Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has opened one of the first Clinical Research Centers in the nation that focuses specifically on the development of new cancer treatments. The Center will provide more treatment options for patients through clinical research studies and will make it possible to expand Roswell Park’s program of Phase I studies, which represent the first step toward FDA approval.
Housed in the Roswell Park hospital, the Clinical Research Center is designed to provide the highest level of patient safety and to quickly generate precise data on potential new treatments. These capabilities will help attract studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and sponsoring pharmaceutical companies while supporting studies launched by Roswell Park’s own scientists.
Built with a $2 million gift from an anonymous benefactor and additional funds from Roswell Park, the Center features:
- 13 outpatient rooms total–which consist of 7 private rooms with beds, 2 private exam rooms with recliner chairs, and 4 semi-private rooms with recliner chairs
- When fully staffed, there are 9 full-time Clinical Research Nurses, plus Hospital Clinical Assistant and Clinical Center Associate
- The dedicated pharmacy dispenses all drugs used in clinical research studies for patients being treated in the Center and inpatient areas in the Institute.
- A multidisciplinary team workroom for the Early Phase Clinical Trial (EPCT) clinic is located in the Clinical Research Center
- A dedicated Specimen Processing Center, with dedicated Lab Technicians and facilities for processing and storing biological samples needed for studies, is located on the unit.
Before the Center opened, Roswell Park patients enrolled in clinical research studies received treatment either in the Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic or in regular hospital units. In the Center, they will receive care from nurses who are specially educated to help patients manage the side effects of administered investigational medications, as well as implement all of the study data requirements.
While other medical research institutions have General Research Centers (GRCs), which are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), GRCs are designed to conduct research on many types of diseases and are required by the NIH to enroll no more than 49% of patients with any one disease. That rule produces a juggling act to accommodate all the patients participating in oncology clinical research studies, notes Joyce Yasko, PhD, RN, former Vice President, Clinical Research Administration and Services.
The new Center adds even more muscle to a historically strong clinical research program. Among other milestones, Roswell Park participated in clinical studies that helped speed FDA approval of Gleevec®, now a first-line therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).