Turning the Latest Cancer Research into Advanced Patient Care

Bringing ground-breaking scientific research from the laboratory bench to cancer patients in the community is a team effort. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, funds basic scientific cancer research. The NCI’s Community Cancer Centers Program helps hospitals nationwide to translate research findings into state-of-the-art cancer care. As a leader in excellent care delivery, clinical research programs, outreach efforts and cancer information systems, The Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital is one of 30 sites (and the first in New England) chosen to participate in this extremely prestigious program.

"We are proud that Hartford Hospital has been selected among only 30 centers in the United States to become an NCI Community Cancer Centers Program," says Andrew Salner, MD, director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital. "This is recognition of our leadership role in cancer care in New England. We’re making a meaningful contribution to advancing cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and research in our community, and teaching other hospitals from our experience."

Sharing the Newest Cancer Treatments, Nationwide

Our work with NCI makes Hartford Hospital an innovator in developing models of the newest cancer care to share with other hospitals. There are six pillars of this work:

  1. Addressing Disparities in Cancer Care and Outcomes:
    We’re developing new and enhanced ways to assist, educate, and better treat the needs of underserved populations—including the elderly, rural, inner-city and low-income patients—as well as racial and ethnic groups with unusually high cancer rates.

  2. Improving Quality of Care:
    Exciting quality of care programs and metrics are under development at The Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center. We’re researching best methods to take a truly multidisciplinary team approach to patient care, embedding our care teams with pathologists, radiologists, researchers, nurses, and dietary and social work staff. Patient treatment teams include their primary care physician, important family members, and a large group of multidisciplinary specialists on their team.
  3. Advancing Clinical Research:
    Hartford Hospital is involved in research related to cancer communications, prevention and detection, and survivorship. Important genetic research is being done to characterize genetic specifics of individual cancers, eventually identifying molecular targets that can treat cancer cells with individualized targeted drugs.

  4. Creating Survivorship Programs:
    We’re helping patients understand how to remain well after their cancer treatment. A treatment summary and comprehensive wellness plan helps patients understand how to monitor their disease moving forward, how to support their health through diet and nutrition, and how to successfully transition back into their lives after cancer treatment.

  5. Contributing to Biospecimen Research:
    Hartford Hospital is a major participant in the current genomics movement in US cancer research participate in research to contribute to genomics movement occurring in the US now. Patients are gratified by their role in helping to forward cancer research, and contributing to the greater good for those who follow.

  6. Advancing Cancer IT:
    The Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center is helping to advance the use of information technology for seamless communications amongst providers and with caregivers. Access to real-time clinical information helps keep physicians informed and prevents unnecessary repeat testing. Data is also tracked in outcomes databases, helping to identify the most effective cancer treatments. An important collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, Madison gives patients access to CHESS, a research-based Internet system of integrated services to help individuals cope with a cancer diagnosis. Its information database and patient forums give patients a sense of empowerment, and improve interactions with their healthcare providers.

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