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UVA Named to National ‘100 Great Oncology Programs’ List

For the fifth consecutive year, national healthcare publication Becker’s Hospital Review has named University of Virginia Cancer Center at UVA Medical Center to its list of 100 hospitals and health systems with great oncology programs. UVA is the only health system in Virginia named on Becker’s 2017 list.

“Receiving this honor from Becker’s highlights our efforts both to provide excellent patient care as well as discover research breakthroughs in better understanding and treating cancer,” said Thomas P. Loughran Jr., MD, director of the UVA Cancer Center.

Health systems named to the list “lead the way in oncology expertise, outcomes, research and treatment options,” according to Becker’s.

In honoring UVA, Becker’s cited UVA’s participation in the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN), a national cancer research network seeking to better understand cancer at the molecular level and develop more targeted treatments for patients. Becker’s also noted UVA’s status as a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and that UVA is the only cancer center in Virginia ranked among the top 50 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

“Earning this award takes collaboration from team members throughout UVA Health System, and I thank all of our team members for their dedication to our patients,” said Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, chief executive officer of UVA Medical Center.

Becker’s does not rank the hospitals and health systems named to its list; they are presented in alphabetical order.

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UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in Americaand America's Top Doctors.

About UVA Cancer Center
UVA Cancer Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer and is one of 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers in the U.S. for its work in cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment. UVA Cancer Center provides comprehensive, world-class cancer treatment in an environment of caring for patients across Virginia, led by doctors who have been honored by publications such as Best Doctors in America® and America’s Top Doctors®.

Related items

  • UVA, Bon Secours to Collaborate on Liver Transplant Care

    University of Virginia Health System (UVA) and the Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia will collaboratively care for patients at Bon Secours’ facilities in Richmond and Newport News that may need liver transplants at UVA. The Bon Secours facilities include St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News.

    Under the affiliation agreement, care teams from Bon Secours and UVA will co-manage patients at the Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia with liver disease – including those with advanced cirrhosis and liver cancer – who will be evaluated for a liver transplant.

    “Our goal is to provide patients in the Richmond and Hampton Roads area who have liver disease with convenient, expert care while limiting their travel time,” said Thomas Auer, MD, MHA, chief executive officer of Bon Secours Virginia Medical Group.

    “Through this affiliation, we seek to bring UVA’s expertise to more convenient locations and closer to home for patients throughout the Commonwealth,” said Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, chief executive officer of UVA Medical Center.

    Patients who may be candidates for a liver transplant will receive a preliminary evaluation at a Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia location, followed by a formal transplant evaluation at the UVA Transplant Center. Patients determined to be candidates for a transplant will receive ongoing disease management and care from teams at the Bon Secours Liver Institute of Virginia, returning to UVA periodically throughout their time on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waitlist.

    “During this pre-transplant period, patients can largely remain in their home community and receive coordinated, well-managed care from Bon Secours and UVA to prepare them for a transplant,” said Mitchell Shiffman, MD, medical director of Bon Secours Liver Institute.

    Following transplant surgeries at the UVA Transplant Center, patients alternate follow-up visits between UVA and Bon Secours, with care coordinated between the two institutions. Depending on the progress of the patient’s recovery, these visits may be formally transferred to Bon Secours within a short timeframe following transplant. UVA clinicians remain engaged with the patient’s care and are available as needed.

    “Following the transplant, we will work closely with our colleagues at Bon Secours to monitor and assist patients as they recover and get back to their regular routines,” said Daniel Maluf, MD, director of living donor transplantation at UVA.

    “We believe this collaboration will enable patients to receive high-quality care in a more streamlined way,” said Shawn Pelletier, MD, director of liver transplantation at UVA.

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    UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in Americaand America's Top Doctors.

  • UVA Honored as Center of Excellence for Bone Marrow Cancer

    University of Virginia Cancer Center has earned recognition as a national center of excellence for its care of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a cancer of the bone marrow that often leads to leukemia.

    UVA is the only center in Virginia to receive this designation from the MDS Foundation for the treatment of this condition, which UVA hematologist Michael Keng, MD, said is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure” disorder.

    Bone marrow produces stem cells that make white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. In patients with MDS, the marrow does not produce enough healthy cells. When there are not enough healthy cells, there is an increased risk of infection, bleeding, easy bruising and anemia. Approximately 30 percent of patients diagnosed with MDS will progress to a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia.

    According to the MDS Foundation website, centers of excellence have:

    • An established MDS program
    • Recognized expertise in understanding the form and structure of MDS
    • Expertise in how genes and chromosomes impact MDS
    • Ongoing research, including clinical trials
    • Researchers that have published peer-reviewed articles on MDS

    UVA provides tailored care for each MDS patient through a multidisciplinary team. UVA’s care team includes medical oncologists/hematologists, pharmacists, care coordinators, nurses, infectious diseases specialists, clinical trial coordinators, and support services such as social workers, case workers, and therapists.

    “UVA is devoted to providing support, research, treatment and education around MDS to all patients, caregivers, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers,” Keng said.

