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Multi-institutional collaborations are taking research from lab bench to the patient’s bedside

As a 20-year-old college student, Gina Cortese was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer called giant cell glioblastoma. After intense radiation and chemotherapy through doctors affiliated with the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, she is cancer-free—and ready to start her career helping patients.

Cleveland’s title as a “medical capital” may be recent, but the region has reaped its benefits for decades.

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, for example, earned its first formal recognition from the National Cancer Institute in 1987. More than 30 years later, our collaboration has grown to include 370 scientists and physicians from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

This concentration of knowledge not only draws significant research funding to Northeast Ohio, but also enhances patient care in the moment. Combined, the two hospitals treat nearly 16,000 new cancer patients annually, and their doctors can consult with renowned experts located down the hall, or down the street. In addition, the federal designation means patients have more opportunities to participate in clinical trials of medicines so cutting edge they are not yet available to the public.

This summer, the NCI again awarded our center its highest rating, along with nearly $32 million to continue our research and education efforts. Soon after, the university announced another shared victory: a $46 million award for our Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative, which includes Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals as well as MetroHealth Medical Center and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center. Its mission also involves research and education, with a particular focus on bringing scientific breakthroughs more quickly to patient care.

In addition, both efforts connect us with community-focused research designed to improve the health of our region.

By working together, we make powerful progress for patients. I’m thankful every day for the partnerships that make it possible.

Stan Gerson, Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Asa and Patricia Shiverick-Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology

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