Clinical Trials Participation Awards Recognize Community-Based Practice Dedicated to Research

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Gary Unzeitig, MD

Involvement in clinical trials gives our patients access to treatments that they previously had to travel great distances to receive.

—Gary Unzeitig, MD

Since 2003, the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO has recognized more than 100 high-quality, community-based clinical research sites through the Clinical Trial Participation Award (CTPA). The program has been generously supported by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups for the past decade.

Doctors Hospital of Laredo, 2009 and 2014 CTPA recipient, was one of eight practices recognized during the CTPA ceremony at the 2014 ASCO Annual Meeting. Principal Investigator, Gary Unzeitig, MD, was present to receive the award.

CTPA recipients have demonstrated outstanding work in the area of patient clinical trials and Doctors Hospital of Laredo is no exception. It is the only hospital within a 150-mile radius in the South Texas border town. In spite of the challenges that come with serving a largely underserved population, Dr. Unzeitig and his team are committed to providing the people of Laredo with access to clinical trials and new cancer therapies.

Increasing Access to Clinical Trials in Underserved Areas

Dr. Unzeitig is a breast surgeon and Principal Investigator of Clinical Trials at Doctors Hospital of Laredo. Before his arrival, clinical trials were rarely seen in Laredo and most that were available occurred at larger academic centers. In 2001, he brought cancer clinical trials to Laredo and began enrolling patients in cooperative group trials. Thirteen years later, more than one-third of his patients are on clinical trials, giving them access to cutting-edge medicine. And his commitment to contribute to the further growth of clinical research and breast cancer medicine in Laredo is as strong as it was in 2001.

“Involvement in clinical trials gives our patients access to treatments that they previously had to travel great distances to receive,” said Dr. Unzeitig. “It’s also enhanced the hospital’s reputation as the provider of choice for cancer care.”

Receiving the CTPA has enhanced Dr. Unzeitig’s efforts to provide clinical trials as an option for his patients. Dr. Unzeitig pointed out that “each time there is news about our Clinical Trials Participation Award, we receive lots of calls from patients asking if they can be on a trial. The publicity has essentially motivated the community to expect this advanced level of cancer care.”

Learn more about the Clinical Trials Participation Award at ­ ■

© 2014. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.