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Main Line Health honors Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with focus on research

Lankenau Medical Center March 1, 2019 Research News

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Main Line Health reminds all members of the community to be proactive in preventing and screening for colorectal cancer. Moreover, recent studies demonstrate that colorectal cancers are becoming increasingly prevalent among younger people.

“Colorectal cancer remains one of the nation’s leading causes of cancer deaths,” said John Marks, MD, chief of colorectal surgery at Main Line Health and world-renowned colorectal surgeon. “Fortunately, it is a highly treatable disease. Colonoscopy can find and remove precancerous polyps to avoid developing colorectal cancer at all. When found and treated early, the five-year survival rate is close to 90 percent.”

Dr. Marks advises everyone to get screened regularly, and talk to your doctor about risk and prevention. “At Main Line Health, we offer advanced technology and clinical trials that can save lives and preserve bowel function,” he said.

Main Line Health’s Lankenau Institute for Medical Research conducts cancer clinical research to help identify potential treatment options for those who have been diagnosed with the disease. Patients with colon or rectal cancer may qualify to participate in one of four ongoing research studies at Main Line Health:

  • Transanal Total Mesorectal Excision (taTME) is a surgical technique that uses a so-called “bottom-up approach” in which dissection of the affected tissues is done transanally rather than through the abdomen. The purpose of this therapeutic rectal cancer trial is to discover whether taTME is effective compared to the standard laparoscopic robotic technique. This national study is based on a procedure developed and first performed by Dr. Marks and his team.
  • Study #A021502 is for patients who’ve been diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and have a deficient DNA mismatch repair confirmed by their physicians. There are two study arms to this trial. Participants in both are administered chemotherapy. Those in Arm 1 also receive atezolizumab, an immunotherapy drug given intravenously.
  • Study #S1613 is an experimental treatment trial for those diagnosed with locally advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer that has progressed while the patient is on traditional treatment. If these tumors are determined by clinicians to be HER-2 amplified, a patient may be eligible for this trial. There are two study arms: One group of patients receives Herceptin (trastuzumab) and pertuzumab, a monoclonal antibody. The other group receives the monoclonal antibody cetuximab and the drug irinotecan hydrochloride.
  • Study #S0820 seeks to determine if an experimental treatment combination will be effective in reducing the recurrence of stages 0 through 3 colon cancer. The drugs being tested include eflornithine and sulindac.

“By participating in a clinical research trial, eligible patients gain access to potential new treatments or therapeutic practices before they are available to the general public, advance medical knowledge, and help others who may develop or have similar diseases or conditions,” adds Dr. Marks.

Main Line Health is proud to be a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), one of only 34 community sites in the United States. NCORP provides patients with access to NCI-sponsored cancer clinical trials studying screening, prevention, and symptom management.

Patients interested in participating in clinical trials at a Main Line Health hospital should speak with their physicians. Email cancertrials@mlhs.org, or call 484.476.2649 to find out if there’s a clinical research trial available. For additional information about clinical trials at Main Line Health, or for information about colorectal cancer and its treatment, visit mainlinehealth.org.

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985,Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. Main Line Health’s commitment—to deliver advanced medicine to treat and cure disease while also playing an important role in prevention and disease management as well as training physicians and other health care providers—reflects our intent to keep our community and ourselves well ahead. A team of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians care for patients throughout the Main Line Health system.

At Main Line Health’s core are four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s recognized facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

Main Line Health also includes Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, which includes skilled home health care, hospice and home infusion services; Main Line Health Centers, primary and specialty care, lab and radiology, and other outpatient services located in Broomall, Collegeville, Concordville, Exton, King of Prussia and Newtown Square; Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research organization; and Main Line HealthCare,one of the region’s largest multispecialty physician networks.

Main Line Health is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence and the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Excellence Award. Main Line Health is committed to creating an environment of diversity, respect and inclusion and has proudly embraced the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate disparities in care. We are dedicated to advancing patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new approaches to formidable medical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR’s principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and translational research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.