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CT community hospital now providing internationally recognized cancer clinical trials

Health News

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) – The ongoing battle against cancer has community hospitals like Norwalk Hospital, taking on a more proactive approach, expanding patient access to promising treatment.

Dr. Margo Shoup says, “Being a community program, that’s really acting like an academic program in a lot of ways because we’re offering a lot of the same care, the same trials, the same kind of technology in the same kind of experts that you would get in an academic setting.”

Now a designated primary clinical international research site, patients at Whittingham Cancer Center can take part in the latest clinical trials for breast and gynecologic cancers and the use of new radiation therapies to treat cancers.

Dr. Shoup, Chair of Nuvance Health Network Cancer Services, oversees the initiative.

She says, “The ability to enroll patients in some of these trials gives patients the opportunity to have treatment that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”

Another benefit is the shorter approval process to open clinical studies.

“We are just much more nimble being a community program than what some of the academic programs have,” says Dr. Shoup. “We are concentrating on just cancer for our patients here. We’re not having to go through a lot of different levels of bureaucracy to get things done.”

Specifically, the newest research will focus on cancer patients with late stage.

Dr. George Zahrah, Norwalk Hospital Oncology/Hematology Medical Director, says, “You have a population of people who get detected that’s already in advanced stage. They are still potentially curable but they are at a higher risk of recurrence.”

Study results could change standard of care for cancers such as ovarian and uterine.

“The literature tells us that they don’t respond to chemotherapy and yet the standard currently is to treat with chemotherapy because we don’t have the data telling us that if we don’t give chemo they would do just as well,” says Dr. Zahrah.

Eight clinical trials at the international level are underway.

The trials are available at Norwalk and Danbury Hospitals, both with Nuvance Health.

For more information about the clinical trials, call 203-739-7997.

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