Affiliation Allows Cancer Patients to Participate in Nationwide Studies without Leaving El Paso

An affiliation between Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (SOM) and the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), one of the largest National Cancer Institute-supported cancer clinical trials cooperative groups, will allow cancer patients living in El Paso to participate in nationwide studies without leaving town.   SWOG is funded largely by research grants from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.  The group conducts clinical trials to prevent and treat cancer in adults, and to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors.

“TTUHSC Paul L. Foster SOM can now provide patients access to any cancer clinical trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute,” said Jose Manuel de la Rosa, M.D., founding dean, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.  “These trials are usually high impact, large multicenter randomized phase III trials.  The affiliation means that patients will now have access to any cancer clinical trial sponsored by the National Cancer Institute without having to leaving El Paso.   Initial trials at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine will focus on breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.”  Zeina Nahleh, M.D., F.A.C.P., associate professor and chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine and co-medical director of the University Breast Care Center, was instrumental in securing the affiliation. “This is great news - and a major effort for this to be accomplished within the five months since Dr. Nahleh arrived,” said Richard McCallum, M.D., chair, Department of Internal Medicine. “This was one goal of her recruitment.  She has exceeded our expectations.”

Dr. Nahleh is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of breast cancer, having authored over fifty scientific documents in the peer reviewed literature, She has served on the Board of Govenors of SWOG, and is currently a National Principal Investigator for SWOG, leading a nationwide study for the treatment of Locally Advanced and Inflammatory Breast cancer, and serves on two National Cancer Institute National Committees.

During the last 25 years, more than 170,000 patients participated in clinical trials sponsored by SWOG, while millions more have received improved care as new standards of treatment or prevention are developed as result of studies conducted by SWOG and its’ affiliates.

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