Covenant Expands Oncology Research Program

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, part of Covenant Healthcare System, has been selected as a National Cancer Institute site for clinical research trials.

St. Joseph is now one of 58 members of the national organization known as the Clinical Trials Support Unit (CTSU). The certification gives certain oncology patients treated in community hospitals access to a wide variety of Phase III cancer treatment trials that are not available to the general patient population.

The trials are needed to facilitate FDA approval for new or expanded treatment uses.

"This development is important because we’re giving our patients access to the very latest options in cancer treatment," says Dr. David Sherman, radiation oncologist and Medical Director of Covenant Cancer Care.

Dr. Norwood Anderson, medical oncologist, said, "Membership in the Clinical Trials Support Unit also gives our staff the ability to be on the cutting edge of cancer care through exposure to the newest treatments."

"This important affiliation with the National Cancer Institute demonstrates Covenant Healthcare’s significant commitment to providing our patients the latest clinical treatments through research trials," said Paul Dell Uomo, president and chief executive officer of Covenant.

The first CTSU research trial that St. Joseph Regional Medical is participating in is the partial breast irradiation trial, which is testing the use of partial breast irradiation for a broadened group of women with breast cancer.

The conventional standard of care is six weeks of radiation treatment, with some significant side effects; the partial breast irradiation treatment is given twice a day for just five days.

Dr. Stuart Blacher, radiation oncologist at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center and Elmbrook Memorial Hospital, is a principal investigator in the trial.

The second CTSU research trial Covenant is participating in is titled "Comparing Anastrozole with Tamoxifen in Postmenopausal Patients with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) Undergoing Lumpectomy with Radiation Therapy." Recent research has shown that Arimidex (anastrozole) was significantly superior to Tamoxifen in preventing recurrence of invasive breast cancer. The new study will determine if the same holds true for stage 0 pre-invasive breast cancer. Dr. Norwood Anderson is a principal investigator for the study, which is expected to begin enrolling patients by the end of October.

Covenant Healthcare System Inc. is a nonprofit organization including four acute-care hospitals: St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, and St. Michael Hospital in Milwaukee, and Elmbrook Memorial Hospital in Brookfield; a joint venture affiliation with The Wisconsin Heart Hospital; and several other medical facilities.

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