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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEWORLEANS- People in Louisiana have a higher rate of all types of cancer and are much more likely to die from cancer than in most other states.

But now patients here will have a chance to get cutting-edge treatments that will improve their chances of surviving.

Nearly nine years ago, the Louisiana Cancer Research Center was a parking lot under water. Helicopters were pulling people out of nearby hotels in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Today the picture is quite different.

'Today we have a state-of-the-art research building in which the discoveries that are being made here are being translated in the hospital down the street, and will soon be translated into new treatments and new diagnostics in state-of-the-art hospitals that are being built across the street,' said Dr. Augusto Ochoa, Director of the Scott Cancer Center at LSU Health Sciences Center.

And that was the backdrop for the announcement that LSU Health Sciences center is getting $5.6 million from the National Cancer Institute to have a cancer clinical trials network. It's for all people, but will also focus on minorities and the undeserved. There are 26 sites across Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast that are now open for people to have free access in their own backyards, to the latest cancer treatments being studied.

And what's going on in cancer research is knowing your specific genetic makeup and the cancer's specific genetic makeup, so that doctors can target a treatment especially for you. Pharmaceutical companies have already called about running special clinical trials. The economic impact is expected to be anywhere from $10 to $30 million more.

'The jobs and the economic impact this enterprise will create, and the new knowledge it will contribute, are quite valuable, but helping patients get well is the most important thing to us,' said Dr. Larry Hollier, LSUHSC Chancellor.

A breast cancer patient, who is a nine-year survivor, said the researchers have already impacted her life.

'The clinical trial actually helped my treatment, so it was successful and I am here today because of that,' said Linette Granen.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised the room of LSU doctors and researchers for being one of only 12 sites to get the grant.

This announcement comes just days after Ochsner was also awarded one of 53 grants from the National Cancer Institute for $3.15 million to also run cutting edge cancer clinical research.

More on Ochsner: www.ochsner.org/cancer or call 504-842-3910

More on the LSU sites:

LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans Gulf South Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program

Clinical Sites

  • Children's Hospital-Main Campus New Orleans, LA
  • DeSoto Regional Health System Mansfield, LA
  • East Jefferson General Hospital Metairie, LA
  • Forrest General Hospital Hattiesburg, MS
  • Gulfport Memorial Hospital Gulfport, MS
  • Hattiesburg Clinic Hattiesburg, MS
  • Highland Clinic Shreveport, LA
  • Interim LSU Public Hospital New Orleans, LA
  • LSU Health Baton Rouge, North Clinic, a division of Our Lady of the Lake Baton Rouge, LA
  • LSU Healthcare Network/St. Charles New Orleans, LA
  • Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates (LHOA) Baton Rouge, LA
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans, LA
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Shreveport, LA
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Monroe Monroe, LA
  • Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Baton Rouge, LA
  • Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at Terrebonne General Medical Center Houma, LA
  • Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital Covington, LA
  • Neuromedical Center Baton Rouge, LA
  • Northshore Oncology Associates, LLC Slidell, LA
  • OLOL Physician Group Medical Oncology Baton Rouge, LA
  • Oncology/Hematology Center of the South dba Cancer Care Specialists Houma, LA
  • Robert Veith, MD, LLC Metairie, LA
  • Touro Infirmary New Orleans, LA
  • Willis-Knighton Health System and Cancer Center Shreveport, LA
  • Women's Cancer Care Covington, LA
  • Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center--Baton Rouge, LA
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