Memorial HealthWatch Winter 2008/2009
Cancer Research Gives Patients Hope
Memorial Cancer Institute Offers Exceptional Opportunities: ‘Gold Standard of Care’ and Strategic Research Studies
Every patient who walks through the doors of Memorial Healthcare System's Cancer Institute is offered a unique opportunity: "We give them a choice between the 'gold standard of care' and the chance to participate in a study of a treatment we hope will work even better or have fewer side effects," says Atif Hussein, MD, MMM, FACP, Medical Director, Memorial Cancer Institute.
Memorial Cancer Institute collaborates with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and Rochester, Minnesota, to improve the lives of cancer patients via the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), a network of cancer specialists in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The NCCTG and this specific Mayo Clinic collaboration bring together cancer specialists who collectively offer promising new cancer therapies to patients in the communities where they live.
The combination of Memorial's superb cancer physicians and ethnically diverse population appeals to Mayo researchers, since cancers tend to behave differently in different people.
Searching for Cures
Memorial Cancer Institute provides some of the best medical care available today. At the same time, its dedicated medical team is committed to seeking a greater understanding of the disease and its causes. Dr. Hussein stresses the vital role of research to find new cures.
Every cancer patient who enters Memorial Cancer Institute is considered for a study, and everyone who qualifies is offered the opportunity. For many, the choice of treatment options restores a sense of control and rekindles hope.
All studies are National Cancer Institute approved, range from Phase I to III and represent the most promising approaches to improve upon the status quo. For some, they will be more effective. For others, they will be easier to tolerate.
'A Passion for Patients'
Because 90 percent of adult patients at Memorial Cancer Institute have cancers of the breast, lung, gastrointestinal system or blood, Memorial concentrates its efforts in these four areas, currently offering nearly 50 studies.
"We spend our resources to benefit the most patients," Dr. Hussein explains.
That being said, Memorial Cancer Institute is always eager to offer access to "compassionate use" trials when they represent treatment options not otherwise accessible.
"I have no passion for any cancer; I have a passion for patients," says Dr. Hussein.
Memorial Cancer Institute is currently the only medical center south of Daytona Beach offering a Phase II study of a drug for sarcoma, and the only center in South Florida enrolling patients with end-stage malignant melanoma in a clinical trial of a new monoclonal antibody.
"We are getting referrals from all over Florida," says Dr. Hussein.
To find a Memorial physician who is committed to patient- and family-centered care, call Memorial Physician Referral Service toll-free at (800) 944-DOCS. We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.