Aggressive Goals Fuel Research, Growth at 'The James'

By Ed Rabinowitz
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010
“In addition to the challenge of learning [robotics], you have to have enough surgical volume to keep your skills up,” Abaza said. “It makes it very important for patients who are seeking out a robotic surgeon to find someone who is already very experienced.” Abaza added that it is important for teaching institutions like OSU to equip the next generation of surgeons with the necessary skills to perform quality robotic surgeries in the real world.

Abaza and his colleagues have begun delving into procedures that are “off the beaten path” to determine which might be best done robotically. “Robotic surgery is going to become more and more pervasive across surgical disciplines, and technology is going to continue to improve,” said Abaza. “That will combine with our imagination and allow us to do even the most complex procedures in even more minimally invasive fashion than we’re doing now.”

Looking Ahead with ProjectONE

The Center for Advanced Robotic Surgery is not the only department at OSU planning for tomorrow. The importance of being primed for the challenges ahead has not been lost on OSU CCC. Last September, OSU’s board of trustees approved plans for the construction of ProjectONE, an expansion project that will significantly advance the medical center’s education and research programs and improve care. The $1 billion investment will transform the OSU medical center’s central campus. It includes a centralized single-tower design that will house the new Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, along with a critical care building and integrated spaces for research, education, and patient care.

ProjectONE is said to be one of the largest job-generating initiatives in Ohio’s history, creating as many as 10,000 fulltime jobs and more than 5000 construction jobs. ProjectONE is expected to generate $1.7 billion annually for the community by 2015, which is in addition to the more than $4 billion generated annually by the university.

The James expects inpatient admissions to increase by 21% in the next 10 years. “As cancer is on pace to become the world’s No. 1 killer by next year, we see this expansion as a crucial step to provide the best treatments possible for patients who are seeking potentially life-saving therapies,” said Michael Caligiuri, MD , director of OSUCCC and CEO of The James. “ProjectONE is a necessary investment in the future of cancer care.” It is expected that the ProjectONE expansion will facilitate treatment of an additional 310,000 patients each year. New facilities are essential if the center is to continue to attract and retain leading doctors and scientists and compete for research funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources, Caligiuri said.

The Finish Line

The goal for The James, Thomas said, is to gain recognition as one of the top 10 cancer centers in the country. To achieve this, the center must continue to expand in size and resources. “Obviously, building the new cancer hospital is a big part of that, and research is going to be at the core of that facility,” he said. “We want to continue to grow in both the quantity of research that we do and also the quality of research that we do.” At the heart of the center’s mission lies the same desire it has always had: to improve people’s lives through conducting innovative research, expanding educational opportunities, and providing exemplary patient care.

Ed Rabinowitz is a veteran healthcare journalist based in Bangor, Pennsylvania.

Clinical Trials

Several trials are underway at The Ohio State University (OSU) Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information about the trials listed below, visit and search using the trial ID number or contact the investigators.

Phase II: SCH 727965 for Relapsed/Refractory AML and ALL

This trial, sponsored by Schering-Plough, is accruing patients at several sites throughout the United States, including OSU. Alison Walker, MD, is leading the study at OSUCCC, which is looking at the overall response rate (ORR ) of AM L or ALL patients to initial treatment with SCH 727965. In addition, the study will evaluate the ORR of AML patients treated after disease progression on a comparator.

OSU ID: 08144 ID: NCT00798213

Contact: SP Clinical Trial Registry Call Center, (888) 772-8734

Phase I/II: Elotuzumab Plus Bortezomib in Relapsed/Refractory MM

In this randomized open-label trial, sponsored by Facet Biotech, investigators are conducting a dose-escalation study of elotuzumab, a human monoclonal antibody, combined with bortezomib (Velcade). Multiple myeloma patients enrolled in the study must have progressive disease following 1 to 3 prior regimens. Don Benson, MD, PhD, is serving as principal investigator for the OSU study.

OSU ID: 09025 ID: NCT00726869

Contact: OSU Clinical Trial Matching Service, (866) 627-7616 or

Phase I: ABT-888 with or without Mitomycin C in Unresectable Metastatic Solid Tumors

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