SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – New opportunities to fight cancer and help local patients are coming to LSU Health Shreveport with an initiative that brings funding to the experts.
MD Anderson and the Cancer Focus Fund are investing in cancer research and therapies at LSU Health Shreveport. Vice Chancellor of Research for LSUHS said it will allow for more types of cancer drugs to be studied and administered here locally.
“This represents a very unique opportunity to advance cancer research but more importantly bring clinical trials that are really critical for advanced cancer care that would only be done at MD Anderson now to Shreveport,” Dr. Kevil said.
“The Cancer Focus Fund is a unique investment fund that aligns the scientific and clinical expertise of MD Anderson with business experts, public financing entities and private venture capital to propel promising cancer therapies toward pivotal trials,” said Ross Barrett, a founder and Managing Partner of Cancer Focus Fund.
Dr. Kevil said it will focus on a wide range early clinical trials involving phase one or phase two trials. The types of cancer drugs may be chemical related to chemotherapy and more advanced treatments.
“Some of them may be biologicals which would be things like proteins, RNA type of molecular based drugs. Then some other drugs may be cellular based. T cell therapy of CAR T-cell therapy. It may involve things like that. Or ways to combine chemotherapy agents with CAR T-cell therapy to make them more effective treatments,” Kevil said.
It will help cancer patients in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana who are often faced with the challenge of having to travel to MD Anderson in Houston for clinical trials.
“Oftentimes it’s every expensive and people may not be able to stay in Houston for an extended amount of time. The idea is to now bring that opportunity up here to Shreveport,” Kevil said.
He said the research will also focus on cancers that have a higher rate in Louisiana such as lung, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers.
“Louisiana has a high cancer rate unfortunately and we have certain types of cancers that afflict us in Louisiana more than others. So it will be those kinds of cancers that we want to bring new therapeutics and opportunities for,” Kevil said.
With cancer research expanding in Shreveport it will also mean more opportunities for education at the medical school and job growth in the area.
The planning process is underway and they hope to start the first clinical trail at the beginning of the new year.