Clinical trials help fight against cancer

Cancer research

May marks National Cancer Research Month. It is a chance to highlight the important and life-saving cancer research taking place to improve treatment and quality of life for those fighting cancer. 

Cancer clinical trials have resulted in new drugs and more effective treatments. Today, patients with cancer are living longer lives because of this shared research. Moreover, the conduct of research is expanding and providing enhanced access to those who may not have had such ease of access before. 

Improving access to cancer treatment 

According to Dr. Asad Bashey, medical director for the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Blood & Marrow Transplant/Leukemia/Immunotherapy programs, “Clinical trials are the mechanism whereby new treatments are introduced into medical therapy and lead to improvements in patient outcomes. Without them, we would not be able to determine if a new treatment is truly a significant improvement over current therapy.” 

Dr. Bashey added that clinical trials also allow patients to access the latest and most cutting-edge approaches. 

“This is particularly important for patients with difficult-to-treat conditions, which are not well-served by established standard treatments,” he said. “Participation in a clinical trial of novel treatment allows patients may benefit from these even before the new therapy has become approved for general use. 

As with any treatment, talk with your physician about the benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial and make an informed decision. Consider the following questions in your discussion. 

  • What is the purpose of this trial?
  • How will I receive treatment?
  • How long is the trial going to last?
  • What will I be asked to do?
  • Do I have to pay for any part of the trial?
  • Will my insurance cover these costs?
  • Will I be able to see my own doctor?
  • If the treatment works for me, can I keep using it after the trial?
  • Can someone find out if I am participating in a trial?
  • Will I receive any follow-up care after the trial has ended?
  • What will happen to my medical care if I stop participating in the trial?

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is committed to offering the latest in cancer research to address the demands of one of the most diverse states in the nation. As one of the largest community-based oncology/hematology programs in the U.S., we offer innovative clinical trials to patients within their own communities throughout Georgia. 

“Offering research signifies the quality of a cancer program, and Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is committed to offering patients clinical trials for their treatment,” said Drew Snyder, MHA, FAHE, director of oncology quality and support services. 

“In its commitment to developing and offering clinical trials to its patients, Northside has shown its determination to offer the most advanced strategies that are only available at a limited number of centers in the nation,” Dr. Bashey added. 

Advances in immunotherapy, molecularly targeted therapeutics and stem cell transplant have provided dramatically improved outcomes for people with cancer, according to transplant center survival rates. The Northside Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant, Leukemia and Immunotherapy teams participated in the groundbreaking research of many of these new practices and therapies. Our experts are recognized for pioneering research into the field of half-matched (haplo-identical) stem cell transplantation. Furthermore, we were among the first community-based centers in the nation to participate in ongoing chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy research. 

Our hematology/oncology patients currently have access to over 80 national, international and institutional trials offering exciting new treatment approaches for multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, as well as lung, breast, prostate, colon and gynecologic cancers. 

At Northside, Snyder emphasized that patients on a research trial have access to the latest treatment available for their disease and are guided by a research nurse through their treatment and after. “This research nurse is a care partner for the patient that helps coordinate many facets of care for the patient,” he said. 

As a result of the Northside Hospital’s Cancer Institute’s clinical research efforts, our patients are among the first to benefit from promising new treatments, can achieve better survival outcomes and have hope to live a full and joyous life. 

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Featured Providers

Margaret A. Ferreira, M.S., R.N., OCN picture

Margaret A. Ferreira, M.S., R.N., OCN

Specialties: Cancer Care

Margaret Ferreira is Director of the Northside Hospital Research Program.

Caitlin Guzowski, MBA, MHA, CCRC picture

Caitlin Guzowski, MBA, MHA, CCRC

Specialties: Cancer Care

Caitlin Guzowski is the Clinical Research Manager for the Cellular Therapy and Leukemia programs at Northside.

Melissa Sanacore, PharmD  picture

Melissa Sanacore, PharmD

Specialties: Cancer Care

Melissa Sanacore is the Pharmacy Research Manager for Immunotherapy, Leukemia and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Northside Hospital.

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