Research Nurse, Theresa Carducci, MSN, RN, CCRP
In fulfilling its mission as an NCI-designated Cancer Center, SKCC has expanded laboratory, population based, and clinical research, and is targeting the programmatic needs of the catchment area in all facets. The SKCC is comprised of five Research Programs and they have evolved through: shaping scientific aims to meet current member strengths and interests; addressing the needs of the catchment area; incorporating a more translational focus; and appointment of new leaders with fresh ideas and perspectives. Programs are clustered into Discipline-Based or Disease-Oriented and bring together investigators from all research disciplines (basic, population focused, and clinical) to tackle the challenges of tumor development and progression, diagnosis and treatment, as well as cancer control and disparities. Each is led by a team of experienced researchers who have complementary expertise and transcend the research themes and scientific aims, which guide and direct research efforts. Each Program is structured to integrate catchment focused research and to address cancer disparities where appropriate.
The Programs of SKCC are:
Clinical trials are a type of research study that test new medical approaches to screening, preventing, diagnosing cancer. For cancer patients, participation in a clinical trial may result in an improved chance for survival or a better quality of life. Patients who volunteer to be a part of a clinical trial are often the first to benefit from exciting, new research breakthroughs, but as with any new medicine or therapy, there may also be risks. The specialists at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) medical team can advise you about the pros and cons, your eligibility and if one of our available trials might benefit you, depending on your type or stage of cancer.
Clinical Trial Types
Clinical trials are the best way physicians have to translate scientific developments into treatments. Each type of clinical trial has a specific purpose:
- Screening Trials look for ways to detect cancer before a person shows signs and symptoms of cancer.
- Prevention Trials test methods for reducing the chances getting cancer. Most people who take part in these trials are healthy, but may have an increased risk of developing cancer, or for preventing cancer from recurring in patients who have had cancer or have an increased risk of developing a second cancer.
- Diagnostic Trials are for people who have signs and symptoms of cancer. This type of trial looks at ways to detect cancer at an earlier stage.
- Therapeutic Trials look for new medicines, combination of medicines, radiation, and methods for treating cancer.
- Quality of Life Trials look for ways to improve comfort and quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.
- Genetics Trials- are sometimes part of one of the above trials. This area of the trial may look at how your family genes may affect preventing cancer as well as diagnosing and treating cancer.
Clinical Trial Phases
Most therapeutic research involving the testing of new drugs is conducted in highly regulated phases that study dosage, safety, efficacy and long-term side effects:
- Phase I Trials – Evaluate how a new drug should be given, e.g. orally or intravenously; usually on a small number of patients.
- Phase II Trials – Test drug safety and how well the new drug works; usually focusing on a particular type of cancer.
- Phase III Trials –Test new drugs or surgical procedures in comparison to the current standard; often including a large number of patients who are assigned to either the standard or new group.
- Phase IV Trials – Evaluate side effects, risks and benefits of a drug over a longer period of time; usually a larger number of people than in Phase III.
Clinical Trial Benefits
Clinical trials offer hope for many cancer patients and their families. Patients who join clinical trials will receive the standard medicine for their cancer. In addition they may receive a new medication that is only available to cancer patients who voluntarily agree to join the trial. If the patient agrees to take part in the trial there may be no direct benefit to the patient. However, the information that is collected could benefit others. Patients who participate in trials will closely be monitored by their cancer doctors and the research team. Doctors want to collect as much information as possible on the treatment and how patients are affected by the medication. This may mean that extra tests or doctor visits maybe required.
Besides the Patient’s Doctors and Cancer Team who looks out for the patient?
Every study is closely reviewed by and monitored by a team of doctors, nurses, patient advocates, patients and individuals from the local community, to ensure that the clinical trials are run in a safe and fair manner. This team is called an Instructional Review Board (IRB).
Is Participation in a SKCC Cancer Clinical Trial Right for You?
There’s no doubt that volunteering to take part in a cancer clinical trial is a big decision for you, your family and your caregivers. You undoubtedly will have many questions ranging from what rights and protections you have what costs are covered by insurance, to how long will the trial last. Rest assured, the SKCC Clinical Research Organization office can answer your questions and help you navigate through your options. Our main goal is to find the best treatment for you.
Clinical Trials Offered in Washington Township
- Breast Cancer Trials
- Genetic Trials & Registry
Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling Research Program
The mission of the Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling (CCBS) Program is to make fundamental mechanistic discoveries into signaling pathways that are dysregulated in human cancer. CCBS investigators aim to translate findings into new treatment opportunities that address the high incidence of lung cancer and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (H&N SCC) in our catchment area and leverage the unique clinical strengths of SKCC.
The Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling Program (CCBS) is led by Andrew Aplin PhD and George Prendergast PhD (LIMR, consortium member). The program has 42 members who span basic science, population research, and clinical research disciplines. The scientific mission of the CCBS Program is to integrate genomic, biochemical and functional analyses to make fundamental mechanistic discoveries into signaling pathways that are dysregulated in human cancer. From these studies, we aim to inform future investigator-initiated clinical trials and epidemiological studies. CCBS is a Discipline-Based program that looks towards translation. In the last funding period, fundamental discoveries have been made in key signaling pathways that are altered in human cancers resulting in high impact publications. Findings were moved into pre-clinical models and a subset were translated to the clinic for cancer types with high incidence in the SKCC catchment area (head & neck squamous cell carcinoma, H&N SCC, and lung carcinoma) and for which SKCC is a national referral center (uveal melanoma).
