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Dr. Anand Jillella Receives Georgia CORE’s “Optimistic Oncologist” Award

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Dr. Anand Jillella, the J. Harold Harrison, MD, Distinguished University Chair in Medical Oncology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, received the first Optimistic Oncologist Award from the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE) at its annual meeting. The award, presented by Georgia CORE Board Chairman Dr. Andrew Pippas, was in recognition of Dr. Jillella’s highly successful research on a rare form of leukemia that led to a national clinical trial through the National Cancer Institute. His research, which was originally conducted through Georgia CORE, has already made a major difference in saving lives of people with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

APL is a very curable leukemia once the patient survives the first few critical weeks of treatment. With his team, he developed an emergency checklist for physicians to guide them in recognizing and dealing with this rare disease in its early stages. Physicians, who don’t often see this disease, may call for a consultation at any time.

Experience with the strategy in Georgia and South Carolina decreased initial deaths from an estimated 30% to 6.7%. Thanks to these results in research funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the National Cancer institute has funded a national cooperative group trial, with plans to enroll about 200 patients over four years. Dr. Jillella and his research associate, Dr. Vamsi Kota, an Assistant Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University’s School of Medicine, are developing plans to use the existing network to offer similar supportive services for a handful of other rare cancers.

“This is an extraordinary accomplishment and a well-deserved award,” said Dr. Pippas. Dr. Jillella is also a Board Member of Georgia CORE. The Optimistic Oncology Award was named after a quote from the late Thomas E. Seay, MD, PhD, who chaired the Board of Georgia CORE until his death in 2016.

Dr. Jillella’s titles include Chief of the MCG Division of Hematology/Oncology and Associate Director of Medical Oncology Services at the Georgia Cancer Center, where he directs the cancer center’s ambulatory services. He is the Founding Director of the Georgia Cancer Center’s adult stem cell and bone marrow transplant program and served as Chief of the MCG Section of Hematology/Oncology from 2005-13, when he was named Associate Director for Community Affairs and Outreach at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. He also has served as Medical Director of the Winship Cancer Network, which brings clinical and population based trials to communities throughout Georgia and the region.


Northside Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant Program Earns National Clinical Trial Status

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

The Northside Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program is one of only 20 institutions/consortia from across the United States to be awarded a national grant by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute to recruit, examine and treat clinical study participants.

The grant is the result of Northside’s designation as a Core Clinical Center of the national Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) for a second consecutive term (July 2010-June 2017, July 2017-June 2024). Northside serves as the lead site of a consortium of core clinical centers that includes the University of Miami and Levine Cancer Institute.

“This recognition is a result of our ongoing excellence and commitment to improving outcomes for hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients,” said Asad Bashey, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the BMT research program at Northside Hospital and the principle investigator in charge of the hospital’s application to the BMT CTN.

The BMT Program at Northside Hospital is one of the largest and most prominent BMT programs in the United States and performs the entire range of available hematopoietic transplants including those from matched unrelated, matched sibling and haploidentical donors, and cord blood transplants. In 2017, Northside had among the best survival outcomes in nation for a ninth consecutive year (2009-17), per data released by the National Marrow Donor Program and The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.

BMT CTN was established to conduct large multi-institutional clinical trials that address important issues in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and further the understanding of the best possible treatment approaches. Since 2001, the program has launched 44 trials, accruing nearly 9,500 participants.


WellStar Paulding Hospital Names John Kueven as New President

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

WellStar Health System has named John Kueven, FACHE, as senior vice president and president of WellStar Paulding Hospital. As president of the hospital, Kueven will oversee day-to-day operations of the 112-bed facility and 182-bed skilled nursing center. Kueven will assume the role on March 5.

In addition to being a registered nurse, Kueven brings more than 10 years of healthcare administration experience to WellStar. He currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Memorial Herman Katy, a 208-bed hospital in Katy, Texas. In addition to numerous awards for patient safety, the hospital is in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationally, according to hospital rating services Healthgrades and The Leapfrog Group.

Additionally, Kueven has worked in a variety of administrative roles at Boston Children’s Hospital and North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, Miss.

Kueven received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Millsaps College and master’s degrees in both business administration and health administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Additionally, he obtained his associate of nursing degree from Itawamba Community College in Tupelo, Miss.


Cancer Treatment Centers of America Publishes Cancer Patient Treatment Results

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a national network of five hospitals, announced the release of its fifth annual Patient Treatment Results, a transparent and comprehensive reporting of patient treatment outcomes for 11 cancer types, including the most common:

• Breast cancer
• Colon cancer
• Esophageal cancer
• Kidney cancer
• Lung cancer
• Ovarian cancer
• Pancreatic cancer
• Prostate cancer
• Rectal cancer
• Stomach cancer

The Patient Treatment Results report reflects an industry-leading standard for transparency, as less than 10 percent of all cancer care providers in the U.S. publish their results. The CTCA report includes data on length of life, quality of life, care experience, and patient safety and quality results. The report is available for download via the CTCA website, at

“To our knowledge, this new report is among the most complete in the nation in terms of reporting of treatment results, patient ratings of their experience, and self-reported quality of life data from the beginning of treatment through return visitation,” said Raj Garg, MD, JD, President and CEO of CTCA. “Today’s release reaffirms our commitment to providing patients and their families with information that will help them make more informed choices about their care.”

