September 2017 — Hillman Legacy Lives On at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Through Hillman Foundation and Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the late Henry and Elsie Hillman made generous contributions throughout the Pittsburgh region, especially in science and medicine. Their vision of making Pittsburgh a renowned leader in cancer care became a reality in 2002 with a $10 million grant to establish the Hillman Cancer Center, a world-class institution housing both research laboratories and clinical treatment facilities under one roof. Their generous support of the Hillman Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research Program, established in 2004, has helped to attract promising young researchers and to foster the development of novel cancer treatments. The Hillman Fellows Program will continue to grow and flourish, with a newly announced commitment of $30 million from Henry L. Hillman Foundation to support the Program over the next 10 years.
August 2017 — Prestigious Federal Contract Supports Drug Pharmacology Studies at Hillman
Last August, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center became one of only two academic centers in the nation to secure a competitive contract from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to perform preclinical and clinical pharmacology research critical to the development of new cancer drugs. Led by Jan Beumer, PharmD, PhD, DABT, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine, and Director of the Hillman Cancer Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics Facility, this award could bring up to $9.9 million in research projects to Hillman over five years.
Dr. Beumer’s laboratory evaluates the formulation, dosing, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and toxicity of new drugs prior to their use in phase I (“first-in-human”) clinical trials, to inform routes and doses for drug delivery as well as to predict potential effects of the drug in patients. Through this NCI contract, Dr. Beumer also performs pharmacokinetic analysis in support of clinical trials.
July 2017 — Medicaid Cuts Linked to Later-Stage Cancer Diagnoses
Medicaid is the largest insurance program in the United States and provides health care coverage for many low-income individuals. Medicaid is administered at the state level, and therefore, the structure and extent of coverage provided in each state varies across the country and is subject to economic policy changes.
Lindsay Sabik, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management and member of the Hillman Biobehavioral Oncology Program, studies the impact of government policies on health care. In particular, she is interested in the role of health insurance in facilitating access to care and the impact of changes in insurance on cancer outcomes.
In a study recently published in the journal Cancer, Dr. Sabik and colleagues examined the effects of a Medicaid policy change in Tennessee in 2005. Due to financial difficulties, the Tennessee Medicaid program terminated coverage for nonelderly adults who failed to meet traditional requirements, resulting in the disenrollment of 170,000 patients. Using cancer registry data, the researchers determined that women who were diagnosed with breast cancer after the Medicaid cuts had later-stage disease at diagnosis than those who were diagnosed before the cuts. Furthermore, women living in low-income zip codes were found to have the largest increase in late stage of disease at the time of diagnosis after the disenrollment, suggesting that these women were not able to access screening services that could have facilitated an earlier diagnosis.
Watch Dr. Sabik discuss these findings in the video below.