Three New Faculty Members Join Sylvester’s Sarcoma Oncology Team
Physician-researchers will collaborate to develop the highest level of care and research for patients.
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s sarcoma oncology program continues to attract many top physician-researchers in the field, including three of its newest hires: Crystal Seldon Taswell, M.D., radiation oncology; Julie Grossman, M.D., surgical oncology; and Steve Bialick, D.O., medical oncology. Their depth of knowledge and commitment to excellence brings new hope to sarcoma patients.
Sarcomas — cancers of the bones and soft tissues — are extremely rare. They make up only 1% of all adult cancers, and Sylvester sees approximately 10% of these cases. As one of the largest sarcoma oncology programs in the nation, its specialists are able to provide cutting-edge approaches to preventing, diagnosing and treating sarcoma.
“Specialized sarcoma care is very important with such a rare cancer,” said Dr. Grossman, assistant professor of surgery. “The large volume of sarcoma patients we see at Sylvester, combined with the expertise of our physicians, allows us to deliver the best possible outcomes.”
The three new physicians share a passion for treating sarcoma in a collaborative environment. All the sarcoma specialists meet several times a week to discuss their cases, to determine trial eligibility and develop the best treatment regimens. This team approach provides an extra layer of care for patients.
“Sarcomas can be complex to treat,” said Dr. Seldon Taswell, assistant professor in radiation oncology. “Our patients find comfort in knowing that experts in radiation, medical and surgical oncology are collaborating on their cases to create an individualized, multidisciplinary approach in order to provide the highest level of care.”
The sarcoma team is also involved in international organizations for sarcoma-specific research. This allows team members to connect with other specialized physicians, medical professionals and scientists from around the world to share their knowledge, experiences and research for the advancement of sarcoma treatments.
“By participating in these organizations, our Sylvester sarcoma community has an opportunity to network with the cancer family at large and bring back the most recent developments in sarcoma care to our patients,” said Dr. Bialick, an attending physician specializing in sarcoma and gastrointestinal medical oncology.
Innovative Clinical Trials and Therapies
As South Florida’s only NCI-designated cancer center, Sylvester offers access to the most advanced clinical trials and innovative therapies. The newest members of the sarcoma team have been working on novel approaches that will soon become available to Sylvester patients.
Dr. Seldon Taswell has done extensive research on different radiation modalities to find better ways to deliver radiation, to reduce side effects and help improve patient outcomes in definitive and recurring settings for musculoskeletal tumors. She is finalizing a prospective protocol examining the LEAD technique in soft tissue sarcoma of the extremities, titled “High-dose lattice radiation therapy following neoadjuvant chemotherapy for extremity sarcomas.” She has also done research on gender and racial disparities.
One of the few sarcoma surgeons in the country, Dr. Grossman has been focusing her research interests on understanding the role of the tumor immune microenvironment in soft tissue sarcoma and subtypes of liposarcoma, and how to utilize new diagnostics and therapeutics that will ultimately improve patient survival. She is planning to start clinical trials based on her research in the near future.
Dr. Bialick, a sarcoma and gastrointestinal medical oncologist, has been studying the importance of mutational analysis in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors and the significance of precision medicine in cancer, particularly in sarcomas. He recently presented “KIT Resistance Mutations Identified by Circulating Tumor DNA and Treatment Outcomes in Advanced Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor” at the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society.
“As our sarcoma patient base continues to grow, we have the potential to make great changes with a rare cancer,” said Dr. Bialick. “Our patients should feel confident that they are in the best possible place for cancer care.”