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Meet the women at the forefront of Merck’s lung cancer program

Dr. Vicki Goodman and Dr. Cathy Pietanza are passionate about shaping the future of patient care in lung cancer

August 10, 2021

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Each day, our dedicated team of physician scientists and researchers are working to accelerate progress for people with lung cancer. Two of our leaders sat down to share their thoughts on how lung cancer research has changed over the past decade, the impact of these changes on patient care and the work there is still left to do.

Meet the women at the forefront of Merck’s lung cancer research program

Both Dr. Vicki Goodman and Dr. Cathy Pietanza have family connections to cancer. Dr. Goodman was inspired to become an oncologist after a close family member was diagnosed with cancer. An industry veteran of 15 years, Dr. Goodman is continually determined to bring new advances to patients and now oversees the company’s late-stage oncology program, which spans a variety of cancer types and treatment settings.

Dr. Pietanza was also motivated to care for patients with cancer after her father and other family members received their own diagnoses. Intrigued by the science and biology of the disease, she became a thoracic oncologist and an avid researcher. Today, she is part of the team driving our robust clinical research program in lung cancer.

Over the past decade, how has the approach to lung cancer changed?

Cathy and Vicki video

Do you believe researchers are asking and answering different questions today?

Vicki video

What recent changes in the field of lung cancer are making an impact for patients?

“We’ve seen the discovery and approval of new agents, as well as increased screening and prevention come into play. The decline in mortality from lung cancer has been tremendous over the past several years. But there’s definitely more work that needs to be done.”

  • Dr. Pietanza

“The recent focus on screening and prevention is really an important one because the best way to decrease mortality from lung cancer is for people not to develop lung cancer in the first place. We’re also seeing some changes in care for patients who are diagnosed on the earlier side – different modalities are being used to take care of these patients, which I think will also lead to long-term benefit.”

  • Dr. Goodman

What inspires you to continue pursuing new advances for patients with lung cancer?

cathy video

As long as there are people impacted by lung cancer, our determined team across Merck Research Laboratories will continue working to deliver more, sooner.

With patients at the forefront of our work, we will leave no stone unturned and continue pushing the boundaries of science with our greatest asset – our curious, innovative and passionate team of researchers.