Cancer battle alliance forged - East Valley Tribune: News

Cancer battle alliance forged

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Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2005 6:11 am | Updated: 7:23 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Scottsdale Healthcare is launching a clinical research center to connect patients with new cancer drugs and patient-specific treatments based on genetics research.

The Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute will serve as the primary clinical research site for the Translational Genomic Research Institute in Phoenix.

"Our goal is reducing the time it takes to get new treatment discoveries from the research lab to the patient," said Susan Brown, Scottsdale Healthcare’s associate vice president for oncology services.

Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with tumors, including study of their development, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

The institute will be affil- iated with the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona and other research institutions, said Tom Sadvary, Scottsdale Healthcare president and CEO. The firm’s executives also are pursuing an affiliation with the Arizona Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

The new facility will be located within the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center on the Scottsdale Healthcare Shea hospital campus, 10460 N. 92nd St. Start-up funding was provided by a grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust totalling $4.55 million over three years.

Initially, the scope of work will involve cancer research. Plans call for expansion into other areas, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, neurosciences and nursing.

Projections call for the institute to treat as many as 300 cancer patents and 200 other patients within two years, Brown said Wednesday. The institute is expected to be staffed by 25 research professionals, including five physicians.

Scientists at TGen, the Arizona Biodesign Institute and other local research facilities need patients to continue their research, she said.

"All of those places that are doing wonderful and exciting science in the biotechnology arena have to have a clinical outlet to put what they discover into clinical practice and take it to the bedside, so we are providing the bedside," Brown said.

The clinical research site will play an important role in TGen’s ability to roll out new medical treatments, said Daniel Van Hoff, director of TGen’s Translational Drug Development Division.

"Translational research means you’re bringing things from the research lab into people, so having a place in order to do that is really critical to the mission," he said.

Scottsdale Healthcare already has an extensive oncolog y program, said Van Hoff, who will serve as medical research leader of TGen’s new program.

"There is a tremendous amount of care that is given there every day, so it’s an ideal situation to try to have the latest therapies available for patients right there, with the patients never having to leave their physicians," he said.

TGen is focused on translational genomics, a relatively new field involving advances arising from the Human Genome Project. The project is an effort to identify all of the approximately 20,000 to 25,000 genes in human DNA, according to the U.S. Office of Science.

TGen’s research at the new site initially will be focused on genomics medicines and pancreatic cancer. Genomics medicines will be tailored to individual patients based on their DNA.

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