‘It’s a game changer,’ New clinical trials coming to Feist-Weiller Cancer Center

‘It’s a game changer,’ New clinical trials coming to Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
Beginning in 2021, ground breaking new cancer trials will begin at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, allowing patients to receive cutting edge care in Northwest Louisiana. (Source: None)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Cancer patients from across Northwest Louisiana — who are receiving treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston — could soon benefit from new trials closer to home.

Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, located on Kings Highway adjacent to Ochner LSU Health Shreveport, will soon begin new clinical trials to treat different kinds of cancer. Normally, these trials would require local patients to travel to Houston for treatment at MD Anderson.

[This] is a very unique opportunity for North Louisiana because we can bring clinical trials which would only otherwise be available in Houston. It is a game-changer, it provides opportunities for people who might not otherwise have the resources to travel.
Dr. Chris Kevil, vice chancellor for research at LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport

These new trials are all thanks to the creation and development of the Cancer Focus Fund, which is committing over $50 million to advance promising cancer therapies.

“Small to midsize pharmaceutical companies often face challenges in conducting effective early-stage clinical studies as a result of a lack of funding, as well as access to oncologists, clinical facilities and eligible patients,” according to a news release from MD Anderson. “Cancer Focus Fund aims to address these unmet needs.”

Previously, Kevil explained patients often traveled outside of Northwest Louisiana to receive this caliber of care, which can quickly become expensive for families short on financial resources.

“We hope this will not only be saving them money with travel expenses but also minimize the amount of time they perhaps off of work or having to stay after from their home city,” Kevil explained. “They can get cutting edge care right here in our own backyard.”

Perhaps more importantly, in Kevil’s opinion, patients will soon remain geographically closer to a support system, which may not have been able to travel to Houston, or elsewhere, to provide vital, loving attention to those on a cancer journey.

“Cancer is such a stressful and debilitating illness that your support network is critical, this allows you to stay home and be around your support network,” Kevil added.

Kevil is optimistic these cutting edge cancer trials will be available for local patients at the beginning of 2021.

“We’re really, really excited about it.”

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