Ramsey family honors a beloved brother after battle with pediatric cancer

As Lee Ramsey’s family watched him being transported by ambulance from the emergency room at Lawnwood Hospital in Ft. Pierce to UF Health in Gainesville, they were in need of reassurance. Lee was brought into the local emergency room because he was having difficulty breathing. When local doctors suggested that Lee be seen at UF Health, the family didn’t hesitate.

Lee Ramsey and family

Lee was referred to the division of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at UF Health. Lee’s mother, Nancy Ramsey, still remembers their first appointment.

“The first thing they told us was, ‘We’re gonna help you’, which was unbelievable,” Nancy said. “That was so encouraging. It was everything our family needed to hear.”

Lee had been fighting chronic illness for half his life. At the age of 17, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer most often found in children and adolescents. In Lee’s case, the disease presented as a cancerous tumor in his knee.

After months of chemotherapy and knee replacement surgery at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, he did his best to move forward, building a normal life. Although he continued to be regularly monitored by local doctors throughout his adult life, Lee’s family spoke about a special man who was not defined by his diagnosis.

“He definitely had more ups than downs,” shared Rosemary Rincon, Lee’s oldest sister. “Through all of this, he continued to work and he lived a really, really happy life. He continued to fish, go on the boat and be a really family-loving boy. Anytime he saw his doctors it just gave him more strength and power to keep trucking through it.”

After initial testing, a cancerous tumor was identified in Lee’s lungs, which was surgically removed, followed by several weeks of recovery. Because of his original diagnosis of osteosarcoma, Lee was referred to Joanne Lagmay, M.D., associate professor in pediatric oncology, for ongoing care.

Under the care of Lagmay, Lee continued to improve. According to his family, Lee maintained a positive attitude and a willingness to participate in any clinical trials that Lagmay suggested, not only for his own potential benefit, but in the hopes that they might help future cancer patients.

In May 2020, Lee experienced an unexpected setback when he developed a lung infection. He continued to lose weight, and when he visited UF Health for a checkup in July, he was admitted in the hopes that his infection could be treated and his strength regained. Lee spent the next few weeks at UF Health Shands Hospital, with constant visits from his parents and sisters, before passing unexpectedly one night, in his sleep.

Having spent so much time with Lee in the pediatric oncology unit, the Ramseys wanted to find a way to give back to those patients and their families.

New Clinical Trials Open for Enrollment

Accelerated Dose Schedule of Cytarabine Consolidation Therapy for Older Patients With Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in Complete Remission

A Phase 2, open-label, non-randomized study evaluating the safety of administering high dose cytarabine (HiDAC) consolidation therapy on days 1-3 of each cycle, as compared to standard administration on days 1, 3, & 5 of each cycle, in patients 61 years or older with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Principal Investigator: Jack Hsu, M.D. | Cell: 352-672-0704

A Phase II Randomized Therapeutic Optimization Trial for Subjects With Refractory Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Using ctDNA: Rapid 1 Trial

A Phase 2, randomized study that investigates the use of the Signaterra ctDNA assay versus the standard scan-based approach to guide treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The aim of this study will be to measure and compare the overall survival, progression-free survival, and best overall response while on study of patients whose treatment has been guided by these two approaches.

Principal Investigator: Sherise Rogers, M.D. | Cell: 718-614-5727 

A Dose Finding Phase 1 of Sarilumab plus Capecitabine in HER2/neu-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer and a Single-arm, Historically-controlled Phase 2 Study of Sarilumab plus Capecitabine in Stage I-III Triple Negative Breast Cancer with High-Risk Residual Disease

Patients with locally advanced TNBC are at high risk of developing lethal metastatic disease within 2 years of diagnosis, especially for those without a pathologic complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This study will advance a novel and potent strategy to eliminate minimal residual disease (MRD) in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) present even after multimodal treatment, thereby improving survival and increasing cure rate in this aggressive cancer. 

Principal Investigator: Karen Daily, D.O. | Cell: 352-222-1423

Measuring the Effects of Talazoparib in Patients with Advanced Cancer and DNA Repair Variations

This disease-agnostic, Phase 2 trial tests the PARP inhibitor Talazoparib (a highly selective and potent inhibitor that also provides significant PARP trapping activity) in advanced stage cancers with mutations to DNA damage response genes. Blocking the PARP protein abrogates a major DNA repair pathway, resulting in ineffective DNA repair mechanisms and encouraging apoptosis in tumor cells. Patients with advanced solid tumors may be eligible with any of the following germline or somatic dDDR mutations: BRCA1/2 (including those previously treated with a different PARPi), ARID1A, ATM, ATR, BACH1 (BRIP1), BAP1, BARD1, CDK12, CHK1, CHK2, IDH1, IDH2, MRE11A, NBN, PALB2, RAD50, RAD51, RAD51B, RAD51C, RAD51D, and RAD54L, as well as loss of function in any of the Fanconi anemia genes (FANCA, FANCB, FANCC, FANCD2, FANCE, FANCF, FANCG, FANCI, FANCJ, FANCL, FANCM, FANCN).

Principal Investigator: Thomas George, M.D. | Cell: 352-339-6672