Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care, has been appointed to the newly created position of Associate Director for Translational Research at the Wistar Institute Cancer Center.
Dr. Petrelli’s primary focus continues to be the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, which he has led for nine years.
“This appointment is simply a continuation of the translational research that occurs at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and will speed up our collaborative research projects with the Wistar Institute,” Dr. Petrelli said. “It solidifies our agreement with Wistar.”
“We cannot think of a better and more meritorious colleague to fulfill this critical role in support of our research programs,” said Dario C. Altieri, M.D., Wistar’s chief scientific officer and director, in announcing the appointment. “Dr. Petrelli is a seasoned, highly accomplished and extremely well-respected clinical investigator with a long history of grant funding from the National Cancer Institute.”
Under Dr. Petrelli’s leadership, The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center has developed a state-of-the-art clinical oncology care program. The center has been selected by the NCI as a Community Cancer Center Program and has achieved an impressive accrual rate of 24 percent in NCI-sponsored clinical trials, far above the national rate of 4 percent.
Those successes are translating into better health for the people of Delaware. Formerly first in the nation for rates of cancer incidence and mortality, Delaware now ranks 4th in cancer incidence and 12th in mortality. Rates for cancer mortality in Delaware are dropping faster than anywhere else in the country, at twice the national rate.
“At the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center we have outstanding clinicians who are committed to translational and clinical research,” Dr. Petrelli said.
Dr. Petrelli will play a pivotal role in facilitating collaborations between Christiana Care and Wistar, focusing on translational oncology research in melanomas, as well as cancers of the lung, prostate, and pancreas.
The partnership established in August between the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Philadelphia-based Wistar will leverage the strengths of both institutions to benefit patients in the region with the very latest in cancer research.