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National Cancer Institute sends more support to Helen F. Graham Cancer Center for research

Delaware Public Media

Christiana Care Health System is getting a financial boost for its cancer research. 

Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute has won a more than $10.5 million six-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The center is participating in NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). Affiliate programs at Beebe Healthcare and Nanticoke Health Services in Southern Delaware are also part of the program. 

The center’s Medical Director Nicholas Petrelli, M.D. says the new funds will go towards its clinical trials program for the latest advancements in cancer treatment and prevention.  

“Any of the progress we’ve made in the past 40 years in cancer care and prevention has come from clinical trials,” said Petrelli. “The literature has shown that patients get better care on clinical trials. They are followed very strictly. There are strict guidelines for their care and their follow up.”   

Petrelli says separate from its clinical research, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center is researching new cancer treatments including stem cells and gene editing.

“We have several areas of cutting edge research which involves finding a new biomarker in the blood of patients that are being screened for breast cancer, looking at cancer stem cells as a target for treatment in colorectal cancer,” he said.

NCI has been funding cancer research at Christiana Care since 1987. Since then, more than 10,000 Christiana Care patients have taken part in clinical trials.

The Helen F. Graham Cancer Center is one of 32 community cancer centers nationwide to receive the latest NCI grants.

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