Health studies such as clinical trials allow participants to help discover new medical knowledge, and in many cases patients are personally helped by the treatments to which they have access.
Kaiser Permanente offers members diagnosed with cancer the opportunity to participate in important research and clinical trials. Kaiser Permanente has been conducting oncology trials since 1972.
“Kaiser Permanente has our own research center and we have access to one of the largest databases of medical records in the world,” says Michelle Jones, senior clinical researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland. “In fact, Kaiser Permanente is part of one of the largest clinical cancer research groups in the country.”
When Kaiser Permanente members are diagnosed with cancer, they have immediate access to an integrated team of oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurse navigators and other specialists. Thanks to the Kaiser Permanente Health Research Center, cancer patients also have access to extensive clinical research and trials.
“We constantly have access to new technologies that allow us to innovate and find more ways to help patients with their unique needs,” says Jones.
Among women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 30% have a previous diagnosis of benign breast disease (BBD), making it a promising front for research to help understand the factors that cause BBD to escalate. . Three studies whose results were published in 2021 and conducted by doctors and researchers at Kaiser Permanente looked at BBD.
One study, led by Kaiser Permanente researcher Dr. Sheila Weinmann, examined the role of immune infiltrating cell count (IICC) in a cohort of 15,395 women biopsied for BBD. Immune cells are cells that are part of the immune system and help the body fight disease and infection. IICCs are immune cells that have moved from the blood to a tumor, where they can recognize and kill cancer cells. Weinmann’s research concluded that IICCs in BBD tissues are not associated with an increased risk of subsequent invasive breast cancer.
A second study led by award-winning Kaiser Permanente researcher Erin Bowles looked at the risk factors of women diagnosed with BBD later developing invasive breast cancer. His research determined that a certain identifiable feature of the BBD biopsy was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, a finding that sheds new light on risk factors and treatment for breast cancer.
Three Kaiser Permanente researchers – Dr Andrew G. Glass, who founded the Kaiser Permanente Northwest Oncology Department, Teresa M. Kimes and Dr Kathryn Richert-Boe – examined 514 cases of invasive breast cancer and 514 matched controls to determine that there are risks that can result in tumors that develop after a diagnosis of BBD. Among this group, tumors that followed a diagnosis of BBD were highly treatable.
In addition to these three cancer research studies, Kaiser Permanente Northwest is one of the top five recruiting sites in the United States in an ongoing national breast cancer clinical trial where they hope to find out whether the usual chemotherapy administered before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) for breast cancer plus an investigational drug, aezolizumab, is better than usual chemotherapy plus a placebo. *
Kaiser Permanente’s highly experienced oncology staff, participation in clinical research and access to leading clinical trials provide members with cutting-edge cancer treatment. “While each case fits certain parameters that cancer researchers have already seen, each case is also unique, as each case represents an individual person with unique needs and treatment options,” Jones explains. “Clinical trials and research help us provide each patient with the best and most personalized treatment options available and we are proud that Kaiser Permanente can offer our patients this full range of services. “
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