Oncology Program Launches Effort to Expand Clinical Research Options

September 3, 2020

Vanessa Hill

Wilson Medical Center's Oncology Program has launched an effort to expand clinical research options for cancer patients in the Wilson community. 

As part of the WMC cancer affiliation with Duke Health, key members of the WMC leadership team, along with Regional Medical Oncology Center led by Dr. Keith Lerro, are taking steps towards establishing a clinical research program. Clinical research creates the science behind advances in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Research studies answer specific scientific questions about cancer care. There are strict rules and regulations in place for every clinical research study to protect the rights and welfare of individuals that choose to participate. Every person who participates in a clinical research study must volunteer to participate and be fully informed about the details of the study. In addition, all participants can choose to stop participating at any time. The results of clinical research influence new ways to improve the care that patients receive. Without research, advancements in medicine could not be achieved.  

In May, the first Duke clinical research study for cancer patients was opened to participation at WMC in collaboration with Regional Medical Oncology Center.  This study, known as the iHEAL study, Improving Health Engagement and Lifestyle Management for Breast Cancer Survivors with Diabetes, is led by Dr. Rebecca Shelby, Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke Health. Dr. Shelby and her colleagues at Duke Health are trying to answer the question of how best to support the health and wellbeing of women with diabetes who have had breast cancer. These women are at higher risk of serious health complications and the study hopes to define ways to decrease that risk. More information about this study can be found at Clinicaltrials.gov .

Dr. Linda Sutton, Medical Director of the Duke Cancer Network, says that ‘The iHeal trial is just the first, in what we hope will be many clinical trials open to patients with different types of cancer right here in the Wilson community. WMC is working hard to create a clinical research program that will expand treatment options for those who might otherwise would have to travel elsewhere to get care for cancer.”

For more information on Clinical Research in the WMC Oncology Program, contact Courtney Harlow, Director of Oncology Services at Wilson Medical Center, at 252-399-8741.

Vanessa M. Hill, MSHS, CCRC, CIP is the Director of Clinical Research at Duke Cancer Network, part of Duke University Health System.