The cornerstone of today’s medical treatments for cancers has been research and clinical trials.
Since 1979, more than 1,100 Gundersen Lutheran patients have participated in cancer clinical research studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, academic institutions, the pharmaceutical industry and Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation. This means— despite the fact that this is not a major metropolitan center—patients in our area have access to the same cutting-edge treatments as the best known names in cancer care and often much earlier than available to the general public.
Essential to the success of research studies is the timely accrual and adequate representation of the patient population. With greater numbers of participants, the sooner the trial will be completed and new improved therapies made available to all cancer patients.
The Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offers research studies for a variety of cancers, including:
Gundersen Lutheran has about 100 research studies available for cancer patients at any given time.
With support from Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, the Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offers research studies through participation in regional and national cancer treatment cooperative groups. By sharing clinical research efforts and measuring collective results, treatments are advanced more rapidly than any institution can accomplish alone. Participation in these groups can shorten the time it takes for us to get new, more effective drugs on the market.
Sometimes patients are concerned that if they don’t get the experimental therapy, they will only get a placebo. However, in cancer research, the patient will either get the standard treatment or the new experimental drug that has shown signs to be potentially better than the standard treatment. Not everyone will qualify for a cancer research study, but for those who do, it can offer new hope.