Some major announcements about cancer care in Buffalo on Thursday. Women and Children's Hospital and Roswell Park are furthering their partnership to help children with cancer and a local company is unveiling a first ever test to help with cancer treatment. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about both announcements and the impact they're expected to have.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — This July, Eli Olsen was diagnosed with cancer at age three.
Since then, he's been treated at both Women and Children's Hospital and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
"A result of which, Eli has now completed his intensive regimen of chemotherapy and all signs point to a successful treatment," said Scott Friedman, Eli's grandfather.
Now, after decades of working together in separate locations, Roswell Park and Women and Children's are planning to develop a unified pediatric hematology-oncology program in the new John R. Oishei Children's Hospital which will be located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding for the project Thursday.
"Combining the clinical expertise from both the Women and Children's Hospital and Roswell Park, will allow us to provide care that is not only unsurpassed regionally, but is competitive globally," said Dr. Lorna Fitzpatrick who works with both institutions.
Thursday also brought another major announcement in cancer care at the medical campus.
Empire Genomics is launching the first ever test for a blood cell cancer called multiple myeloma.
It's described as a genetic test that will identify which patients should be treated with the standard care for the disease, or an alternative therapy.
"So it prevents side effects in those patients that aren't going to have a benefit as well as helps our health care costs," said Norma Nowak, founder and chief scientific officer of Empire Genomics.
Nowak knows how significant that is after witnessing her late husband go through cancer treatment, "Why put someone through that if the therapy's not going to have any benefit," she said.
Nowak says the test will be manufactured and conducted at the company's new clinical laboratory - and means more than 50 new jobs in the next five years from scientists to marketing and sales hires.
It's creating jobs, it's saving lives, it's further developing downtown Buffalo and Western New York," said Congressman Brian Higgins.
Nowak says they plan to launch the lab in early 2013.