Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin News Releases

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Monday, October 14, 2013 - $1 Million Donation Advances Cancer Clinical Trials at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center

Milwaukee, Wis. — Accelerating the pace of moving cancer treatment discoveries from the laboratory to the patient is the impetus for a $1 million gift from the Nicholas Family Foundation to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.  The donation will support a new cancer Translational Research Unit dedicated to early phase clinical trials that will offer new treatment options to patients.

The Nicholas Family Foundation Translational Research Unit is named after the Ab Nicholas family in recognition of their strong support. The family’s gift contributes to a $5 million goal established by the Froedtert Hospital Foundation to support Froedtert & the Medical College translational research endeavors. More than $4 million has been raised to date.

“We are thrilled to play a role in bringing this valuable resource to the community,” said Lynn Nicholas, president of the Nicholas Family Foundation. “Cancer researchers at Froedtert & the Medical College are world leaders in identifying breakthrough advances in cancer treatment. Cancer touches so many families, and the Translational Research Unit will bring hope to countless people in our community and beyond.”

According to Medical College of Wisconsin hematologist and oncologist James Thomas, MD, PhD, medical director of the cancer Translational Research Unit, the new unit will be one of only a few in the nation with the capability to conduct early phase cancer clinical trials in dedicated space with experienced research staff.

“Translational research has long been a cornerstone of medical progress,” Dr. Thomas said. “Phase I and phase II clinical trials help doctors understand how a new drug or new treatment approach works within a patient population. They can mean lifesaving alternatives for patients with recurrent disease who may have no other treatment options. The Translational Research Unit will expand our ability to offer these early clinical trials and expedite the results to help cancer patients.”

Froedtert & the Medical College currently participate in nearly 400 clinical trials, more than any other health care system in eastern Wisconsin. The efforts include nearly 300 trials specific to adult cancer research. Froedtert & the Medical College conduct trials in all clinical research phases, ranging from phase I through phase IV and encompassing the exploration of drugs and devices. Translational research occurs during phase I and phase II clinical trials in which tests are conducted among small patient groups to help physicians better understand how new treatments affect patients.

Slated to open Oct. 16, the Nicholas Family Foundation Translational Research Unit will have five dedicated research beds with the ability to expand to 15. It will be located in the Day Hospital, a state-of- the-art chemotherapy and infusion facility in Froedtert & the Medical College Clinical Cancer Center. Since it opened in 2008, the Clinical Cancer Center has become the highest volume cancer treatment provider in the area. In 2012, the Clinical Cancer Center saw more than 4,000 new patients and managed more than 196,000 patient visits.

The new cancer Translational Research Unit will join other Translational Research Units under the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin in its efforts to bring discoveries in health from the laboratory to the patient bedside in a faster, better and less expensive way.

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Froedtert Hospital, the primary adult teaching affiliate for the Medical College of Wisconsin, is a 500-bed academic medical center that delivers advanced medical care. Froedtert Hospital is nationally recognized for exceptional physicians and nurses, research leadership, specialty expertise and state-of-the-art treatments and technology. It serves as an eastern Wisconsin referral center for advanced medical practice care in 37 specialties and is a major training facility with more than 1,000 medical, nursing and health technical students in training. In partnership with MCW, it is also a respected research facility with more than 2,000 research studies, including clinical trials, conducted every year. Froedtert Hospital operates the region’s only adult Level I Trauma Center. Froedtert Hospital is located on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus. Campus partners are: BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Curative Care Network, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division. For more information, visit froedtert.com.