For more information on the Cancer Cell Biology & Signaling Program at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — Washington Township or other cancer research services available, please call 856-218-5790.
Molecular Biology & Genetics Research Program
The mission of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Program (MBG) is to make discoveries into the mechanisms of tumorigenesis and translate these findings into the clinic to improve treatment of hematopoietic and solid organ cancers. The MBG Program consists of 38 members that include basic scientists, clinicians, and population health researchers. Together, they comprise a strong research program that integrates fundamental studies of molecular oncogenesis, transcriptional regulation, and chromatin structure, regulation of immune cell generation and function, and pathogenic mechanisms of infectious agents including oncogenic viruses with translational applications in hematological and solid malignancies, vaccine development, and viral-mediated therapeutics.
The Molecular Biology and Genetics Program (MBG) is led by Christine M. Eischen PhD, and Bruno Calabretta MD PhD. This Discipline-Based Program includes 38 basic, clinical, and population researchers. Members of this Program focus on mechanisms underlying the process of tumorigenesis, including the role of transcriptional regulation, chromatin structure, and DNA repair, the role of innate and adaptive immunity in tumors, and hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) for treatment of hematological malignancies, vaccine development and viral-mediated therapeutics, and risk factors for hematological malignancies. In the last five years, MBG members have revealed how epigenetic marks are established during DNA replication, identified mechanisms governing the interaction of repair proteins with damaged DNA, defined contributions of non-coding RNA to tumorigenesis and tumor cell survival, and developed homologous recombination inhibitors. This Program is an integral component of SKCC and has been in existence as an independent Program since SKCC was established.
For more information on the Molecular Biology & Genetics Program at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — Washington Township or other cancer research services available, please call 856-218-5790.
Prostate Cancer Research Program
The overarching mission of the Prostate Cancer Program (PC) is to reduce prostate cancer incidence and mortality in the SKCC catchment area and beyond. PC investigators are focused on understanding the basis of prostate cancer development and progression, developing new clinical interventions to reduce prostate cancer incidence and mortality, and designing/testing interventions in populations.
The Prostate Cancer Program (PC) is led by Wm. Kevin Kelly DO and legacy Co-Leaders Leonard Gomella MD and Alessandro Fatatis MD PhD (DU consortium member). The Program is comprised of 28 basic, population, and clinical researchers who developed robust mechanisms for conducting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. PC members have expertise in all aspects of prostate cancer research, resulting in multiple collaborative grants and high impact publications. The overarching PC mission is to reduce prostate cancer incidence and mortality in our catchment area and beyond, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations (including African-Americans and geriatric patients). PC members are focused on understanding the basis of prostate cancer development and progression, developing new clinical interventions to reduce prostate cancer incidence and mortality, and designing and testing interventions in populations. They continuously look to generate a paradigm-shifting and practice-changing discoveries.
For more information on the Prostate Cancer Program at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — Washington Township or other cancer research services available, please call 856-218-5790.
Breast Cancer Research Program
The overarching mission of the Breast Cancer Program is to decrease the incidence and morbidity of breast cancer through discovery and translation into practice in the SKCC catchment area and beyond. This goal is accomplished by taking a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to discover new aspects of breast cancer epidemiology and disparities, by designing novel interventions to take advantage of modifiable behaviors to decrease disease risk or morbidity, by developing novel imaging and therapeutic interventions, by elucidating new novel molecular mechanisms of disease and progression, and by catalyzing the translation of these findings into the clinic.
The Breast Cancer Program is comprised of new leadership and is led by Daniel Silver, MD PhD, Nicole Simone, MD, and Mauricio Reginato, PhD, (Drexel University, DU, Consortium Member). BC is composed of 26 basic, population, and clinical researchers. Members of the program have expertise in all aspects of breast cancer research, and participate in multiple collaborative grants and high impact publications.
For more information on the Breast Cancer Program at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — Washington Township or other cancer research services available, please call 856-218-5790.
Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program
The mission of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program is to define the fundamental mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies that can be translated into diagnostic and therapeutic innovations for managing cancer inpatients and underserved populations. The program looks to define molecular mechanisms underlying GI organ-based tumorigenesis, translate mechanistic discoveries into novel tools and strategies to improve prevention, early detection, prognosis, prediction, risk-stratification, and treatment for GI malignancies and advance new technologies into clinical trials to change practice in cancer prevention, control, and treatment across individual patients and the underserved.
The GIC Program is led by Scott A. Waldman MD PhD and Charles J. Yeo MD. This leadership team was specifically assembled for the complementary skills, perspectives and experiences that the individuals bring to their roles. Each has an established track record of success directing individual basic, translational and clinical research programs. GIC is a Disease-Oriented multi-disciplinary group of 25 basic, translational and clinical investigators with a common focus on identifying novel mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis that can be translated into new diagnostics and therapeutics to prevent or treat cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. The overarching goal of GIC is to define the fundamental mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal malignancies that can be translated into diagnostic and therapeutic innovations for managing cancer in patients and underserved populations, those relevant to the SKCC catchment area.
For more information on the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center — Washington Township or other cancer research services available, please call 856-218-5790.