It's a topic that's close to my heart, and probably yours, too. For who among us has not lost a family member or friend to cancer?
It was 16 years ago this month that the founder of this magazine, my late husband David Wright, attempted to fight off his leukemia with a bone marrow transplant. Sadly, he lost this battle a few months later. Today, he might well have survived, given the advances in cancer research and treatment over the last decade and a half.
As you probably know, some of that research is taking place right here in Peoria, from the fundamental science that is the foundation for all subsequent breakthroughs to the clinical testing of new cancer-fighting drugs. A recent Journal Star article traces the path of a leukemia-fighting drug called Synribo, recently approved by the FDA—and what’s interesting is that it got its start with research conducted at Peoria’s Ag Lab more than three decades ago!
It’s been just over a year since the opening of the Cancer Research Center at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, where the work of Dr. Jasti Rao and his team of researchers continues, supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. As with the research that led to Synribo, it’s likely to be years, or even decades, before the full ramifications of their work become clear.
Over at Illinois CancerCare, clinical trials are being conducted on everything from cancer prevention to treatment to symptom management. It’s one of the nation’s top enrollers for cancer clinical trials, with referrals from the likes of Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson. For local cancer patients, that means opportunities to take part in potentially life-saving clinical trials right in their own community. Its beautiful facility in North Peoria is certainly a step above the treatment rooms I remember from 1997.
Elsewhere in this issue, we continue to look at overall trends in the healthcare industry. Tim Wyman offers a post-election update on national healthcare reform, and we check in with Quality Quest for Health and its spinoff, Central Illinois Health Information Exchange, for the latest on their efforts to improve the quality of our healthcare system while lowering costs.
It’s also the beginning of a new year, which serves as another reminder to stay healthy. Back to the gym, right?! Health and wellness remain top of mind for employers, a trend that’s likely to continue, as the demands of today’s workforce can be quite strenuous. Meanwhile, healthcare is still the fastest-growing industry, both here and across the country. The future offers great promise, and for that, we thank all of our doctors, nurses and scientists, whose dedication makes it all possible. iBi