LIMA — Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Cancer Center is now affiliated with the Ohio State University James Cancer Research Hospital, a move which representatives from St. Rita’s say will provide local patients with access to innovative research and treatments underway in Columbus.
“By taking that affiliation, we’re able to take some of the newer developments, the clinical trials that are being completed at the James, and assist with them here in Lima,” said Dr. Chris Rhoades, an oncologist with Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Cancer Center. “It offers patients a higher chance to get right into new treatments, new trials that may be of benefit to them.”
“It’s all about keeping patients in Lima, in their local area where their families are at, their support systems are at and their care team is at,” said Paul Clemments, executive director of oncology and medical imaging services for Mercy Health’s Lima and Toledo markets.
Clemments said the affiliation will give St. Rita’s access to multi-disciplinary teams, research, specialists and 200 oncologists who may consults with local physicians.
There are other partnerships on the horizon, Clemments said, like the possibility of partnering with OSU to offer telegentics, or access to geneticists who can test a patient’s genes and find clinical trials or treatments well-suited to that person’s genetic makeup.
The use of DNA in cancer treatment is one of the greatest breakthroughs Rhoades has seen in his 25 years as an oncologist.
“Identifying within the DNA what’s causing the cancer has created the ability to develop targeted therapy, therapy that’s directed at a specific abnormality in the cancer cell,” Rhoades explained. “That’s a huge change. Toxicity is less, efficacy is better. What is developing because of that – we used to say, ‘OK, we’re going to treat this person with breast cancer, we’re going to treat this patient with lung cancer.’
“Everybody got separated into their separate silos of treatment. Now you find a genetic abnormality that is possible in many different types of cancer: Breast, lung, colon, anything. So instead of treating it as a breast cancer treatment, you’re going to treat it as the genetic abnormality. A person with lung cancer could get the same treatment as a person with breast cancer if they have that same genetic abnormality.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.