The 2017/2018 Patient Treatment Results book provides five-year survival rates for CTCA patients treated between 2000 and 2013 for 11 cancer types, including complex cancers such as pancreatic and small cell lung cancers. Additionally, the report supplies companion survival data for each cancer type as reported by the National Cancer Institute in its Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. The report also details various safety and quality of life measurements during treatment, which are not typically reported by other oncology treatment centers.


Emory Sports Medicine Center and Emory Physical Therapy Center Open

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

This month, the Emory Sports Medicine Center and Emory Physical Therapy Center located within the Emory Sports Medicine Complex officially opened to patients. The 90,000-square-foot complex is the first of its kind, integrating four state-of-the-art facilities on its five-acre campus:

Emory Healthcare Courts
Emory Healthcare Courts serves as the official practice and training facility for the Atlanta Hawks. With an emphasis on player development, peak performance and comprehensive player care, it features two full-length basketball courts with direct access to expanded athletic performance training areas, a film room, and a fully-dedicated recovery area including cryotherapy, sensory deprivation tanks and in-ground hydrotherapy. The Hawks Basketball Operations Team is housed in the facility full-time.

Emory Sports Medicine Center and Emory Physical Therapy
Emory’s entire sports-medicine division operates within this facility, giving the Hawks immediate access to Emory’s physicians. The most advanced technology in preventative and rehabilitative treatment and sports performance training including the 3 Tesla MRI scanner, diagnostic imaging technology, recovery technology, 3-D motion capture analysis, and blood/sweat testing and analysis are all on-site. Emory doctors can see their patients at the facility and in conjunction with the Hawks, they will host events to engage the local community.

Peak Performance Project
Commonly referred to as P3, Peak Performance Project is a world-leader in applied sports science based in Santa Barbara, CA. The Atlanta branch is P3’s first location outside of Santa Barbara and serves as its East Coast headquarters. P3 services elite-level athletes from around the world, integrating sports science to assess athlete movement and performance and prescribe individualized optimization plans.

The privately-funded complex was designed by HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm with 23 offices worldwide. Atlanta-based construction and management firm H.J. Russell & Company, in association with Legends Project Development, served as the project management team for the project and Brasfield & Gorrie General Contractors was selected to serve as construction manager.


Four Georgia Scientists Awarded Breast Cancer Research Awards

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Three breast cancer researchers from three different universities in Georgia have been awarded $50,000 each and a fourth awarded $25,000 thanks to funding from It’s The Journey and The Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (Georgia CORE). The two non-profits teamed up to provide $175,000 to recognize creative ideas that may advance progress toward detecting, treating or curing breast cancer.

Awardees of $50,000 include:

Susan Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Institute of Bioengineering and Biosciences, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology; Mandi Murph, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, University of Georgia; and Aneja Ritu, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Center for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection, Department of Biology, Georgia State University.

$25,000 was awarded to Dora Il’yasova, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Georgia State University.

Dora Il’yasova

“We had several excellent applicants and feel confident that our reviewers have selected sound, creative ideas of scientific importance for the 2017 Breast Cancer Research Awards,” says Laurel Sybilrud, Chairman of the Board for It’s The Journey.

All research plans are based on national research priorities.

“This one-year pilot funding supports investigators in achieving proof-of-principle,” says Nancy Paris, President and Chief Executive Officer of Georgia CORE. “We support the researchers’ efforts to establish that an idea, invention or process is feasible, so that they can move forward in applying for more extensive funding.”

Georgia CORE oversees the scientific review process in collaboration with the Georgia Research Alliance. (GRA) Rating criteria included scientific importance, innovation, potential impact, investigator and institutional capacity, collaboration and inclusion of disparate populations.

The 2017 Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, which took place the weekend of November 11-12, enables It’s The Journey to support breast health programs across Georgia. Since 2003, It’s

The Journey has raised $13 million and awarded 298 grants.


Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center Offers New Carpal Tunnel Treatment

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

A patient at the Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center recently became the first in Georgia to receive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome with the SX-One MicroKnife™ surgical device. The device, which uses technology developed at the Mayo Clinic, is designed to allow physicians to perform carpal tunnel release (CTR) surgery through a single micro-incision (4-5 mm) guided by ultrasound. The technology protects sensitive anatomy when cutting the transverse carpal ligament.

