Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
Patients now have access to a broad portfolio of phase 1 and 2 trials, allowing patients to stay closer to home for these ground-breaking, novel therapies. Click here to view Early Phase Trials.
Ochsner’s Precision Cancer Therapies Program provides an experienced staff including nurses, doctors, researchers, technicians, laboratory personnel, infusion staff, schedulers and a concierge, fully dedicated to our early phase trial cancer patients. Our team, along with dedicated labs and clinical space makes our program the most comprehensive of its type in the region.
Our physicians collaborate with leading translational scientists at the forefront of modern molecular medicine to review the results of genetic sequencing, proteomics, and other advanced studies and create customized treatment plans based on the most up-to-date research and data.
FACT: In 1939, Dr. Alton Ochsner conducted research on pulmonary malignancy and the link between smoking and lung cancer.
The Precision Cancer Therapies Program, a multidisciplinary partnership between Ochsner and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), offers the region access to the latest in cancer therapeutics, research, and advanced diagnostics. This distinctive program combines Ochsner’s clinical expertise with the translational science strength of TGen, a non-profit biomedical research organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results.
Ochsner’s longstanding tradition of bringing physicians together to improve health outcomes continues today. The unique combination of patient care, research and education coupled with our multidisciplinary team sets our program apart. Ochsner physicians are at the forefront of modern molecular medicine, creating customized treatment plans based on the most up-to-date research and data.
Our innovative approach to cancer care involves not only cutting-edge technology, but also impactful clinical research and fundamental improvements in how cancer care is delivered. The Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program (PCTP) is the region’s only clinical research program focused on early-phase clinical trials in patients with advanced cancer. This program makes Ochsner the clear choice for providing the very best cancer care available close to home.
Our providers are available for the initial consult visit virtually or in person. During this visit, our team will review records thoroughly, including previous treatments, imaging and current medications. Our team will then review cases at our Weekly Research Tumor Board with physicians, advanced practice providers, clinical research coordinators and research staff. Following this, we will have a follow up appointment to review trial options, give second opinions and develop a customized treatment plan.
This video was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program Key Personnel
We provide the most advanced cancer care available and, at the same time, offer compassionate support to patients and their families.
Medical Director, Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program
As the leader of the Ochsner Precision Cancer Therapies Program, Dr. Matrana focuses on treating patients with cancers of the genitourinary tract, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and other solid tumors. He is a native of New Orleans, who trained at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where he served as Chief Fellow. His groundbreaking research has led to numerous peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and other publications in the field of genitourinary medical oncology. In addition to research and patient care, Dr. Matrana is an active medical educator who has spoken to groups around the world.
Dr. Von Hoff is currently Physician-in-Chief and Distinguished Professor at TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Von Hoff’s major interest is in the development of anticancer agents. He and his colleagues were involved in concept and development of many of the agents now used routinely in cancer care, including: mitoxantrone, fludarabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, irinotecan, nelarabine, capecitabine, lapatinib, vismodegib, nab-paclitaxel, nal-lRI, and others. Winner of the prestigious Karnofsky award for outstanding achievements in cancer research and impact on treatment of cancer patients.
Deputy Director of Medical Oncology
Dr. Johnson is the Deputy Director of Medical Oncology for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program. Dr. Johnson completed his internship and residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and completed his hematology/oncology fellowship at MD Anderson. He has special research interests include melanoma and strategies to overcome immunotherapy resistance and prevent immune-related adverse events. Dr. Johnson has multiple peer-reviewed articles and presentations at national meetings pertaining to the management and underlying mechanisms of immune toxicity. He is a clinical investigator focused on designing and implementing clinical trials intended to optimize the safety and efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Deputy Medical Director for Hematology
Dr. Finn is the Interim Director of Ochsner’s Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Program. She completed a Hematology/Oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL where she was chief fellow and remained on faculty for two years as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. She completed advanced training in Bone Marrow Transplant at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of numerous peer reviewed publications in Hematology, Bone Marrow Transplant and use of Palliative Medicine in cancer care and speaks globally on these topics. As a clinical investigator, Dr. Finn is focused on therapeutic trials for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and enhancement of bone marrow transplant.
Key Investigator, Gastroenterology
Dr. Jonathan Mizrahi received his medical degree from University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville and completed his residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. He completed his fellowship in hematology and oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Mizrahi is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He has been on staff at Ochsner since August 2020 and specializes in hematology and oncology, with a particular clinical and research focus on cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including pancreatic cancer.
Key Investigator, Gynecology Oncology
Dr. Katrina Wade’s area of clinical expertise is gynecologic cancers, including cervical, uterine, vulvar and ovarian cancer, as well as gestational trophoblastic disease. She is board certified in gynecologic oncology and has been recognized for her research in the field of gynecologic oncology. She is widely published in peer-reviewed medical journals and serves on the Ovarian Cancer committee for NRG oncology. Dr. Wade strongly believes in a multidisciplinary team approach to gynecologic cancer care. She seeks to provide women with the most advanced and personalized treatment plans while best preserving quality of life.
