Oregon Cancer Center at OHSU Opens Southern Oregon Branch in Medford

06/08/99    Portland, Ore.

New cancer center will offer southern Oregonians an opportunity to participate in oncology trial.

Southern Oregon cancer patients and their families will soon get an opportunity to participate in national cancer research without leaving their community. The Oregon Cancer Center located at Oregon Health Sciences University is opening a southern Oregon branch of the center later this month. The center will be located at the Dubs Cancer Center at Asante Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford and will be available for all oncology care providers to use. The Oregon Cancer Center is the regional resource for both basic and clinical cancer research into new methods of diagnosis and treatment, and innovative strategies for cancer prevention and control. It is also the state's only cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health and is the only NCI-designated cancer center between Seattle and Los Angeles.

Since 1992 when the Oregon Cancer Center was formed, we have sought the advice of members of the oncology communities in central and southern Oregon seeking the best ways of delivering innovative clinical cancer research trials in a way that patients could gain access without a long trip to Portland. The state advisory committee of the center, including surgical and medical oncologists from Salem, Bend, Medford and Coos Bay, was instrumental in planning strategies by which this could be accomplished. With the support of OHSU, the national Cancer Institute and Asante, we have now begun to deliver on that promise," said Grover C. Bagby, Jr., M.D., director of the Oregon Cancer Center and professor o f medicine in the division of hematology and oncology in OHSU's School of Medicine.

One of the center's key components will be an electronic data link to OHSU established to facilitate timely sharing of information and access to the latest cancer resource materials. A nurse researcher and data manager will staff the center. All southern Oregon physicians who care for cancer patients will have access to these services.

The center will offer southern Oregon cancer patients an opportunity to participate in innovative clinical trials with more than 3,400 cancer patients from other parts of Oregon and their families.

"Oncologists in southern Oregon welcome the opportunity to participate in nationally recognized clinical research and trials through the Oregon Cancer Center at OHSU," says RIchard Karchmer, M.D., medical director, Providence Cancer Center, Medford. "We look forward to collaborating with all cancer care providers in southern Oregon to ensure our patients have an opportunity to receive the advantages of the latest advancements in the treatment and prevention of cancer."

For the Portland-based Oregon Cancer Center the new branch offers researchers a broader diversity f patients statewide, strengthens research abilities, expands its opportunity to recruit patients and allows it to take research to other areas of the state.

Since the Oregon Cancer Center was created in 1992 it has grown to generate $44 million in current cancer-related research projects. Researchers are presently working on more than 250 studies at the cancer center.

"Asante is excited and proud to share our newly remodeled Dubs Cancer Center. We look forward to working with the Oregon Cancer Center and supporting its national cutting-edge research projects," says Roy Vinyard, Asante president and CEO. "OHSU and Asante share the same dedication and desire to bring the most advanced cancer treatment and prevention to southern Oregonians. We look forward to collaborating with OHSU and other care providers to extend local availability of cancer services."

One of the first studies being finalized is the opportunity for women in southern Oregon to participate in a new clinical trial. The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) in Oregon will be based in Portland and include patient from Medford this summer. The study will compare tamoxifen and raloxifene to determine which of the two drugs is more effective in preventing breast cancer. Research has shown that tamoxifen does decrease the chance of developing breast cancer in women at high risk. Raloxifene may have the same effect without as many of the serious side effects associated with tamoxifen.

An OHSU bone marrow transplant consultation service is expected to be available by the end of 1999. Physicians from OHSU will come to Medford and consult with physicians in southern Oregon to evaluate potential bone marrow transplant patients and provide follow-up care to patients who have received transplants at OHSU.

"This partnership will enable patients and families to stay closer to home during a very difficult time in their lives while gaining access to the most current cancer treatments and protocols available. An important role for any health care provider is to lessen the burden of illness. The southern Oregon Branch of the Oregon Cancer Center will allow patients to stay close to their support system when they need it the most," says Lori Worden, oncology social worker at Asante's Dubs Cancer Center.

The Oregon Cancer Center gathers together more than 185 researchers largely from OHSU with one single mission: to accelerate the translation of research results into effective cancer care and cancer prevention.

OHSU includes the schools of dentistry, medicine and nursing; OHSU Hospital and Doernbecher Children's Hospital; dozens of primary care and specialty clinics; three research institutes; and several outreach and public service units.