Norton Healthcare and UofL have formed a new children’s cancer initiative to develop new kinds of care, recruit more oncologists and to increase the number of clinical trials offered to patients.
As part of the creation of the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, the private nonprofit health system has committed $1 million to the University of Louisville per year to pay for physician recruitment, support staff and pediatric oncology research.
A local doctor told Insider that the institute would enable local doctors to better tap into one another’s areas of expertise to improve all aspects of cancer care, from making sure that family physicians and families have a proper understanding of their options to providing treatments specific to the patient’s age.
Inpatients will continue to be treated at the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center in Norton Children’s Hospital. For outpatients, the institute will occupy the fourth floor of UofL’s new 170,000-square-foot pediatric medical office building, at 401 E. Chestnut St., to be completed in July 2018.
Norton said in a press release that the institute will provide better access and more services to children fighting cancer, including new programs for treating rare tumors.
Dr. Joseph M. Flynn, executive director and the institute’s physician-in-chief, told Insider that the NCCI would enable local caregivers to better cater care to the individual patient.
Biologically, a toddler is different from a child, who is different from a young adult, Flynn said, and adapting their care, from treatment to their hospital environment and potential challenges years after their care, such as the risk for post traumatic stress disorder, is critical to improving their outcomes.
The new institute will help health care providers — from those focusing on prevention to those focusing on post-treatment care — to pool their many of areas of expertise, he said.
Flynn also said that the NCCI offers Louisville a chance to gain national recognition in pediatric cancer research and access to the most cutting-edge clinical trials.
Dr. Toni Ganzel, executive dean for the UofL Health Sciences Center, said in the release that the institute’s work would help address “an urgent need to understand the effect of treatments on the entire body, not just the cancer.
“With a multidisciplinary approach and comprehensive treatment and support services, Norton Children’s Cancer Institute will have at its core a sense of urgency not only in bringing newer therapies to accelerate childhood cancer survival rates but also to intently focus on the survivors and alert them to potential risks, including serious and sometimes life-threatening complications, as late effects of cancer treatments,” Ganzel said.
Norton Children’s Hospital is the area’s only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and handles more than 8,000 pediatric cancer cases each year. It is one of the five area hospitals that constitute Louisville-based Norton Healthcare.
“We expect Norton Children’s Cancer Institute to be the beacon of hope for families not just in Metro Louisville, but throughout the entire commonwealth,” said Thomas D. Kmetz, division president, Women’s and Children’s Services and Norton Children’s Hospital. “This collaboration will create an even more unified focus on delivering unparalleled cancer care to children fighting this terrible disease.”