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OHSU expands capacity for cancer clinical trials

New early-phase clinical trial unit in the Center for Health and Healing Building 2 on South Waterfront centralizes care for cancer patients, provides more research opportunities
A tall man seen in profile speaks to a shorter woman; both wear surgical masks.
Shivaani Kummar, M.D., FACP, head of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine and co-director of the Knight Cancer Institute's Center for Experimental Therapeutics, talks with OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Director Brian Druker, M.D., at the opening of OHSU's early-phase clinical trial unit in the Center for Health and Healing Building 2 on OHSU's South Waterfront campus, Aug. 23, 2021. (OHSU/Joe Rojas-Burke)

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has expanded its cancer research and care facilities to include a unit dedicated to serving patients participating in early-phase clinical trials.

The new unit centralizes care for patients in research studies and expands capacity to allow more people to participate in early-phase clinical trials at OHSU. 

Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medicines or treatments work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, diagnose or treat diseases like cancer. Early-phase trials are the first step in testing promising new medications and methods, and can offer patients early access to new and possibly better treatments.

Portrait of Shivaani Kummar M.D. FACP, a bespectacled woman in a white blazer.
Shivaani Kummar, M.D., FACP

“We are proud to be able to offer our patients access to the most advanced cancer therapies available,” said Shivaani Kummar, M.D., FACP, head of the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine and co-director of the Knight Cancer Institute’s Center for Experimental Therapeutics. “With this new dedicated space to administer clinical trial care for patients, OHSU will continue to work to expand access to innovative clinical trials for cancer patients in Oregon and beyond.”  

A nurse with long, wavy hair looks at a computer monitor in OHSU's cancer research unit.
The 13,000-square-foot early-phase research unit includes 12 treatment spaces, eight chairs, four beds, and procedure and consultation rooms. The units team of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, data coordinators and clinical research coordinators are trained and experienced in caring for people participating in cancer clinical trials. Trisha Silbernagel, RN, BSN, early-phase clinical trial unit manager, checks equipment on Aug. 23, 2021. (OHSU/Joe Rojas-Burke)

The 13,000-square-foot early-phase research unit is located on the 12th floor of OHSU’s Center for Health and Healing Building 2 on OHSU’s South Waterfront campus. Its staff of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, data coordinators and clinical research coordinators are trained and experienced in caring for people participating in cancer clinical trials. The unit includes 12 treatment spaces, eight chairs, four beds, and procedure and consultation rooms. 

Over the past six months, a multidisciplinary team has been coordinating patient experience, drug delivery, staffing schedules and equipment needed to support the range of clinical trials offered in the unit that span 14 different cancer disease groups.

Portrait of Patrick McCormick, M.B.A., a Caucasian man in a grey suit and navy blue tie.
Patrick McCormick, M.B.A.

“This new unit allows us to centralize everything in a setting designed for a patient’s convenience and comfort,” said Patrick McCormick, M.B.A., vice president of oncology services in the Knight Cancer Institute. “Our patients in research studies can come in for their initial blood work and continue through their post treatment observation all in one place and are surrounded by a team of experts guiding them through the process.”

Expanding scientific knowledge is a key mission of OHSU, Oregon’s only academic health center. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is part of regional, national and international research partnerships, offering patients local access to the latest advances and clinical trials. The institute is involved with more than 400 clinical trials, including 113 early-phase trials. In 2020, 470 Oregon residents from 28 counties consented to participate in clinical trial activities with the Knight Cancer Institute.

A man in a suit and surgical mask addresses a crowd of four standing people.
The new unit centralizes care for patients in research studies and expands capacity to allow more people to participate in early-phase clinical trials at OHSU. Patrick McCormick, M.B.A., vice president of oncology services in the Knight Cancer Institute, speaks with staff members on Aug. 23, 2021. (OHSU/Joe Rojas-Burke)

In 2014, the state of Oregon supported the OHSU Knight Cancer Challenge by providing $200 million in bonding to support building cancer research and clinical trial capacity. Of that, $160 million was used for the Knight Cancer Research Building, which opened in 2018, and $40 million was used to build expanded capacity for clinical trial care in CHH2, which opened in 2019. The new early-phase research unit completes this expansion in the building.

Learn more about clinical trials at the Knight Cancer Institute

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