Key Investigator, Breast
Dr. John Cole completed his internship and residency at Ochsner and completed his hematology/oncology fellowship at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. Dr. Cole is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology and has been on staff at Ochsner since 1989. He has been Principal Investigator of the Ochsner NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) since 2017 and is currently the Director of Clinical Cancer Research for Ochsner Health. He has a special clinical and research focus on breast cancer.
Key Investigator and PCTP Manager
Erin Pierce received a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University. Prior to joining the Hematology/Oncology team as a nurse practitioner, Erin worked as a registered nurse for Ochsner's chemotherapy infusion. She currently serves as a sub-investigator for over 80 clinical trials and is the first advanced practice provider serving as a primary investigator on an early phase cancer clinical trial in the state of Louisiana. After both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer, Erin was inspired to become an oncology nurse practitioner and has devoted her career to fighting cancer, which sparked her interest in clinical cancer research and drug development. She was chosen as the 2018 Ochsner Advanced Practice Provider of the Year for her research contributions.
Advanced Practice Provider
Carlie received a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Louisiana State University in New Orleans. While working as a registered nurse, she received a Master of Nursing practice degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. Prior to joining the hematology oncology team as a nurse practitioner, Carlie worked as a registered nurse for Ochsner's inpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant unit for six years and then Ochsner's chemo infusion team for two years. Carlie holds two nursing certifications: oncology certified nurse and blood & marrow transplant certified nurse. Carlie treats solid tumor cancer patients and is a nurse practitioner for the precision cancer therapies program. Her special areas of interest are hematology/oncology, cancer care, solid tumor oncology and early phase clinical trials.
Clinical Research Supervisor
Elsa Levenes has been the RN clinical research supervisor for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program since 2016. She started working in oncology in 2008, first as an inpatient oncology nurse, then as an outpatient chemotherapy infusion nurse and then as an oncology clinical research coordinator.
Clinical Research Associate
Sharon Jerdonek is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program specializing in colorectal, pancreatic, liver, gastric/esophageal and head and neck cancers. She has worked in oncology since 1990 and has been with Ochsner’s PCTP since 2017.
Clinical Research Associate
Jessica Rentfrow is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program specializing in genitourinary and breast cancers. She has been working in oncology since 2015 and joined the Ochsner PCTP in 2016.
Clinical Research Associate
Amanda Woolery is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program specializing in hematology as well as lung, breast and melanoma cancers. She has worked in oncology since 2006 after starting as a chemotherapy infusion nurse, and she has been with Ochsner’s PCTP since 2016.
Clinical Research Associate
Megan Klobucar is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program specializing in early and late phase hematology clinical trials. She has worked in oncology since 2008 after working in the inpatient oncology unit and then as a chemotherapy infusion nurse. She joined the Ochsner PCTP in 2021.
Clinical Research Associate
Morgan Smith is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program specializing in colorectal, pancreatic and genitourinary cancers. She has worked in oncology since 2014 after working in the inpatient oncology unit and then as a chemotherapy infusion nurse here at Ochsner. She joined the Ochsner PCTP in 2021..
Clinical Research Coordinator
Carly Lang is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program. She is currently working on the Genzada trial for all disease sites as well as gene mutation studies, and she assists the clinical research team where needed. She joined the Ochsner PCTP in 2019.
Clinical Research Coordinator
Christina Robinson is a clinical research coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program specializing in Strata Oncology’s next generation sequencing testing trial, genetic mutation, genomic profiling, pathology specimen retrieval and molecular tumor board. She has been working in oncology since 2016.
Tayisa Davis has worked in hematology/oncology for Ochsner since 2014 and joined the PCTP team in 2020 as the access navigator. She performs direct outreach to patients, schedules appointments, manages referrals and provides support to staff and patients.
Kelly Lee has been the data coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program since 2019. She is responsible for entering research data for the trial sponsors specializing in solid tumors.
Jade Dennison is the data coordinator for the Precision Cancer Therapies Program with areas of research including all hematology studies as well as new GI and GU studies. She previously worked in the anatomic pathology department at Ochsner since 2019 and joined the PCTP in 2021.
Kelly Killeen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of New Orleans in 1990 and a Master of Social Work degree and a certificate in Gerontology from Tulane University in 1992. Kelly joined the Ochsner team in 1996 after working at a local skilled nursing facility and started working in oncology in 2008. She assists the patients in coping with their diagnosis of cancer, the emotions they may feel and the changes they may experience in their work, family, or other areas of their lives. Kelly links them with various resources as appropriate to their individual situations and needs.
The unique combination of patient care, research and education coupled with our multidisciplinary team sets our program apart.
Our Program is located at The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center.