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Hospitals form New Women’s Cancer Research Group

New Britain [October 20 2005] - New Consortium of New Britain General Hospital, Hartford Hospital, and the UConn Health Center Will Benefit Cancer Patients.

Working together with Hartford Hospital and the University of Connecticut Health Center, New Britain General Hospital’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology has been designated as a major research center for the study of gynecologic cancers. This designation is earned from a division of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) called the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG).

The newly-created Central Connecticut Cancer Consortium will be comprised of New Britain General, Hartford Hospital, and the UConn Health Center. Together, they have been designated as a “parent” organization within the Gynecology Oncology Group.

James S. Hoffman, MD, director of the division of gynecologic oncology at New Britain General is the principal investigator and Stacy Nerenstone, MD, of Hartford Hospital is the co-principal investigator for the consortium.

The fact that the three hospitals will be working together as a consortium has a number of benefits. “This designation by the GOG means that our consortium is now recognized as a separate research group, which has great implications for gynecologic cancer research in Central Connecticut. Our patients will no longer have to travel to Boston or New York to try novel drugs and treatments,” said Dr. Hoffman.

“This means that all of the experts from the three hospitals will, in effect, be in the ‘same room.’ This will bring about collaboration and sharing of ideas, which will benefit our patients,” he said. In addition, research protocols already approved at New Britain General can be made available at the other hospitals.

The increased funding that comes with this designation will allow for a larger number of representatives from each hospital to take part in national research efforts.

The Central Connecticut Cancer Consortium is one of 60 such GOG-sanctioned research groups nationally that work cooperatively, testing new programs, treatments, and drugs for gynecologic cancer. “This has been, over the decades, the most productive format in the world to research the best ways to treat these cancers. These studies have been the main source of progress,” said Dr. Hoffman, who is the principal investigator for the group.

“This is a big success for women’s cancer research in this region. All of us — in what is now this consortium — have been working together to makes these innovative and scientific advances for women. It is an honor and recognition that we’re now at a stage where we’re a parent organization,” said Dr. Hoffman.

Dr. Hoffman explained that it will now be easier for Hartford County women to take part in these clinical trials, even if their doctor is not at New Britain General. “The patient who wants to take part in an NCI study will have better access. A woman whose doctor is at Hartford Hospital or UConn will not have to leave her doctor to participate,” he said.

The position of our consortium as a GOG “parent” group is going to allow the innovative researchers at the University to participate in the national discussion about future scientific proposals.

In addition, said Dr. Hoffman, this designation brings with it “wonderful teaching opportunities,” for physician residents and nurses at New Britain General and the other participating hospitals.

Maureen Bracco, RN, is currently the oncology research nurse coordinator at New Britain General, and will soon become the nurse coordinator for the regional GOG program, screening all patients for research at the three hospitals. There are currently about 35 open trials going on, she said. “These studies offer new hope for women with ovarian, endometrial, cervical, and vulvar cancer,” said Bracco.

In addition to Dr. Hoffman and Hartford’s Dr. Nerenstone, the other investigators in the consortium are: Peter Byeff, MD, Barbara Fallon, MD, Stephen Grund, MD, and Kenneth Smith, MD, at New Britain General; John Currie, MD, Patricia DeFusco, MD, and Joel Sorosky, MD, at Hartford Hospital; and John Nash, MD, and Carolyn Runowicz, MD, at the UConn Health Center.

For more information about oncology research through the Central Connecticut Cancer Consortium and New Britain General Hospital please call Maureen Bracco, RN, at 224-5900, ext. 6960.


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