Welcome Sandra Kanan and Jorge Castillo

Jorge Castillo MD, and Sandra Kanan NPOctober, 2013: Dear Patients, Caregivers, and Friends of the Bing Center for WM: It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you two outstanding individuals who recently joined the Bing Center for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Many of you have had the opportunity to meet Sandra Kanan, NP and Jorge Castillo, MD, during your recent clinic visits, and I wanted to take the opportunity to formally introduce you to these bright, talented, and dedicated practitioners who will soon be leading the Waldenstrom’s clinical effort for our center. Both individuals were recruited to our center, after national searches, in an effort to increase our capacity to care for a rapidly growing patient population. Over 1,000 patients with WM are expected to be seen this year, with representation from all over the globe. The increased visitations have been prompted by the discovery of the mutation in the MYD88 gene in WM which was discovered by the dedicated laboratory researchers of our center and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine last year. The discovery of the MYD88 mutation prompted research efforts that now have unveiled new opportunities for targeted therapy of WM, including the use of ibrutinib, an inhibitor of Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) which is activated by the MYD88 mutation.

A large clinical trial undertaken by the Bing Center with our colleagues at Stanford University and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center showed that ibrutinib was highly active in patients with relapsed or refractory WM. These revelations led to a “breakthough” Fast Track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the approval of ibrutinib in WM, the first time this status had ever been conveyed, thus permitting accelerated approval for this drug for WM. These advances have also led to the identification of new drug targets in the MYD88 pathway, and the development of new agents in collaboration with our colleagues at Harvard Medical School. To help facilitate these efforts, Dr. Steve Treon will be transitioning from the clinic to spearhead new drug development efforts made possible through the generous support of many individuals and the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF). Dr. Castillo and NP Kanan will assume care of patients in our WM clinic starting this December, with Dr. Treon and our clinic staff and clinical trials group in support of their efforts. This will include discussion of all clinic cases for the foreseeable future at our weekly WM rounds. Dr. Castillo will also be developing new clinical trials for WM, and indeed several “Letters of Intent” have recently been submitted by him for the investigation of several new drugs for WM.

Sandra Kanan, NP, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Seattle University and a Master’s of Science degree in Nursing from the Pacific Lutheran University. Prior to joining the Bing Center for WM, Sandra worked for several years as a nurse practitioner at the Arizona Cancer Center inpatient adult hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplant units, and at a community oncology practice in Washington State. She was an oncology and infusion nurse in both the inpatient and outpatient settings at these positions which gave her immense knowledge about the care of patients effected by plasma cell malignancies. In April 2013, NP Kanan was recruited to the Bing Center. She was mentored by Patricia Sheehy-Severns, NP who left the Bing Center after many years of dedicated service to care for her young son. NP Kanan can be reached through the Bing Center main line at 617.632.2681 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr Jorge J. Castillo comes to us from the W. Alpert Medical School of Brown University where he served as a faculty member spending dividing his time between clinical care of lymphoma and leukemia patients, clinical research into lymphomatous diseases, and teaching residents and medical students. He focused his clinical research on identifying risk factors associated with the development of hematological malignancies. His achievements included a series of investigator-initiated prospective clinical trials using non-chemotherapeutic regimens, which prompted multi-institutional studies of rare lymphomas such as plasmablastic lymphoma and HIV-associated T-cell lymphomas. He is a prolific writer, who has authored 60 manuscripts that have been published in highly prestigious medical journals. Dr Castillo can also be contacted through the Bing Center main line at 617.632.2681 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In closing, I would like to thank all our patients, caregivers and friends for your support of the Bing Center for WM. These are exciting times for all of us who have been involved in the care of WM patients and research. The genomic revelations made possible through the whole genome project, and the identification of new targets and drugs that came with these revelations have placed us on a direct path to finding a cure for this disease. Your help and ongoing support will get us there soon. I thank you for being there for us, and for your welcome of our new staff members who will help us in our efforts to triumph over WM. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions and concerns at 617 632 6285, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Patterson
Administrative Director
Bing Center for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia
Dana Farber Cancer Institute