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Oncology

Cancer patient The New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, one of the largest and most prestigious medical institutions in the country, has a legacy of providing matchless contributions to the advancement of healthcare. Our joint physician and patient resources provide the expertise and diverse patient populations necessary to create an outstanding framework for the Oncology Clinical Trials Network (OCTN).

Recent FDA approval of several new therapeutic agents for cancer offers a unique opportunity in oncologic research. The Co-Directors of OCTN, Daniel P. Petrylak, M.D. and Michael W. Schuster, M.D., are determined to take advantage of this unique opportunity. New chemotherapeutic agents targeting tumor vasculature, oncogene products, and other novel therapeutic targets are being evaluated in Phase I trials. Our group of experts in solid tumors, leukemias and lymphomas has the capacity to measure the value of these drugs rapidly and accurately in a Phase II/III setting. This capability is essential to the FDA approval process and to the timely delivery of drugs to patients.

The Co-Directors, along with the Advisory Council, will manage and coordinate cancer clinical trials in the tri-state area. This network of sites recruits from a diverse spectrum of communities and will follow and treat patients from all walks of life. We carefully supervise laboratory and pharmacy procedures, drug accountability, and adherence to Good Clinical Practices (GCP).

AREAS OF THERAPEUTIC FOCUS OCTN

Aids-related malignancies
Breast
Chronic Leukemias and Myeloproliferative Syndromes
Colon
Genitourinary tumors: prostate, bladder, kidney, ovary
Leukemia/Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Lung
Lymphoma/Hodgkin’s Disease
Melanoma
Sarcoma

Every site in the OCTN is staffed by a data manager whose responsibility is to maintain trial records. The data managers are trained in the specifics of each protocol. They, in turn, are supervised by coordinators responsible for data integrity and liaison between the sponsoring pharmaceutical companies and the Network.

The Core Pharmacology Laboratory of the OCTN will oversee the measurement of drug levels and pharmacokinetic analysis for all trials. Dr. Robert Fine directs the laboratory at the Herbert Irving Cancer Center. Any trial requiring a quality of life assessment will be designed under the direction of Dr. Allan Moskowitz.

The combination of the academic excellence of Columbia Presbyterian and New York Weill Cornell Centers and our superb group of clinicians creates an inspiring environment for the investigator in the search for novel oncologic therapies. At the OCTN we have the resources, the energy and the expertise for comprehensive cancer research.

Daniel P. Petrylak, M.D. Daniel P. Petrylak, M.D. (right) Co-Director of OCTN, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program in the Division of Medical Oncology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is also Assistant Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital and actively involved in various professional societies including the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the American Urologic Association, and is the Chairman of the Advanced Bladder Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). He has lectured nationwide on prostate and bladder cancer, and his teaching responsibilities have included the formal instruction of principles of cancer chemotherapy. He has published extensively in the area of cancer research.

Michael W. Schuster, M.D. Michael W. Schuster, M.D. (below right) Co-Director of OCTN, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Director of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and Oncology Clinical Trials Programs at the New York Weill Cornell Center of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. His clinical research has focused on cytokines, transplantation immunology, detection of minimal residual disease in lymphoma, and MDR expression in leukemia cells. Dr. Schuster is the recipient of various research honors, including an American Cancer Society Fellowship Award and Lauri Strauss Foundation grant, and holds membership in professional organizations such as the New York Academy of Sciences, American Society of Hematology, American Society of Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation, and the Bone Marrow Foundation. Besides his teaching duties, he has written journal articles, abstracts and chapters in books dealing with the clinical use of cytokines. In addition, Dr. Schuster serves on the editorial board of Stem Cells, and is a reviewer for Stem Cells, American Journal of Medicine, Leukemia and Lymphoma, Transplantation and The Lancet.

Advisory Council

Cancer cell Karen H. Antman, M.D. Wu Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of Columbia’s Herbert Irving Cancer Center. Her research accomplishments include the development of now standard regimens for the treatment of sarcomas and mesotheliomas. Dr. Antman has also developed high-dose regimens for high-risk breast cancer that are currently in randomized trials in the U.S. and Europe.

Erik J. Feldman, M.D. Associate Professor and Director of the Leukemia Program, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Feldman is well published in leukemia biology and treatment.

Robert Lance Fine, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine and of Pharmacology, Division of Medical Oncology, and Director of Experimental Therapeutics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Fine has over seventy publications pertaining to cancer.

Lab John P. Leonard, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the Director of the Inpatient Oncology Unit, New York Weill Cornell Center of the New York Presbyterian Hospital, as well as Clinical Director of the Cornell Center for Lymphoma and Myeloma.

David M. Nanus, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine and Urology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He is also Medical Director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program, as well as Co-Director of the Urologic Oncology Research Laboratory. He has published extensively in the area of prostate and kidney cancer treatment and biology.

Haralambos Raftopoulos, M.D. Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and an Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He received the American Society of Hematology Travel Award in 1997 and has been a contributing writer for publications such as The Chemotherapy Sourcebook, The Society for the Study of Blood and The American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Richard T. Silver, M.D. Clinical Professor of Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and internationally known figure in myeloproliferative syndromes, chronic myelogenous leukemia and the use of interferons in cancer. Dr. Silver serves as chair of the American Society of Hematology guideline committee for CML.

Roy L. Silverstein, M.D. Mark W. Pasmantier Professor of Hematology and Oncology in Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology, New York Weill Cornell Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital. Previously, Dr. Silverstein has been the President of the American Federation for Clinical Research. He is an internationally recognized expert in vascular biology, including angiogenesis.

Amy D. Tiersten, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has been a principal investigator in Phase I/II clinical trials including studies of high-dose chemotherapy in ovarian cancer patients, taxol/topotecan in cervical cancer patients, and taxotere and estramustine in refractory breast cancer patients.

Linda Vahdat, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Michael Cohen Breast Cancer Scholar, and Director of the Autologous Stem Cell Program for Breast Cancer. As a principal investigator on a number of ongoing clinical studies, she has extensive experience in designing and implementing Phase I, II and III trials.

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