Cancer Research and Clinical Trials at HOPE
William and Charles Mayo, founders of the Mayo Clinic, believed that there are three important pillars on which medicine should rest: Clinical practice (patient care), research, and education. HOPE also embraces this concept, and we believe that to have a well-rounded women’s cancer service, it is essential to also be involved beyond the doctor’s office with cancer research (including clinical trials) and medical education.
Advances in the treatment of cancer and other illnesses occur as a result of findings from clinical trials. A clinical trial is a research study that involves human subjects. Clinical trials may test new drugs. Sometimes a new drug is compared with a standard drug, or other times new surgical techniques are tested. The physicians at Hope participate with several national and international research groups, and in this way have access to the latest research studies. We participate in Phase II and Phase III clinical trials. A Phase II clinical trial tests a medicine or treatment to see if it is effective for a specific disease. A Phase III clinical trial compares a new medicine or treatment that has shown effectiveness with the standard medicine or treatment for a specific cancer. A specific clinical trial is conducted according to a written protocol, which details the way the medicines or treatments need to be given. A detailed written protocol for treatment is necessary so that the researchers know that everyone received the same treatment, which makes the study results more reliable.
Current clinical trials at Hope include studies from the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) and the Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU). We have trials available for the treatment of breast, ovarian, cervical, uterine, and vulvar cancers. One major study the physicians at Hope are participating in is a GOG study for the treatment of women with Stage III or IV ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer. This study compares the current standard chemotherapy with 4 newer combinations. Approximately 20 women locally and 4,000 women internationally are taking part in this study.
For more information about current clinical trials at Hope, contact Stephanie Porter at Hope. For more information on clinical trials, call 1-800-4-cancer (1-800-422-6237), or go to www.cancer.gov.
You also can find the GOG website at www.gog.org; the ACOSOG website at acosog.org and the CTSU website at www.ctsu.gov. Research at HOPE involves answering questions related to caring for people with specific cancers. The questions could be about anything from surgical and imaging techniques, postoperative care, improving medications, cancer screening, or combining forms of cancer therapy. This research helps HOPE continue to improve patient care and provide easier recoveries.
The Gynecologic Oncology Group (G.O.G.) is a cooperative group of physicians from multiple institutions that receives support from the National Cancer Institute (link to www.cancer.gov) to conduct research to improve the treatment of gynecologic cancers.
The American College of Surgeon’s Oncology Group (ACOSOG) is a cooperative group of physicians from multiple institutions that receives support from the National Cancer Institute to conduct research to improve the treatment of cancer. HOPE conducts surgical breast clinical trials through ACOSOG.
The Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, provides access to clinical trials from many cooperative groups. The CTSU is a pilot project of the National Cancer Institute to increase availability of clinical trials. HOPE participates in breast chemotherapy trials through the CTSU.
All cancer treatment decisions are based upon a “standard of care” for each type and stage of cancer. Standards of care are treatment programs determined to be the most effective, and are developed by scientists who examine research findings. The uniqueness of each person creates some difficulties in the design and interpretation of research studies, and it can take many years to accumulate enough information to develop new treatments. We are committed to sustaining hope for the future by encouraging participation in clinical trials.
Education & Training
Part of our commitment at HOPE is to educate doctors and the public about women’s cancers. We have been asked by churches, women’s groups, corporate organizations and the American Cancer Society to speak at numerous gatherings on the topics of breast and gynecologic cancers. Time permitting, we enjoy taking these opportunities to share what we have learned through experience. Taking an active role in promoting good health begins with education, and we believe that it is important for everyone to know about prevention, screening programs, and cancer in general.
If you are interested in scheduling a cancer education event, please call HOPE at 828-670-8403.
We are also actively involved in teaching resident physicians who are studying the treatment of gynecologic and breast cancers, as well as surgical and medical care of female patients. Our residents are doctors with an M.D. or D.O. degree specializing in Obstretrics and Gynecology.