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By: Cynthia Wall

The UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute expanded, improved services to patients, increased research efforts and received public notice of its efforts in 2019.

Here are a few highlights:

  • U.S. News and World Report listed the CCRI among the top 10 percent of cancer hospitals in the nation in its annual Best Hospitals report, giving the CCRI a “High Performing in Adult Cancer” rating.
  • In August, the CCRI opened outpatient clinics at UMMC Grenada, bringing cancer services closer to home for many patients in Grenada and nearby counties. The UMMC hospitals officially recognized the opening in November.
  • The UMMC Cancer Institute changed its name to the UMMC Cancer Center and Research Institute to better reflect its missions and the services it offers.
  • New research leaders joined the CCRI.
    • Nita Maihle, professor of medicine and associate CCRI associate director of basic research, also leads the CCRI Cancer Molecular Biology research program. More here:
    • Michael Stefanek, professor of psychiatry, leads the CCRI Cancer Control, Epidemiology and Disparities Research Program. More here:
  • Three CCRI members were among those recognized when UMMC held its annual Excellence in Research Awards. CCRI members recognized were:
    • Shou-Ching Tang, Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research. Tang is professor of medicine, the CCRI director of clinical and translation research, leads the CCRI Experimental Therapeutics Research program and led implementation of the CCRI Phase 1 Clinical Trial program.
    • Vani Vijayakumar, professor of radiology, Meritorious Research Service
    • Keli Xu, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences, Silver Medallion
  • Yann Gibert, associate professor of cell and molecular biology, was lead author on a study that determined how one tooth guides formation of others.
  • Colorectal cancer deaths decline as screening rises. The CCRI joined others in Mississippi to launch the 70x2020 Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative in hopes of seeing more lives saved by encouraging colorectal cancer screening. Almost six years later the group saw deaths decline as screening rose.
  • Cardio-oncology program added to CCRI clinical outpatient services. New medications may come with increased heart risks. This program monitors those in treatment and works with cancer physicians to help those who enter cancer treatment with heart problems.
  • The CCRI Bone Marrow Transplant unit is using physical therapy and telehealth technology to help transplant patients in those first weeks after they’re discharged. So far, the physical therapy has led to a decrease in the hospital stay and the daily monitoring has led to a decrease in 30-day readmissions.
  • The American Cancer Society opened the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation Hope Lodge on UMMC campus in March. The lodge serves patients from each Jackson hospital that offers cancer services.