“We’re going to make a difference,” Stephenson Cancer Center receives $10.8M clinical trial grant

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s new hope for cancer patients in the state of Oklahoma.

OU Medicine’s Stephenson Cancer Center, a national leader in clinical studies, is now receiving a $10.8 million grant to expand their trials.

It’s a statistic that’s hard to hear – officials at OU Medicine say one in every three cancer patients will die from their disease.

But at the Stephenson Cancer Center, they say this grant brings hope.

“This tells people in Oklahoma that we don’t accept that, that we’re going to make a difference and we’re going to increase their chance of beating their cancer,” said Robert Mannel, M.D., director of the Stephenson Cancer Center.

Cancer research has come a long way, especially here in Oklahoma.

Over the last two years, the Stephenson Cancer Center has been the leader in the nation for the number of patients participating in NCI Clinical Trials.

“It doesn’t just make people guinea pigs, it gives patients the access to the most treatments possible and not just locally, but they get access to things that are international,'” said James Battiste, a neuro oncologist at the Stephenson Cancer Center.

The grant is aimed at helping trial participants like Claudia Cavallin.

She moved from Venezuela to America to earn her doctorate at OU.

But it was during that time she started getting a headache that wasn’t just from her studies.

An MRI revealed she had a tumor.

Experts at the Stephenson Cancer Center removed it, while she was awake, to preserve the side of her brain that helps in the linguistic studies she is so passionate about.

“I was like this, talking with someone, and the doctor was taking out my tumor at the same time,” Cavallin said.

Cavallin then began a clinical trial with other patients who have similar conditions.

The goal – finding the most effective but least toxic way to beat this disease.

The grant will add more clinical research staff and of course, expand their trials.

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