Clinical Trials - Giving Hope to Patients with Cancer, Now and for Years to Come
Judith A. Strobel,
BSN, RN, OCN, CCRP
Robin Osborne, BS
Robin Osborne and Judy Strobel are always looking for new hope for patients with cancer, and one place that starts is with clinical trials.
Osborne and Strobel are clinical research specialists at Owensboro Health’s Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center. They maintain and track the involvement of the center and its patients in clinical trials.
Clinical trials feature new drugs, as well as older drugs that are being used in new ways. Patient outcomes are meticulously recorded and analyzed. Once the study is complete, scientists use that data to decide if the trial was successful.
"Every day, we look at any new patient coming into the cancer center and see if we have any open studies here in the health system. If we don't have any, we reach out to UK to see if they have any relevant studies open," Osborne said.
The process is extremely rigid and rigorous. Every “t” must be crossed and every “i” dotted. There are no exceptions. Clinical trials are very closely monitored and regulated by the federal government, and a study’s results can be thrown out if there are failures in record keeping or procedures.
Owensboro Health’s involvement in clinical trials is also growing, with the health system becoming part of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Research Network. The Markey Cancer Center is one of 70 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers around the country. That means Owensboro Health’s patients will be able to participate in state- and national-level clinical trials.
Strobel added that Owensboro Health’s physicians will then review trials and see if there is going to be a benefit to patients.
“We have a research review committee of physicians that are helping us to pick studies within the scope of the health system’s mission, vision and values,” Strobel said. “We want to make it better for our patients and our doctors, and we want to keep our doctors engaged.”
Osborne said this work makes it an exciting time to be a part of the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.
"What we're doing now is molding the future to be able to offer physicians and patients a wide variety of research studies," Osborne said.