Joel Kaplan, MD, a hematologist-oncologist at Levine Children's Hospital, is principal investigator for clinical trials on neuroblastoma that began in May 2011. Neuroblastoma, which affects the nervous system, accounts for 15 percent of all pediatric cancer deaths in the United States, and there are no curative therapies for children who suffer relapse. Levine is one of only five trial sites in the country evaluating the feasibility of a new approach that uses individual genetic profiles to guide treatment.
Another physician changing the course of cancer care during 2011 was Asim Amin, MD, PhD, co-director of the Immunotherapy Program at Levine Cancer Institute. Dr. Amin was a principal investigator in the development of a new drug called "ipilimumab," the first new drug for metastatic melanoma to gain Food and Drug Aministration approval in 13 years. The drug offers new hope to many of the 38,000 patients diagnosed with melanoma each year.
Roper Hospital also completed work on a new Cardiac Wellness and Rehabilitation Center during the year. The facility doubled available space, with features including exam rooms, gym equipment, cooking and yoga classes, and monthly cardiac risk factor educational groups. The $4 million Center in Charleston was funded entirely by donations.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare also acquired a new robotic technology that makes surgery for colon cancer less invasive and more precise. The technology utilizes fluorescent imaging that colors healthy tissue green, making it easier to identify tumors and other damaged tissue. Other benefits include lower blood loss, reduced pain and scarring, and shorter inpatient stays. As 2011 drew to a close, Roper St. Francis had booked patients from as far away as Rhode Island to take advantage of the new robotics.
All of these developments at CHS reflect the high-priority of creating value by finding new and better ways to address ongoing medical and business challenges.