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Hartford Hospital has received a $3 Million grant to fund a study that may radically transform cancer treatment.

Total Cancer Care, conducted in partnership with the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, will enable Hartford Hospital to employ researchers dedicated to examining how molecular and genetic information can help diagnose and treat cancer patients. Moffitt is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S., and this biospecimen program is perhaps the most advanced and innovative of its kind in the country.

Cancer survivor and former news anchor Sam Donaldson gives an overview of the Moffitt Total Cancer Care project and the concept of personalized medicine. (Video)

Today’s technology enables researchers to test cancerous tumors for approximately 30,000 genes and other molecular characteristics. These genes provide a molecular “fingerprint” for each tumor, which is unique to each individual. Researchers will study potential mechanisms of tumor development and growth, and could be able to develop personalized treatment plans for each patient, based on the study of their individual molecular “fingerprint.”

Dr. Tim Yeatman explains how tissue from patients undergoing cancer surgery will be used to improve cancer treatments. (Video)

“For patients and families in our region who are afflicted with cancer, Hartford Hospital has long been a leader in cancer care delivery, cutting-edge technology, research and support programs,” said Andrew L. Salner, M.D., Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. “We are excited to join our esteemed colleagues in this research project, as it can truly revolutionize how cancer is treated and diagnosed. Our National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Cancer Centers Program status here at Hartford Hospital, the only one of its kind in New England, enables us to develop collaborations with national centers, which truly offer Connecticut patients unique and distinctive therapies.” 
Through this new Total Cancer Care partnership, researchers will analyze submitted tissue to determine the relationship between the molecular “fingerprints” of patients and their response to specific treatments. This analysis may determine the most effective treatment to improve individual patient status, while reducing side effects.

“Our vision is to integrate new technologies into the standard of care and improved outcomes of all cancer patients by partnering with outstanding healthcare institutions,” said Dr. William Dalton, Moffitt President/CEO and Center Director. “We are also looking forward to collaborating with the physicians to increase access to new and improved therapies for cancer.”