Kenneth Mautner, MD, a non-surgical sports medicine physician at the Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center, performed the procedure.

“This is an exciting alternative for patients who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome but have hesitated to have surgical treatment due to long recovery and rehabilitation or unattractive scarring,” says, Mautner, who is considered a national leader in ultrasound- guided procedures.

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects more than 12 million Americans and results in 500,000 surgeries every year. It can be debilitating if left untreated. Traditional CTR procedures can remedy the condition but may result in large and sometimes painful scars, ongoing palmar pain and a long road to recovery.


News from the 2017 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world’s largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders, hosted more than 25,000 attendees from around the world to highlight groundbreaking scientific research and the latest advances in patient care at its 59th annual meeting this December at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The 2017 ASH Annual Meeting featured nearly 5,000 scientific abstract presentations in malignant and non-malignant blood diseases – from cutting-edge advances in gene therapy to practice-changing discoveries in immunotherapies.

“The ASH Annual Meeting has always been the premier event for serving a global community of hematologists and health professionals,” said ASH President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Lebow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

News that came out of the ASH Annual Meeting included:

Late-Breaking Clinical Trials Signal New Therapeutic Options for Many Patients in the Near Term
In four clinical trials, researchers report promising results suggesting patients with blood disorders and several types of cancer will soon have significantly expanded options for treatment.

Targeted Therapies Show Promise for Improving Outcomes Across a Spectrum of Hematologic Malignancies
Four studies highlight the multiple ways in which novel targeted cancer therapies are now being deployed to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients with rare, advanced, or difficult-to-treat blood malignancies.

People Aged 75 Years and Older Are Underrepresented in Blood Cancer Clinical Trials
In the first comprehensive analysis of clinical trial enrollment among older adults with blood cancers, researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found significant gaps in participation among those aged 75 and older when considered against the incidence of these malignancies in this age group.

CAR T-Cell Therapies Drive Outcomes in Lymphoma, Myeloma
Three studies spotlight the emerging role played by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies in helping individuals mount a clinical response and, in some cases, achieve durable remission.

New Therapies Improve Outlook for Bleeding and Clotting Disorders
Researchers report remarkable benefits from new, more easily administered therapies for bleeding and clotting disorders.


DeKalb Medical and Emory Healthcare sign Letter of Intent to form strategic partnership

Monday, November 20th, 2017

DeKalb Medical and Emory Healthcare have signed a Letter of Intent to develop a strategic partnership between the two institutions.

The Letter of Intent signals the beginning of the process to formulate a definitive agreement to bring the two health systems together under the Emory Healthcare system. The partnership would allow for continued growth and expansion of services to even better serve the community. The two institutions anticipate finalizing the partnership in 2018, after receiving final approval from regulatory agencies.

“Both Emory and DeKalb Medical have a strong and historical commitment to providing exceptional care to the community,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, Emory University executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “We understand the importance of both community hospitals and academic medical centers in delivering optimal care to our patients. A partnership with DeKalb Medical will strategically support these efforts,” says Lewin.

“We are excited about the future,” says Robert E. Wilson, president and CEO of DeKalb Medical.  “Our community has counted on us for 56 years and we’ve always been here – growing to meet our community’s needs.  This partnership will strengthen our ability to continue to deliver high quality community-based healthcare.”


WellStar Health System expands collaboration with Mayo Clinic

Monday, November 20th, 2017

With a recent expansion of their collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, all WellStar facilities now have access to the resources of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of like-minded organizations who share a commitment to better serving patients and their families.

WellStar joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network in 2014. Now all 11 hospitals and WellStar Clinical Partners members are included in the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Through digital technology, physicians in the network can collaborate and share the latest medical information. Experts from WellStar and Mayo Clinic work together to further enhance the delivery of healthcare, allowing many patients to receive answers to complex medical questions, close to home.

Specialists across WellStar can now have access to Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise using a variety of electronic tools and services and can consult directly with Mayo Clinic experts on complex diagnosis and treatment plans. These tools and services include:

• eConsults: WellStar Clinical Partner physicians use electronic consulting to connect directly with Mayo Clinic specialists on complex patient cases, which is included at no cost to the patient.

• AskMayoExpert: All members of WellStar’s medical staff have 24/7 access to Mayo-vetted medical information and guidelines through AskMayoExpert, which is a web-based resource created for physicians and other healthcare providers.

•Healthcare Consulting: Related to clinical and business processes, this relationship allows WellStar providers to accelerate patient care innovations.

“At WellStar, we are focused on finding innovative ways to improve patient care,” said John A. Brennan, M.D., executive vice president & chief clinical integration officer. “WellStar is home to some of the most accomplished and preeminent physicians in the Southeast. By collaborating with Mayo Clinic, we are giving our physicians and patients another resource that can improve the health of our community.”



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