Portland, Oregon, has earned a reputation as an environmentally friendly destination, but this thriving city is also doing its part for its residents’ health and well-being, particularly those with lung cancer and related conditions. This is the site of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute, the state’s only health sciences academic center, and one consistently and highly ranked among the nation’s best cancer treatment facilities.
OHSU is a “matrix cancer center,” with a well-coordinated organization for all cancer-related activities, both common and rare, and even a variety of blood disorders. Renowned internationally for its efforts to diagnose, treat and prevent cancer at the molecular level, OHSU is also hailed for being the home of the cancer drug imatinib. The hospital was the site of breakthroughs in prostate and colon cancer, as well.
This hospital encourages a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and treatment, and this is especially true for lung cancer, the deadliest form. Patients at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Clinic are provided with direct access to a team of experts – including oncologists (medical, radiation and surgical), surgeons, researchers, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers and nutritionists. In fact, this team functions as Oregon’s only coordinated care team dedicated to lung cancer and related conditions.
The team is headed by Alan Sandler, M.D., division chief, Hematology/Medical Oncology, and an internationally renowned investigator in therapeutic clinical trials dedicated to lung cancer therapies. Sandler actually served as lead investigator on the clinical trials for two drugs – Gemzar (gemcitabine) and Avastin (bevacizumab) – that have emerged as industry standards for cancer care.
Under Sandler’s leadership, the Lung Cancer Clinic provides multiple lung cancer treatment options. Of particular importance, this team regularly meets to review patient cases and develop personalized treatment plans, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, as well as combined-modality treatments.
Research at the Knight Institute, whether dedicated to lung cancer or any other type, is vital. The hospital divides its efforts into specific programs: Cancer Biology; Hematologic Malignancies; Solid Tumors; and Cancer Prevention & Control. This emphasis includes translational research, in which laboratory results are quickly and directly brought to patients, resulting in new and advanced strategies for cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis and therapy.
The center’s clinical trials and protocols require continuous participation. In fact, more than 200 OHSU Knight Cancer Institute members participate in 400 clinical trials annually. These include multi-institutional translational clinical trials within and outside of federally funded cancer study groups.
Furthermore, 1,100 OSHU members are principal investigators working on 4,500 research projects. In 2010 researchers for OHSU brought in $392 million, with $263 million coming from National Institutes of Health of (NIH) funding.
Oregon Cancer Center opened in 1992, and in 1997 it was designated Oregon’s only NCI-designated Clinical Cancer Center for its scientific and clinical research focuses.
While OHSU is able to draw upon the best of the academic and medical communities, the hospital also has close partnerships with local and national institutions. These resources allow the hospital to bring unrivaled cancer care and treatment to the entire region, including many rural communities.
Disclaimer: OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.
Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.
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