Owensboro Health Teams up with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center's Research and Affiliate Networks

Dr. Alan Mullins

Dr. Alan Mullins

In the past two years, Owensboro Health has teamed up with the UK Markey Cancer Center in two areas, becoming part of the Research and Affiliate Networks at that center.

“We are hitching our wagons, so to speak, with somebody that is really on the forefront,” said Dr. Mullins, who is Owensboro Health’s liaison to the Markey Cancer Center.

Dr. Mullins said one of the biggest benefits of this affiliation is access to the Molecular Tumor Board at Markey. That partnership is making a difference in lung cancer care now, but has even bigger possibilities in the years and decades to come.

“There are major breakthroughs coming from improved understanding of cancer, details of the cancer cells. Mysteries are being unlocked that are going to yield results,” Dr. Mullins said. “We’re making treatment more specialized, more tailored to the specifics of the tumor.” That starts with advanced scientific understanding of how cancers work.

Markey Cancer Center buildingWith understanding comes the ability to use “precision medicine,” including cancer-treating drugs that exploit weaknesses found by genetic analysis of the tumor.

Markey Cancer Center Network logo“This next-generation sequencing has two values: One, it tells you what will work. Also just as valuable, it tells you what won’t work. This will eventually yield useful information about treatment results,” Dr. Mullins said. “The individual patient is going to get a biopsy, a super- detailed genetic analysis of tumor cells, and then a treatment plan just as unique will be implemented for the patient.”

That accumulation of knowledge is one of the keys to progress, “In 2028, I think it will be a very different world than where we are now,” Dr. Mullins said. “It’s how we’re going to make progress. It’s essential if we’re going to improve over time, rather than just remain stagnant and keep doing the same thing over and over again.”

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