Dr. Charles Perkins
Who or what inspired you to go into medicine?
I was inspired by my grandfather, who died of leukemia during my graduate school Ph.D. training. Interestingly, I was researching new treatment approaches to different types of leukemia at the time in the laboratory. Seeing him go through his disease course solidified my dedication to not only understand the mechanisms of cancer from an intellectual standpoint but to actually be involved with the actual administration of cancer care directly to patients.
Explain how you use DNA to maximize the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
DNA, or genetics in general, play an increasingly important role in treating cancer patients individually based on their specific genetic background as opposed to lumping all patients in the same category for therapy. We are discovering that there are many genetic subtypes of specific cancers, which may respond to different or targeted regimens. This will allow us to get away from general cancer therapies, which are associated with a higher risk of toxicity, to targeting the cancer specifically based on its genetic profile. This should result in better response rates at the same time as decreasing the often significant side effects of treatment.
You recently joined The Cancer Center team, what are you most excited about as you begin a new chapter in Gainesville?
There are many things I am looking forward to in joining the North Florida Radiation Oncology cancer team. Specifically, the exciting new technology at the cancer center, such as the CyberKnife, will be interesting to utilize. I also look forward to working with my new partners, who are an amazing, talented, cohesive team. But most importantly, I look forward to meeting with the patients from Gainesville and helping them through their journey through their cancer therapy. Oh, and being a Bulldog from the University of Georgia, I can’t wait until the next game against the University of Florida, on November 1st!
“If I weren’t a doctor, I’d be…”
A veterinarian, as astronaut/rock star/international spy is probably not going to happen at this point.