Awards Celebrate High Enrollment in Cancer Research Clinical Trials

Nicholas Petrelli, M.D.

This month, 19 physicians and nurses were recognized for excellence at the 2023 Cancer Clinical Research Trials Awards Ceremony at ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

“This annual event honors the extraordinary team at the Graham Cancer Center – physicians, research nurses and many others – who enroll and care for patients in cancer clinical trials,” said Nicholas Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America Endowed Medical Director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.

“It’s no secret that this program is recognized by NCI as one of the best in the country for leading-edge clinical trials and for our success in enrolling patients,” Petrelli said.

Last year, 1,739 patients enrolled in approximately 120 clinical trials at the Graham Cancer Center.

That number equates to nearly 30% of cancer patients enrolling in a cancer clinical trial – a rate more than seven times the national average of 4%.

For its high enrollment numbers, the National Cancer Institute recently awarded the Delaware/ChristianaCare National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) the platinum award for “exceptional achievement.”

The success of its research clinical trials program is one of many reasons why the Graham Cancer Center has become a national model for cancer care, prevention and outreach, outpacing the nation in reducing deaths from a number of cancers, including ovarian and colorectal cancer.

People are living longer due to successful cancer treatments generated from past clinical trials.

According to the NCI, cancer clinical trials are the key to making progress against cancer. Here’s how:

  • People are living longer due to successful cancer treatments that are the result of past clinical trials.
  • Through clinical trials, physicians determine whether new treatments are safe and effective and work better than current treatments.
  • Clinical trials help find new ways to prevent and detect cancer and help manage cancer-related symptoms and improve the quality of life for people during and after treatment.
  • Clinical trials also focus on studying the best ways to make these advances available to everyone in our community, and provide underserved populations a chance to participate in breakthrough clinical research.

ChristianaCare’s Cancer Research Program began in 1987.

Andrew Himelstein, M.D., was recognized with the Research Excellence and Service Award.
Andrew Himelstein, M.D., was recognized with the Research Excellence and Service Award.

In January, the Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, once again granted three-year reaccreditation to the Graham Cancer Center.

One of the original National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program sites in the United States, ChristianaCare has received accreditation since 1951.

2023 Cancer Clinical Research Trials Award Winners

Community Excellence in Service – Nora Katurakes, MSN, RN, OCN.

NCI Physician Platinum Accrual Sara Gaveonis, M.D., and Gaurav Shukla, M.D., Ph.D.

NCI Physician Gold AccrualJamil Khatri, M.D.; Nicole Laslett, M.D.; Amy McGhee-Jez, M.D.; Srujitha Murukutla, M.D.; Jason Palopoli, M.D.; Adam Raben, M.D.

NCI Physician Silver Accrual – Nisarg Desai, M.D.; William Lee, M.D.; Gregory Masters, M.D.; Lindsay Romak, M.D.; Ramya Varadarajan, M.D.; Venkateswar Veerapalli, M.D.

NCI Non-Physician Silver AccrualRebecca Barnett, MSN, ACNS, BC.

Research Excellence Top Physician Pharmaceutical AccrualJamal Misleh, M.D.

Research Excellence and ServiceAndrew Himelstein, M.D., FACP.

Michael J. Guarino, M.D., Award – Pam Eppes, MSN, RN, OCN.