OSUCCC, Cincinnati Children's Cancer Programs Form Research Collaboration

Monday, August 29, 2005

A new affiliation agreement between The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center will stimulate novel research in cancer that will benefit pediatric and adult patients nationwide, say leaders at both institutions.

Under the terms of the affiliation agreement, the newly established Ohio State University / Cincinnati Children's Cancer Consortium will focus on enhancing development of translational research -- basic science that can be readily transformed into actual patient treatments.

The National Cancer Institute has designated The Ohio State University a comprehensive cancer center, meaning its research programs in cancer control, detection, diagnosis and treatment are broad and robust enough to merit inclusion on a list of only 39 such institutions around the country. The new affiliation will enable OSUCCC to gain enormously from Cincinnati Children's established expertise in gene therapy and novel cell treatments in pediatric cancers. At the same time, Cincinnati Children's will gain access to novel adult cancer treatments at OSUCCC that may be appropriate for children and young adults.

As the collaboration matures, it is expected to generate enhanced educational and clinical opportunities for medical students and faculty seeking an energetic and productive cancer research program and increased cancer funding.

Both partners acknowledge rich sources of research talent in their immediate metropolitan areas, but add that this particular collaboration will enable both institutions to take advantage of specific, complementary expertise at both sites that will advance emerging research initiatives and solidify collaborations that are already under way.

"This is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved," says Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, senior vice president and executive dean for health sciences, dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health, and CEO of OSU Medical Center. "We believe it will maximize our respective research strengths and forge new thinking and discoveries that will ultimately benefit patients of all ages throughout the world."

"This agreement with one of the top NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation provides assurance for families who come to Cincinnati Children's for pediatric cancer care that they will receive the best and most innovative therapies," says David Williams, MD, PhD, director of Experimental Hematology at Cincinnati Children's. "Our long-term goal is to be the leader in innovation in cancer therapies for children by taking advantage of the expertise in basic science and novel adult cancer therapeutics developed for adults with cancer at OSUCCC and leveraging these resources with our established, recognized programs in pediatric cancer therapeutics and gene and cell therapy. We believe this approach is exactly what the National Cancer Institute is looking for, with respect to regional collaboration among academic institutions."

Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, will direct the Ohio State University / Cincinnati Children's Cancer Consortium; Williams will be the co-director. Caligiuri, an expert in immunology and hematologic malignancies, is especially interested in the expertise Williams and his team bring to gene therapy, as well as Cincinnati Children's world-class gene therapy facility.

Caligiuri says collaborative work is already in progress. "Researchers are working on a gene therapy trial for brain tumors, and we're also planning a similar trial in patients with esophageal cancer. Here at OSUCCC, we have a number of first-in-human therapies ongoing in adult patients with leukemia, and we're going to be working quickly to adapt these for study in children with incurable cancer."

Scientists from both institutions will constitute an institutional planning committee and a scientific steering committee that will oversee the Consortium's research program.

"This affiliation is expected over time to benefit all cancer related research and cancer care, both child and adult, in Cincinnati by maximizing the use of shared resources," adds Tom Boat, MD, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Boat also directs the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute is one of the nation's leading centers for research on the prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The OSUCCC-James encompasses six interdisciplinary research programs and includes more than 200 cancer investigators located at OSU and Columbus Children's Hospital who generate more than $100 million annually in external funding. OSU James, a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best hospitals for cancer care.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of the nation's leading pediatric medical centers. It ranks second nationally in research grant direct costs from the National Institutes of Health and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the fourth best pediatric teaching program among medical schools in the nation. It is a teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, Cincinnati Children's, jim.feuer@cchmc.org, 513-636-4656

Michelle Gailiun, OSU Medical Center Communications, Gailiun.1@osu.edu, 614-293-3737