Shaw Cancer Center partners with CU Cancer Center
VAIL — Physicians and staff of the University of Colorado Cancer Center recently renewed a nearly 10-year partnership with Shaw Regional Cancer Center, enhancing access to big city specialists and making clinical trials available to patients in the high country.
It’s rare to find highly trained cancer specialists, advanced technology and comprehensive treatment plans in a rural setting like Vail, but Shaw Regional Cancer Center boasts all of the above in the peaceful, healing setting of the Rocky Mountains. And, with access to specialty physicians and clinical trials through the partnership with CU Cancer Center, Shaw patients are getting high-quality care that’s close to home.
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Clinical trials are studies that allow patients access to new, more effective methods of treating cancer with chemotherapy, biotherapy or radiation. Many treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials. CU Cancer Center is the only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute in the Rocky Mountain region, and as a result of the partnership, there are currently about 10 trials available at Shaw.
“While having a cancer center with Shaw’s capabilities in a rural, mountain setting like Vail is unique and a great benefit to our community and region, we don’t have the capability to offer clinical trials on our own,” said Doris Kirchner, president and CEO of Vail Valley Medical Center, of which Shaw is an outpatient department. “That’s why this relationship with CU is so remarkable. Our medical staff learns new ways to improve health and cancer treatment, and our patients are ensured to receive optimal care.”
In addition to clinical trials, Shaw physicians — and, in turn, their patients — benefit from weekly multi-disciplinary video tumor boards to discuss interesting and unusual cases. This allows the high country physicians to virtually connect with other rural cancer care teams and specialists from CU. The goal of the tumor boards is to enhance collaboration and education.
“One of the goals of CU Cancer Center is to bring the latest in cancer care and clinical trials to people in remote areas of Colorado,” said Dan Theodorescu, MD, Ph.D., the director of the CU Cancer Center. “We need hospital partners like Shaw across the state to make this happen. Without their help, we would not be able to share our expertise on this scale.”
The cancer care teams visit one another on an ongoing basis to strengthen communication, relationships and collaboration. While Shaw’s specialists have trained at some of the most respected medical and cancer treatment centers in the country, including Duke, Johns Hopkins University, Brown University, UCLA and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the partnership has proven valuable.
Michael Glode, MD, is the associate director of community engagement for CU Cancer Center and a medical oncology specialist for prostate and genitourinary cancers at Shaw Regional Cancer Center.
“Through our interactions with the colleagues at our affiliate sites, we not only gain knowledge of the challenges and research opportunities we all face, in many cases we also have discovered new ways to approach education and research,” he said.
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