Because we are an academic medical center, leading-edge research is one of the cornerstones of the care provided by our experts in head, neck and skull base cancers. Today’s clinical trials and research studies give us new, proven treatment approaches offering patients more treatment options and hope.
Program physicians at Froedtert participate in numerous head and neck cancer clinical trials. These experts well understand how these trials help offer patients every treatment option available. Clinical trials can take place in several ways.
Some clinical research trials are initiated and conducted onsite by our own Medical College of Wisconsin physicians. Our research center is one of 78 centers in the United States supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin frequently participates in trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, offering another way for patients to have access to new drug therapies.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has created several small consortiums across the country to help get new drugs and treatments developed and tested more quickly. Promising new drugs go through Phase I trials, the earliest form of clinical trials. In the Phase II network, they’re tested specifically for activity in specific cancers.
Our Head and Neck Cancer team participates in many multi-institutional and national clinical trials that are coordinated by various national cooperative groups, including the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). ECOG is one of the country’s largest clinical cancer research organizations. RTOG has a strong focus on head and neck cancer research, and several of our physicians have led clinical trials and served in leadership positions for the organization.
Research Leads to More Effective Care
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin physicians are among the research pioneers who continue to shape current best practices in head, neck and skull base cancer treatment. For instance, our physicians were involved in a 1990s study that led to successfully treating laryngeal cancer without removing a patient’s voice box – a treatment approach that has since improved the quality of care for countless patients across the globe.
Today, our medical oncologists are researching new drugs for patients with recurring thyroid cancer and authoring studies challenging the idea that radiation therapy can be given only once in a patient’s lifetime. The results could lead to breakthroughs in effective treatment for patients with recurrent cancer.
NCI Grant to Study Plant-Based Preventative Treatment for Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is the sixth most frequent cancer in the world. In the United States, approximately 36,500 new cases are diagnosed and 8,000 patients die each year from this disease. Our team of physician scientists and researchers is known for their skill and innovation in the detection and treatment of head and neck cancers, and we are thrilled to announce an exciting new project studying the treatment and prevention of oral cancer.
MCW Cancer Center director Ming You, MD, PhD and Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin oncologist Stuart Wong, MD received a $2.6M grant from the National Cancer Institute to study a widely used Chinese herbal formula called Antitumor B as potent cancer preventive agent for oral squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). Antitumor B (ATB) is one of the most promising preventative agents for head and neck cancer.
Quality of Life Initiatives
More and more people are surviving head, neck and skull base cancers each year. That’s why it is important to conduct research that not only impacts survival but also enhances quality of life after treatment. Our own research with cancer survivors helps us understand long-term side-effects or “late effects” of treatment. Some of these effects include tightening of scars, persistent loss of movement or sensation, thinning of muscle and lining tissues, persistent mouth dryness and others.
Research has shown that even the most challenging side effects can be relieved. Advancements in tissue-preservation during treatment, speech and physical therapy, new drug options and other options are helping patients enjoy a better quality of life after treatment.
Virtual Visits Are Available
Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.
Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine
There is currently no data that suggests current or former cancer patients should avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Cancer can weaken your immune system, so we recommend that most patients get the vaccine as soon as possible.