Dr. Jacob Thomas, a physician and clinical investigator with Newport Beach, CA’s Hoag Hospital, recently penned a commentary in the Los Angeles Times on the importance of clinical trials to help advance both the present and future of medicine. Working at the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, Dr. Thomas is witnessing firsthand a “remarkable evolution in medicine.” From “reprogramming patients’ immune systems” with immunotherapy to directly injecting chemotherapy into tumors to state-of-the-art genomic testing of tumors for more precise treatment Hoag Hospital is at the forefront of the clinical trial community health wave.

The Setting: Paradise in Southern California

Newport Beach California could be considered one of the most beautiful spots in the United States if not the world. A stunningly beautiful beachfront community in Southern California’s Orange County, its’ combination of sunshine, water, beautiful beaches, palm tree-lined streets and boulevards not to mention yacht harbors and sailboats and friendly people brings a smile to most who pass by.

Forever I am Grateful to Hoag Hospital

Hoag Hospital is a great institution. This author can attest to this as it was instrumental in saving a family member from an extreme emergency situation—forever I will be grateful for Hoag Hospital. From the emergency room response to the acute care to the recovery, Hoag truly stands behind its mission “as a nonprofit, faith-based hospital to provide the highest quality health care services to the communities we serve.”

Hoag Family Cancer Institute

The Hoag Family Cancer Institute is one of the largest cancer programs in Southern California outside of Los Angeles County and is Orange County’s leading provider of radiation therapy and cancer care treating over 4,000 new patients annually. To further expand specialized care for their patients, Hoag Family Cancer Institute formed an alliance with the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, offering access to more specialized physicians and clinical research. They are on a mission to conquer cancer.

Clinical Trials

Hoag runs a comprehensive clinical trials program. The Hoag Family Cancer Institute offers comprehensive clinical trials for all solid tumor cancers. They offer access to early phase clinical trials (Phase I and Phase II) bringing new drug therapies to the community—unlike any other community hospital in Orange County. See the link for more on their Early Development Clinical Trials

Dr. Jacob Thomas

We recommend reading Dr. Thomas’ editorial in the Los Angeles Times as to how the clinical trial wave is transforming the lives of Southern California residents.

Dr. Thomas represents the future today—he recently started his practice in 2018 after earning his MD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Residency at University of California, Los Angeles (internal medicine) and oncology Fellowships at University of Southern California, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Fresh, pragmatic, dedicated and ready to bring the clinical trials to wave to the community to not only identify the therapies of tomorrow but to save lives today. He is part of the wave of bringing new, targeted studies to the community for “home runs” at much earlier phases in clinical trials. 

Larotrectinib hits the Southern California Shore

Dr. Thomas offers the Southern California reader a recent example of how today’s clinical trials lead to FDA approval faster than in the past. Why? By offering targeted and better-designed drugs the success can be achieved far earlier than in the past.

Take the FDA accelerated approval of larotrectinib (developed by Array Biopharma) a cancer treatment for specific genomic features. Clinical trials evidenced a 75% overall response rate across a range of solid tumors. Other cancers treated by larotrectinib, reported the Los Angeles Times, included soft tissue sarcoma, salivary gland cancer, infantile fibrosarcoma, thyroid cancer, and lung cancer.

Clinical Research as a Care Option at Hoag: Deborah McCartney

With Stage 4 cancer aggressively expanding to the brain, lungs and lymph nodes, Ms. McCartney entered the clinical trial at Hoag because she wanted access to the most advanced, modern medicine possible. Deborah wanted more than the Standard treatment—she wanted the most advanced.

Deborah entered into a quality, patient safety and performance-driven culture at Hoag Hospital. Essentially a care team, the clinical research program included clinical research director, program manager, clinical research nurses and coordinators not to mention the principal investigator.

Ever Growing Portfolio of Trials at Hoag

Traditionally surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy were the only cancer treatment options. Now with an ever-growing array of advanced clinical trial available at Hoag, Dr. Thomas notes “we are now entering an era that is more focus and sophisticated.” He continued “In the coming years, precision medicine, immunotherapy, and injectable therapies will take over where standard treatments have left off. We will have a tighter grip on cancer, a smarter approach to treatment and better, longer-lasting results.”

Call to Action: If you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer and you live near the Orange County region in Southern California we strongly recommend looking into Hoag Family Cancer Institute. If you represent a sponsor or CRO and run cancer studies in Southern California (or plan to do so) Hoag may be a partner to consider.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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