Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., FACS, Bank of America endowed medical director of Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, received the 2014 Clinical Research Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers in recognition of his ground-breaking leadership initiatives promoting and advocating for oncology clinical research. The ACCC presented Dr. Petrelli with the award Oct. 9 at the 31st National Oncology Conference in San Diego.
A nationally recognized expert on colorectal cancer, Dr. Petrelli has led the development of a state-of-the-art clinical oncology care program at the Graham Cancer Center. The center has served as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Cancer Center Program (NCCCP) site and has achieved an impressive accrual rate of 24 percent in NCI-sponsored clinical trials, well above the national rate of 5 percent.
In August 2014 the Graham Cancer Center earned a five-year, $8.2 million grant from NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) to bring leading-edge cancer screenings, prevention, control, treatment, and imaging research trials to more people in the places closest to where they live.
In addition, Dr. Petrelli spearheaded the development of a Tissue Procurement Center with more than 5,000 specimens, catalogued through the NCI’s Cancer Bioinformatics Grid (caBIG/caTissue), which led to $4.6 million funding for participation in the Cancer Genome Atlas Project. Dr. Petrelli also developed the first Delaware statewide High Risk Family Cancer Registry, consisting of 5,640 families with more than 200,000 individuals.
Dr. Petrelli joined Christiana Care as the medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center in August 2001. Previously, he was chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology and director of the Surgical Oncology fellowship training program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He received his medical degree from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans. Following a general surgery residency in San Francisco, he completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Petrelli has authored 323 peer reviewed manuscripts, 35 book chapters and 27 editorials or commentaries. His career has been devoted to the surgical training of young investigators and the development of cancer clinical trials.
In October 2013, Dr. Petrelli received the Order of the First State Award presented by Gov. Jack Markell for his dedication to excellence in serving the community and the state of Delaware.