Nicholas Petrelli, MD, FACS
Nicholas Petrelli, MD, FACS, Bank of America Endowed Medical Director of ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute in Newark, Delaware, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. Dr. Petrelli is a 1973 graduate of the school.
Achievements in Cancer Care and Research
Under Dr. Petrelli’s leadership at ChristianaCare since 2001, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute has become a national model for multidisciplinary cancer care and a top enroller in U.S. clinical research trials. The Graham Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program and one of only five hybrid academic community cancer centers in the nation.
Through the work of the Graham Cancer Center and partnerships with health-care providers, community organizations, and the state to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, Delaware’s cancer mortality rate has dropped twice as fast as the national rate. In addition, the state is outpacing the nation in reducing deaths from several cancers. Delaware has gone from number 1 in cancer mortality 22 years ago to number 17 today.
Dr. Petrelli has established several firsts for Delaware, including a multidisciplinary disease center site, the Cawley Center for Translational Cancer Research; a tissue procurement center; an adult genetic counseling program; a statewide high-risk family cancer registry, consisting of more than 500,000 individuals; and an innovative oncology express unit to provide patients with cancer a way to address urgent care needs without having to go to the emergency department.
Among Dr. Petrelli’s accomplishments on the national level are the first primary care practice established at a cancer center and the first gene-editing research program integrated into a community cancer center. Through a unique research partnership with the Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center of The Wistar Institute, he has brought cutting-edge cancer treatments and diagnostics to Delawareans. And in a ground-breaking collaboration among the government, community organizations, and the Graham Cancer Center nearly 10 years ago, Delaware ended the disparity between Black and White people for colorectal cancer screenings and mortality, an achievement that continues to this day.