By Alyson Gonzalez
What began as an inquiry sparked during a research brainstorming session, evolved into meaningful collaboration for a community cancer center in Connecticut. Through the Mayo Clinic Care Network relationship, Middlesex Health and Mayo Clinic are working together to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families through impactful research.
Approximately one in five cancer patients have a genetic, or inherited, cancer. Understanding if a cancer is inherited is important because it can lead to the personalization of ongoing care. Genetics research is essential for developing methods of prevention, tailored treatments and discussion of surgical options for reducing risk.
Understanding the impact of research in this area, Middlesex Health was interested in developing their own genetics research program within their community. As a member of the care network, Middlesex Health connected with Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine for consultation on how best to move forward.
“Mayo Clinic shared their resources, protocols and lessons learned, which was really beneficial for our team as we built our research study,” says Justin Drew, director, Middlesex Health Cancer Center. “We’re working toward setting new standards of care for cancer and genetics as a community cancer center, which we wouldn’t have the resources to do without Mayo Clinic.”
Working together, both organizations have been able to further their collective mission of putting the patient first. “Our vision is to transform medicine by connecting and curing,” says Cindy Azevedo, clinical operations program manager, Center for Individualized Medicine, Mayo Clinic. “Collaborations with organizations like Middlesex Health allow us the opportunity to make that vision a reality.”
The impact this research can bring toward improvements in prevention and screening for patients makes this collaboration especially meaningful. “It’s really about bringing a ‘state of the art’ research study to our patients and to our community,” says Betty Molle, nurse scientist, Middlesex Health. “Mayo gave us the guidance, support and confidence to tailor our study to what is most important for our patients.”