During the one year fellowship, Dr. Zhang attended both the adult neuro-oncology clinics at DFCI , as well as the pediatric neuro-oncology clinics at DFCI and Boston Children’s Hospital under the supervision of Drs. Mark Kieran and Susan Chi, to learn both the latest approaches to treating neuro-oncology patients, as well as learning how to conduct clinical trials. In addition, she attended the weekly Brain Tumor Board and neuro-oncology lectures. She also rotated through allied specialties including radiation oncology and neuropathology.
A major goal of her visit was to learn how to conduct clinical trials in neuro-oncology as there are relatively few trials currently in China. She completed Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training for human subject protection in clinical research and met regularly with the research manager, clinical research coordinators and regulatory specialists in the Center For Neuro-oncology at DFCI. Over the course of the year she became familiar with the procedures involved with conducting clinical trials, as well as the laws, regulations and policies of clinical trials and protection of human subjects. She also helped in the development of a DFCI sponsored multicenter investigator initiated trial of the VEGFR/FGFR inhibitor nintedanib.
Dr. Zhang also conducted a clinical study during her time at DFCI evaluating the efficacy of pemetrexed in recurrent primary CNS lymphoma. This retrospective study of 18 primary CNS lymphoma patients (PCNSL) and 12 secondary CNS lymphoma (SCNSL) patients showed that the treatment was well-tolerated. The overall response rate for PCNSL was 64.7 %, all of whom achieved a complete response (CR) with a median progression-free survival (PFS) was 5.8 months. For SCNSL patients the response rate 58.3 % and the median PFS was 2.5 months. This study suggests that pemetrexed may have a role in recurrent PCNSL patients. This study was published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology in 2013.(1)
Currently, Dr. Zhang Lin is working as neuro-oncologist at Sanbo Brain Hospital in Beijing, overseeing the care of a large number of both adult and pediatric brain tumor patients and providing chemotherapy.
Dr. Zhang is grateful to the Society for Neuro-Oncology, the American Brain Tumor Association and EMD Serono for their support in enabling this invaluable fellowship to occur. During her time in the United States, Dr. Zhang benefitted from her exposure to both cutting edge clinical care and clinical research in neuro-oncology. She has returned to China better equipped to improve the care of brain tumor patients and help develop clinical trials for these patients.
1. Zhang JP, Lee EQ, Nayak L, Doherty L, Kesari S, Muzikansky A, Norden AD, Chen H, Wen PY, Drappatz J. Retrospective Study of Pemetrexed as Salvage Therapy for Central Nervous System Lymphoma. J Neuro-Oncol 2013 15(1):71-7.