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    UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America's Top Doctors.

    About UVA Cancer Center
    UVA Cancer Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer and is one of 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers in the U.S. for its work in cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment. UVA Cancer Center provides comprehensive, world-class cancer treatment in an environment of caring for patients across Virginia, led by doctors who have been honored by publications such as Best Doctors in America® and America’s Top Doctors®.

  • UVA, Inova Award Research Seed Funding Grants to Joint Research Teams

    The Inova Health System (Inova) and the University of Virginia (UVA) announced today that they have awarded $450,000 to nine UVA-Inova joint research teams for projects focused on how to better predict, prevent and treat disease. In the fall of 2016, Inova and UVA announced a comprehensive research and education partnership to accelerate joint discovery and the application of translational medical research.  The seed grant awards mark the first of many joint research collaborations. UVA’s Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia, which facilitates translational health research across UVA, and Inova’s Translational Medicine Institute, are helping support these research projects.

    This seed funding will help launch projects with broad impact, improving the health of people of all ages and states of health. The goal is to develop research data that can then be used to seek outside funding to continue the research and apply the learnings to improve patient outcomes. Research projects funded through the program include:

    • Learning how the gut microbiome – the bacteria that live inside us – may influence early childhood obesity.
    • Identifying and studying potential three-drug combinations to treat ovarian cancer.
    • Confirming a biomarker that may predict patients at high risk for heart disease.
    • Determining whether a mindfulness-based stress reduction program to prevent excess weight gain in obese pregnant women improves outcomes for mothers and babies.
    • Determining the impact of how babies are fed on their growth and the development of their gut microbiome.
    • Examining the gut microbiome of pediatric leukemia patients and how it may make them more susceptible to childhood obesity.
    • Seeking to identify gene variations that could identify patients at risk for heart failure.
    • Learning how dying cells and proteins may impact diseases that affect an individual’s metabolism.
    • Studying a new class of circular DNA – microDNA – along with microdeletions and how they manifest in men and women.

    “It’s exciting to see the first fruits of our partnership in the funding of exciting and promising translational medical research,” said Todd Stottlemyer, CEO, Inova Center for Personalized Health. “We have intentionally chosen projects that will benefit greatly from combining our individual knowledge and resources.”

    “We are excited to bring together researchers from UVA and Inova to work collaboratively on these projects that can help improve the lives of patients across Virginia and beyond,” said David S. Wilkes, MD, dean of the UVA School of Medicine.

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    About Inova
    Inova is a global leader in personalized health, which leverages precision medicine together with more patient-centric services to predict, prevent and treat disease, enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. At Inova, we serve more than 2 million people each year from throughout the Washington, DC, metro area and beyond.

    We are shaping the future of health through our integrated network of hospitals, primary and specialty care practices, emergency and urgent care centers, outpatient services and destination institutes.  Our commitment to health and wellness is further reflected in our sustainable practices. Inova is home to world-class researchers, expert medical specialists and renowned scientists, who are driving innovation to improve patient care, prevent disease and promote wellness. For more information, visit inova.org, or find Inova on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

    About the University of Virginia

    The University of Virginia is distinctive among public institutions of higher education. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University continues in its mission to develop tomorrow’s leaders who are well prepared to help shape the future of the nation and the world. The University is highly selective, accepting only the best students and those who show the exceptional promise Jefferson envisioned.

    The University of Virginia is made up of eleven schools in Charlottesville plus the College at Wise in Southwest Virginia.

    For 2017, the University was ranked the No. 2 best public university by U.S. News and World Report. In the 18 years since U.S. News began ranking public universities as a separate category, UVA has ranked in the top three and continues to rank in the Top 30 among the best of all national universities, public and private.

  • UVA’s Excellence in Cancer Nets $15 Million Grant

     University of Virginia Cancer Center has again been honored as one of just 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers for its work researching new and better cancer treatments.

    “The NCI-designated cancer centers are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research in basic, clinical, and/or population science,” according to the NCI’s website. “The cancer centers develop and translate scientific knowledge from promising laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients.”

    Renewal as an NCI-designated cancer center includes a five-year, $15 million grant to support research, recruitment of faculty, education and clinical trials. The previous five-year grant from NCI helped UVA recruit 10 new researchers as well as provide seed funding to launch new research projects that were then able to earn additional grant money from external sources.

    UVA Cancer Center was re-designated by NCI after submitting a 1,200-page application highlighting its work over the past five years and its plans for the next five. NCI also conducted a daylong site visit where 20 reviewers from NCI and other cancer centers reviewed UVA’s work and plans.

    In the coming years, the UVA Cancer Center team – which encompasses more than 180 researchers from 22 academic departments – will seek to expand its research enterprise. UVA’s goal is to become an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, which recognize cancer centers with a wider array of multidisciplinary research.

    “The successful renewal is the result of the efforts of multiple teams working together. This is a tremendous testament to our ability to work collaboratively across multiple clinical, administrative and educational departments,” said Thomas P. Loughran Jr., MD, director of UVA Cancer Center. “It is an honor to lead such a vibrant and dynamic center, and we will continue to build the framework needed to achieve our vision of becoming a Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

    ####

    UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America's Top Doctors.

