LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Cancer Clinical Trials Program Brings Rx Advances to More

cancer clinical trials

Members of the statewide cancer clinical trials network that grew out of a grant from the National Cancer Institute to LSU Health New Orleans came together recently to celebrate a milestone. Goals for patient enrollment are set annually, and the goal for the LSU Health New Orleans-led program for 2015-2016 was 170.

Dr. Augusto Ochoa, Director of LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and principal investigator on the grant, announced to the gathering that the number of patients enrolled over the last year topped 500 and exceeded the goal by a whopping 300%. That’s great news for people who are living with cancer and for those dedicated to advancing the treatments that save lives.

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Leslie Capo

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Al and Liz Copeland
In 2014, LSU Health New Orleans was awarded a $5.6 million grant over five years to build the regional network, with special emphasis on the medically under-served. It is part of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). This comprehensive cancer-management program created a network of physicians, nurses and researchers from major teaching and private medical institutions in Louisiana and Mississippi to deliver the latest promising investigational treatments for cancer. LSU Health New Orleans’ Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center partnered with LSU Health Shreveport and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to successfully compete for the grant.
Twenty-six sites, covering about 80% of the population, are now enrolling cancer patients in clinical trials.

“The program allows oncologists in many community hospitals to provide treatment to patients closer to home, helping reduce expenses and keeping patients and families closer together,” notes Dr. Larry Hollier, Chancellor of LSU Health New Orleans.

Following remarks by Dr. Ochoa, Dr. Hollier, Lester W. Johnson, MD, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at LSU Health Shreveport, and Todd Stevens, CEO and President of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Inc., members of the network who played key roles in the accomplishments were recognized.

Four participating physicians were given Excellence in Leadership Awards -- Dr. Gary Burton, LSU Health Shreveport, Dr. Scott Delacroix, Jr. and Dr. Cori Morrison, LSU Health New Orleans, and Dr. David Hanson, Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.

Lending their congratulations were state legislators Representative Jimmy Harris, D-New Orleans, Representative Stephanie Hilferty, R-Metairie, and Representative Charles “Bubba” Chaney, R-Rayville.

Major supporters Al Copeland, Jr., with Liz and Kathleen Gross, Director of the Al Copeland Foundation, along with Cancer Crusaders -- Brenda Higgins, Co-President-Elect, Denise Woodward, Past Co-President, Mickey Rodriguez, Co-President-Elect, Carolyn Wanek Treuting, Edith Catching, Past Co-President, Diane Hollis, Co-President, Dianne Breaux, Co-President, Pat Golemi, Past Co-President, and Barbara Ballard were also distinguished guests.

Cancer Crusaders
Besides providing access to leading-edge treatments to patients in the Gulf South, the NCORP expands programs in cancer prevention, screening and survivorship programs to improve early diagnosis and treatment as well as to help patients cope with the extended process of recovering from cancer. Advancing ongoing research, the initiative is also a major step in addressing the health disparities in the region.

Excellence at many positions was recognized; each contributes greatly to the network's success.

The collaboration is bringing promising new treatments to the people who need them most, and in record time. And that's something worth celebrating!