Research Partnership to focus on Advances in the Management of Glioblastoma

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and The NeuroMedical Center are advancing its longstanding partnership by entering into a research agreement, beginning with the launch of a clinical trial, sponsored by Novocure called TRIDENT, for newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) patients. GBM is the most aggressive type of cancer that begins in the brain with approximately 12,000 cases diagnosed in the United States each year.

The new study, the global phase-three TRIDENT, will test the potential survival benefit of initiating Optune, a wearable, portable, treatment with electrical fields, simultaneously with radiation therapy. Jon Olson, MD, the Greater Baton Rouge area’s only board-certified, fellowship-trained neurologist/neuro-oncologist, practicing at The NeuroMedical Center, will identify patients meeting the study criteria.

Maurice D. King, MD, radiation oncologist, Mary Bird Perkins, explained that TRIDENT candidates will be referred to the Cancer Center where the clinical research team will enroll and navigate participants through the process, ensuring the proper protocols are followed for this study, as well as for other individuals when additional trials open.

“The Cancer Center’s research team will report data and present findings to physicians and research organizations to help determine the best treatment decisions for individual patients,” said King. “All trials opened through the partnership will be made available to patients throughout the Mary Bird Perkins network in Southeast Louisiana, Southwest Mississippi, and beyond.” 

As part of this agreement, The NeuroMedical Center will also be included in Mary Bird Perkins’ National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) membership, along with LSU Health in New Orleans and Shreveport and other partners. The goal of NCORP is to recruit more minorities and other underserved populations so they may benefit from cancer studies.

“TRIDENT is the first of many brain-cancer related studies that will be made possible by this powerful partnership between The NeuroMedical Center and Mary Bird Perkins,” said Olson. “It will undoubtedly increase the newest and most advanced clinical trials available for patients and allow us to conduct research and collaborate with radiation oncologists at the Cancer Center to determine the most effective way to treat glioblastoma patients. It will also allow us to reach patients much more extensively.”

The NeuroMedical Center and Mary Bird Perkins, along with Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, have established relationships and other successful initiatives that made the decision to partner on research an easy one, according to Todd Stevens, president and chief executive officer, Mary Bird Perkins.

Stevens said that the organizations worked together to bring the Gamma Knife Icon to Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge several years ago, capitalizing on the expertise of each entity to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the non-invasive technology used to treat cancerous and non-cancerous brain tumors, as well as other neurological disorders. In less than five years, more than 725 patients from five states received Gamma Knife treatments for 26 different conditions.

Mary Bird Perkins radiation oncologists and The NeuroMedical Center physicians meet bi-monthly to discuss patient cases and the treatments that enhance cancer care and provide the most individualized treatment plan.

“The professional expertise and experience that comes together for these team meetings is remarkable,” said Stevens. “Clinical research is the foundation for developing novel therapies and sets the stage for important advancements in cancer care. As Mary Bird Perkins celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we are excited to extend our partnership with The Neuromedical Center and look forward to collaborating to propel cancer care forward.”

Benjamin Boudreaux, chief executive officer, The NeuroMedical Center, agreed that the organizations will be investigating other clinical trial programs, services, and technologies for the growing partnership.

“It’s an exciting time because our organizations came together years ago to benefit patients, and we continue to grow this model because it works. With the combined expertise in neuroscience and cancer, people diagnosed with these challenging diseases have more options. They can stay closer to home and receive a treatment plan devised by some of the most talented physicians, scientists and support staff in the region.”