    About UVA Cancer Center
    UVA Cancer Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer and is one of 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers in the U.S. for its work in cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment. UVA Cancer Center provides comprehensive, world-class cancer treatment in an environment of caring for patients across Virginia, led by doctors who have been honored by publications such as Best Doctors in America® and America’s Top Doctors®.

  • The Unseen Cancer Crisis

    Rural Appalachia has gone from having the lowest cancer death rate in the country to the highest – and that’s just part of a growing cancer crisis in the region, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicinesuggests. Rural Appalachia has seen disturbing trends across the continuum of cancer care, from screening to diagnosis to treatment, survival and mortality, even as the rest of the country makes major strides in the battle against the disease.

    “Look at the war on poverty that President Johnson declared decades ago. We lost that war. We didn’t fix the poverty issue in rural Appalachia, and [the residents there] have really, really bad cancer outcomes,” said researcher Nengliang (Aaron) Yao, PhD, of the School of Medicine and the UVA Cancer Center. “We lost the war on poverty, and we’re not doing much to battle the healthcare disparities in rural Appalachia. Because we can see it from our results: It’s getting worse.”

    In a new scientific paper outlining their findings, the researchers label the disparities “pervasive” and call for a “systematic effort … to reduce the burden of cancer for rural Appalachia.”

    Troubling Trends

    Yao and other researchers in UVA’s Department of Public Health Sciences examined decades of data obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics. Some of their findings:

    • Between 1969 and 2011, cancer incidence declined in every region of the country except rural Appalachia, where it increased.
    • During that time, rural Appalachia went from having the lowest cancer death rate in the country to the highest.
    • Cancer mortality rates during 2007-11 were 14.7 percent higher in the rural Appalachian counties in Virginia than in non-Appalachian urban areas in the rest of the country. In the rural Appalachian areas of Kentucky, mortality rates were 36 percent higher.
    • Rural residents in every other state in the Appalachian region, except for Maryland, had higher mortality rates than their urban counterparts.
    • Breast cancer is less likely to be caught early in rural Appalachia than elsewhere.
    • People in Appalachia are more likely to die within three to five years of their cancer diagnoses than people in urban areas outside Appalachia.

    “Almost 40 percent more cancer mortalities [in rural Kentucky] than in the other United States,” Yao said. “I think that’s crazy.”

    Challenges to Care

    While the new study focuses on cancer trends, it also discusses some of the contributing factors. Yao observed that there are many economic, geographic and political challenges that stand in the way of providing quality cancer care to rural Appalachia.

    “They don’t use a lot of healthcare. It means they don’t spend a lot of CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] money, and if you don’t spend, you won’t be considered high-cost patients,” Yao said. “If you’re not high-cost patients, it is hard to draw attentions from policymakers and payers.”

    He noted that Appalachia is a beautiful place, rich with opportunity but plagued with poverty. Its people tend to be fiercely independent, to their detriment in this instance, he said. “It’s very invisible. You don’t hear their voices, right? They kind of represent the old days of America,” he said. “That’s the ideology of America: self-sufficient and independent. Those are their American values. They don’t complain, so that’s why you don’t hear it.”

    Access Issues

    Another perpetual challenge in Appalachia is access to healthcare providers.  Because of the relatively low population numbers, travel times and distances can be significant – a particular obstacle for people with limited transportation options. “If they don’t come to a comprehensive center, they just get treatment in their local hospitals,” Yao said. “But the literature has shown, if you get treatment at a comprehensive cancer center, you get better outcomes.”

    Combine that with widespread poverty throughout the reason, and you have the recipe for late diagnosis and higher death rates. “When we look at treatment, their three-year survival rates and the five-year survival rates are not doing as well as the majority of Americans,” Yao said. “Even if we limit it to the same stage, say the early stage, the people in Appalachia are still doing worse.”

    He noted there are other factors at play as well. “It’s not just healthcare. It’s not just the healthcare delivery system. There’s lifestyle stuff related to their economy,” such as widespread obesity and high smoking rates, Yao said. “Not only can we do something about their healthcare, maybe we can also improve their local economy by inviting foreign manufacturers to invest in beautiful rural Appalachia.”

    Findings Published

    The findings have been published in the Journal of Rural Health. The article was written by Yao; Héctor E. Alcalá, PhD; Roger Anderson, PhD; and Rajesh Balkrishnan, PhD.

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    UVA Health System is an academic health system that includes a 612-bed hospital, the UVA School of Medicine, a level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia. UVA is recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and America's Top Doctors.

    About UVA Cancer Center
    UVA Cancer Center is accredited by the Commission on Cancer and is one of 68 National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers in the U.S. for its work in cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment. UVA Cancer Center provides comprehensive, world-class cancer treatment in an environment of caring for patients across Virginia, led by doctors who have been honored by publications such as Best Doctors in America® and America’s Top Doctors®.

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