Roswell Park Cancer Institute 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 RPCI’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 RPCI’s own scientists.
Before the Center opened, RPCI 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, 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 launched the first chemotherapy program in the United States in 1904, and more recently participated in clinical studies that helped speed FDA approval of Gleevec®, now a first-line therapy for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, Senior Vice President for Clinical Research, Chair of the Department of Medicine, and the Katherine Anne Gioia Chair in Cancer Medicine, says that the opening of the Center, combined with the recruitment of top-notch scientists and the high quality of ongoing research at Roswell Park, means “we’re going to have promising new drugs available here that we didn’t have in the past.”