December 11, 2019
Podcast: Deepa Sheth, MD
In this episode of “Top Five,” we catch up with Deepa Sheth, MD, Assistant Director of Medical Education at the University of Chicago Medicine. Top Five is a podcast series recorded at RSNA.
Q: Dr. Sheth, thank you for joining us today and participating in this podcast and thank you for being such a proponent and a cheerleader for the WISDOM Study.
A: Thank you for having me.
Q: Tell our audience about the WISDOM Study. Why is it important? Why now?
A: We are currently entering an era of precision medicine where we want to try to determine the right test, for the right patient, at the right time. For many years, screening guidelines have had a lot of confusion for patients and that is because we’ve been debating about data that was acquired 40 years ago and we just keep mulling it over with the numbers. The problem is that we’ve been applying this one-size-fits-all concept to all patients and all screening guidelines, but we know that breast cancer is not one disease and patients are not one type of patient. The WISDOM trial is the first of its kind where we’re trying to determine a more personalized approach to screening guidelines for women.
Q: What are you hoping to learn?
A: A lot of things. We know that all patients are at personal risk for breast cancer. It varies amongst women and with this test we’re trying to determine your risk before you get cancer and preventive oncology. Based on your risk we will stratify you to different screening regiments. If you find out that you’re at ultra low risk for breast cancer, then we may say to you, “You know what, start screening at the age of 50 and maybe every two years.” Perhaps we’ll find out that you’re at ultra high risk for breast cancer and then we’ll say, “You probably need to get a mammogram and an MRI on top of that as supplemental screening.” So, this study really sort of helps answer that question as to what really is the right test for each female, acknowledging that breast cancer is not just one disease
Q: To that point, the WISDOM Study is looking to recruit a lot of women and to have diverse populations. Explain why that’s so critical.
A: Whenever we talk about these sort of clinical trials one of the main problems was that it only focused on one type of patient population and in this era of personalized medicine we know that all women, ethnically diverse women, have different types of risk for breast cancer. At the University of Chicago, we are lucky to be on the south side where we’re surrounded by a large population of minority women, which are mostly underserved. By having it at the University of Chicago we are really hoping to engage our neighborhood, neighboring communities and
really over select for African Americans and Latin X females. The goal is to have their genetic data, their personal risk for breast cancer within this study so that we can be absolutely sure that the data and the results that we get are ethnically universal and ethnically diverse, that they apply to everyone.
Q: This is the holiday season and WISDOM, along with Life Image and local partners, such as the University of Chicago, have launched a campaign for Giving Tuesday. Talk about this gift that women can give their mothers, sisters and grandmothers.
A: This is the gift of knowledge, the gift of health, and the gift of information. By joining the WISDOM Study, and you can join as long as you’re between ages of 40 to 74 and don’t have a history of breast cancer, and you can sort of choose what type of regimen you want. If you find out your personal risks through WISDOM we will assign you a very specific screening guideline. If you find out, like I mentioned earlier, you are low risk we may recommend a certain guideline, or different if you’re high-risk. With this knowledge, we’re not only helping you, but your future generations, potentially, your mother, your sister, your daughters, as to what the right test really is for each female.
Q: And it doesn’t cost you anything?
A: It absolutely does not. It’s as easy as going on to wisdomstudy.org. It’s an online platform and kind of a unique one, sort of approaching this 2020 new technology. You don’t even have to change where you get your mammograms. You don’t have to change the doctor that you normally go to. It’s all through this online platform. All we encourage you to do is go ahead and sign up, answer a few simple questions, and you’re set up within WISDOM.