The Pancreatic Cancer Hope Foundation (PC Hope Foundation) – a Lehigh Valley-based nonprofit that raises funds for pancreatic cancer research and patient and family support – has made a generous gift of $12,500 that will advance cancer research at St. Luke's University Hospital in Fountain Hill.
Many clinical trials, including pancreatic cancer clinical trials, require specific blood sample and other specimen collection, storage, labeling and shipping. The donation will help St. Luke’s convert space in the hospital’s Clinical Laboratory into a dedicated center for Clinical Trials and Research.
“Support from the PC Hope Foundation is allowing us to purchase equipment dedicated to the Clinical Trials and Research department,” explains Jennifer Sisler, Senior Network Director of Clinical Trials and Research. “These expanded and new capabilities are critical because they enable us to offer our patients a greater number of cancer clinical trials, allow for optimal laboratory operations and help us remain in compliance with clinical trial requirements.”
The American Cancer Society expected about 62,210 people (32,910 men and 29,240 women) in the United States to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2022. As with most cancers, the earlier pancreatic cancer is detected, the greater the patient’s chance of survival.
“The work of the St. Luke’s Oncology Clinical Trials team will continue to help advance knowledge about and treatment of the disease and benefit the medical field at large, as well as the local community,” says Robyn Rex, St. Luke’s Director, Oncology Clinical Trials.
The St. Luke’s Cancer Center was recently named a National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Center of Excellence. NPF Centers are awarded after a rigorous audit to determine that an institution’s focus is on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatic cancer, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.
The St. Luke’s Oncology Clinical Trials team – including clinical research nurses, coordinators and associates – collect, process and ship lab samples as part of study requirements. The studies include those focused on cancer detection and treatment, and span many disease sites, including the pancreas.
“Having oncology clinical trials available within the St. Luke’s University Health Network greatly enhances our ability to serve our communities by offering access to treatments that patients would otherwise have to travel to larger cities, such as New York or Philadelphia, to receive,” says Darius Desai, MD, Section Chief of Surgical Oncology for St. Luke’s.
Adds Carla Thomas, Associate Vice President for Development at St. Luke’s: “Strong partnerships with organizations like the PC Hope Foundation help move our mission forward. We are incredibly grateful for the Foundation’s trust in our work and commitment to cancer research and clinical trials – especially right here in our community.”