 COVID patients today, 69 Monday. Other significant numbers:

  •  23 with the active virus today, 34 Monday
  •  3 in ICU, 6 Monday
  •  3 on a ventilator, 4 Monday


Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Joseph McGuirk, director, hematologic malignancies and cellular therapeutics, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • Myeloma, in contrast to some of the lymphomas, has historically been considered an incurable disease. There are very small percentage of patients who are in remission for very long periods of time, 10-15 years and even beyond that.
  • We need to change that dynamic and we're hopeful that these new immunotherapies are going to be not just a game changer, but a stunning game changer.
  • These treatments are being optimized in our cancer center, and in research and laboratories across our nation.
  • We're in the middle of a revolution, the likes of which we've never seen in cancer therapy and it’s on the shoulders of men and women who've worked in laboratories across the world community.

Dr. Al-Ola Abdallah, multiple myeloma specialist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center

  • One patient’s new treatment (Techlistimab) forces T cells to recognize myeloma cancer cells and attack them. And after multiple other treatments, with this new treatment, the patient’s scan showed a miraculous change after one week.
  • It means going from weekly infusions to infusions every other week for the patient.
  • The new Car T cell therapy is a first generation that has response rates of 97% and complete remissions of 65-80% depending on which study.
  • This is an extraordinary development in cancer therapeutics using the immune system to kill these cancers so highly effectively.
  • The importance of this treatment is not just to fight infection, but also to recognize abnormally behaving cells and attack and destroy them before they become full blown clinical cancer in our patients.


Dr. Dana Hawkinson, director of infection and prevention control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • A month out from the holidays and COVID, flu and RSV numbers are starting to decline, which is a good sign.
  • In the future, there is a possibility of either yearly or twice yearly vaccinations for COVID that will be recommended.
  • There could be some increasing seasonality to it like influenza, RSV and those other respiratory illnesses.
  • COVID is really becoming a disease of the elderly, especially those over 75 but also those with comorbidities like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, etc.

Friday, January 27 is the next live broadcast of the Morning Medical Update.  You’ll meet a breast cancer survivor who’s fighting a new battle. Her cancer is gone but now she’s trying to get her body back, ten years later.

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