Ochsner is dedicated to research, education and the highest quality of patient care. As such, cancer patients may benefit from innovative therapies that are available here at Ochsner because of clinical research. The Ochsner Cancer Institute was founded in 1981 to coordinate cancer care and to develop clinical research and supportive care programs. It was designated as a Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) by the National Cancer Institute in 1983 and has been continuously funded by the NCI since that time.
The Ochsner CCOP scored highest among the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Programs in 1990 and it represents the largest clinical trials network in Louisiana and Mississippi. Ochsner Medical Center-New Orleans coordinates other research sites, including Ochsner Clinic of Baton Rouge, Terrebonne General Hospital, Hattiesburg Clinic and Jackson Oncology Associates in Mississippi. Additionally, the CCOP places more than 200 patients on clinical research protocols annually.
These protocols are derived from Ochsner’s affiliation with the North Central Cancer Treatment Group at the Mayo Clinic, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the Gynecology Oncology Group, and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Ochsner’s investigators have achieved national recognition though leadership roles in research activities, including serving on the executive committees of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. Our CCOP trials are primarily Phase III clinical trials, which are cooperative studies to compare new treatments to standard treatments.
Clinical trials are ongoing for all major types of cancer and are continually updated to reflect the needs of our patients. Furthermore, the Ochsner Cancer Institute is involved in drug development studies that are available at only a few institutions in the United States. For instance, Ochsner was instrumental in research of vinorelbine tartrate (Navelbine) as a treatment for lung cancer, the first new effective agent for lung cancer approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a generation.
Ochsner breast cancer patients were also part of two instrumental trials that demonstrated the effectiveness of Herceptin (trastuzumab) in reducing recurrence and death in HER2-positve breast cancer. In addition to developing new anti-cancer agents, doctors and nurses at the Ochsner Cancer Center have been instrumental in alleviating common side effects of cancer treatment. This includes methods of controlling nausea and vomiting, an area in which two new agents were approved by the FDA after important Ochsner contributions.
Other conclusions of research have led to support groups that directly focus on the needs of patients, to making cancer care more easily available to all Americans and on ways to receive comfortable treatment without requiring hospitalization.
Click here to learn about active cancer clinical trials at the Ochsner Cancer Institute.