Advancing Cancer Care with Clinical Trials

Korean woman with cancer smiles at doctor

Today, about 40 percent of U.S. men and women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society.

With advances in cancer treatments and a surge in clinical trials worldwide providing key research and tactics for treating cancer, survival rates continue to improve. In fact, in the last three decades, cancer deaths have declined 27 percent in the United States, due to a reduction in smoking, as well as improvements in early detection and treatments.

Riverside Health System is committed to helping more and more patients survive cancer through its dedication to clinical trial research.

“We believe in state-of-the-art care in oncology,” says Alexander Starodub, M.D., medical oncologist with Riverside. “One way to deliver that is to provide patients access to new exciting options that are not yet approved by the FDA but may become important tools in the future.”

During clinical trials, patients volunteer to help doctors and researchers discover better ways to prevent, treat or diagnose diseases.

At Riverside, cancer trials are coordinated through the Peninsula Cancer Institute, a comprehensive cancer treatment network with multiple locations in southeastern Virginia, including Newport News, Williamsburg, Gloucester, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Eastern Shore and Tappahannock.

Global approach

Riverside is part of a global effort to improve cancer treatment for everyone. Research today will impact outcomes for future patients who may be diagnosed years from now, Dr. Starodub says.

“We want to improve oncology care across the board for the community at large,” Dr. Starodub says. “We want to find better treatments that will affect not only current patients but future patients and improve survival from cancer for generations to come.”

Many patients are not just motivated to participate in trials for themselves, but for their own families, with the desire that they have better outcomes if they are diagnosed with cancer later, he says.

Clinical trials at Riverside

Riverside currently offers clinical trials for these cancer diagnoses:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Gall bladder/bile duct
  • Lung
  • Prostate
  • Stomach

One clinical trial at Riverside focuses on immunotherapy treatments, which use the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. Riverside is one of only five institutions in the United States with access to this study where we’re looking at removing mature bone marrow cells that protect cancer from immune system attacks.

Riverside physicians and researchers are also participating in a groundbreaking study for cholangiocarcinoma, cancer that forms in bile ducts. We’re the only center in the mid-Atlantic region with access to this study and have seen several cholangiocarcinoma patients respond well to the treatment.

Our clinical research team guides our decisions about clinical trials. Here’s an up-to-date list of the clinical trials at Riverside.


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