A Year Closer to a Cancer-Free World: 2018 at The James

2018 at The James  OSUCCC  James

World-class cancer care, groundbreaking research, cutting-edge collaboration with colleagues across the country—2018 was a big year at The James.

Take a look back at some of our team’s achievements and innovations from the past year as we get ready to take new steps toward a cancer-free world in 2019.

For the third consecutive year, The James earned a Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award® for achieving and sustaining excellence in patient experience.

“This award reflects the high priority we place on patient satisfaction and reaffirms our ability to deliver an exceptional patient experience,” says William Farrar, MD, the interim CEO of The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

We significantly expanded the number of rooms available to our patients this year, bringing the total number of beds at The James to 356. The expansion is part of our ongoing effort to increase the efficiency of care at our facilities.

“The average time in the hospital is about six days now, where back when I first started practicing, it was probably close to 16 to 20 days,” Farrar says.

• Nutritional know-how hit the road in May with the unveiling of our new Mobile Education Kitchen. Far from your average food truck, the unit educates the public about healthy, cancer-preventing foods and recipes through on-location cooking demonstrations.

“It is one thing to tell people how they should eat for optimal health, but teaching them how to cook these foods in a tasty, sustainable way is a very different thing. That is where change happens,” says Jim Warner, the program director of nutrition services at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

• After leading a study into brain tumor biomarkers, our experts reported in June that their research showed that a DNA-level marker called MGMT can help doctors predict survival outcomes for some patients. The study could aid in the improvement of tailored treatments of high-risk, low-grade gliomas.

“Identifying biomarkers is critical for personalizing care and giving patients the best quality of life and chances of longer survival,” says Arnab Chakravarti, MD, Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology and senior author of the study.

• We started 129 clinical trials in 2018, bringing the total number of open trials at The James to more than 900. As of the end of the year, one in four OSUCCC – James patients have participated in a clinical trial—well above the national average.

“Clinical trials move the needle forward. Every drug we use today was once part of a clinical trial, and we’re curing more and more people because of clinical trials,” says Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy, MD, the chairperson of our Clinical Scientific Review Committee.

• In September, The Joint Commission awarded its disease-specific certification to our sickle cell program—the only U.S. sickle cell program to currently hold that designation.

“This is an incredible moment, not just for The James but for the entire sickle cell community. We are proud to break new ground for this disease and set the example nationally to move the field forward,” says Payal Desai, MD, the director of the Ohio State Adult Sickle Cell Program.

• Our team-oriented, tech-focused efforts to increase the knowledge and information available to cancer doctors and researchers around the world continued to grow this year, as our digital pathology program scanned more than 570,000 tumor sections from 50,000 past cases, creating an invaluable digital archive.

In addition, our Total Cancer Care® (TCC) protocol has accrued 46,000 patients since 2014, including 10,000 in the past year.

• Our decade-long partnership with Pelotonia reached new heights in 2018, with riders raising a record $27.4 million, boosting the 10-year total to more than $184 million for research at The James.

“Pelotonia funds allow us to consistently invest in the strongest research ideas. That momentum is critical in our mission of creating a cancer-free world,” says Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

• November brought big news for radiation oncology in central Ohio with the announcement of our collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to build the region’s first proton therapy treatment facility on the Ohio State campus.

“Proton therapy is an exciting new option for localized tumors. It allows us to deliver the highest concentration of treatment directly to cancerous tissue while sparing delicate surrounding tissue,” Chakravarti says.

• Our researchers could play a major role the future of CLL treatment in older adults, announcing in December that an OSUCCC – James study showed a significantly lower rate of disease progression in patients treated with the targeted drug ibrutinib.

“The findings suggest that, when designing trials for CLL in older patients, ibrutinib is the efficacy standard by which other drugs should be measured,” Jennifer A. Woyach, MD, says.