Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Lifespan leadership are creating a strategic alliance to advance cancer treatment and research. The new agreement, signed March 21, 2017, will support the expansion of clinical trials, offer access for Lifespan physicians to cancer-specific disease expertise for complex cases, and create a program to coordinate the treatment of bone marrow transplant patients, with transplants provided in Boston at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and care surrounding the transplant in Rhode Island at Lifespan. The two organizations already share patient information through their respective cancer-specific electronic health record systems and will use the same clinical trials management platform, resulting in better care coordination.
“Ensuring that patients, no matter where they live, get the best cancer care possible is at the core of Dana-Farber’s mission,” said Laurie Glimcher, MD, president and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “It is a goal we share with Lifespan, and we are excited about the opportunities this relationship will provide for the people of Rhode Island and beyond.”
A top priority of Dana-Farber and Lifespan Cancer Institute’s work together is to offer the latest and most advanced clinical trials to patients in Rhode Island. While many of these trials will be developed at and provided by Dana-Farber, there will also be opportunities for clinical trials developed at the Lifespan Cancer Institute to be offered to Dana-Farber patients. Increasing access to diverse patient populations is a common research goal to help accelerate the development of new therapies.
“Lifespan Cancer Institute’s patients will continue to receive excellent cancer care in Rhode Island, but patients with rare and more complex cancers will benefit from seamless referrals and coordination of care with Dana-Farber. The new agreement gives us the ability to offer the latest and most cutting-edge clinical trials to patients from Rhode Island and surrounding areas. Successful cancer programs and new discovery depend on access to large populations of patients,” said Timothy Babineau, MD, president and CEO of Lifespan. “We are proud to be working with one of the leading cancer centers in the United States.”
“Clinical trials are essential to improving care, and they can offer great benefits to patients,” said Eric Winer, MD, chief strategy officer and chief of the Division of Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “This alliance will mean more clinical trials will be available through the Lifespan Cancer Institute in Rhode Island. In addition, access to Dana-Farber in Boston for complex care will be seamless. Our breast cancer physicians from the two organizations have been meeting and we are very excited about ways we can collaborate to assure patients access to the latest treatments.”
The most promising cancer treatments and research are in the areas of immunotherapy and targeted treatments, fields where Dana-Farber has been a pioneer. “By combining the skills of our doctors with the power of cutting-edge science, we are well-positioned to not only bring cancer care in Rhode Island to the next level but help push treatment breakthroughs that have global implications,” said David Wazer, MD, director of the Lifespan Cancer Institute.
Howard Safran, MD, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, at the Lifespan Cancer Institute said, “Our physicians look forward to collaborating with disease site experts at Dana-Farber and we have already started to hold meetings.”
An immediate benefit to the agreement is offering Lifespan patients a bone marrow transplant program with local coordination and care seamlessly tied into Dana-Farber. “Dana-Farber has one of the largest and most respected bone marrow transplant programs in the world. With this new alliance, Lifespan patients will be offered the opportunity to have their transplants at Dana-Farber with coordinated post-care provided close to their homes by Lifespan physicians,” said Safran.
Other areas to be explored include genomics and precision medicine, cancer disparities, innovation in the delivery of cancer care, and potential synergies in basic research. The two organizations have collaborated on a multi-site grant application for genomics with a health disparities component.