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Carcinoid Clinic

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Posted 1/2/2014

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A multi-disciplinary team of physicians at The Nebraska Medical Center started the Carcinoid Clinic as a way to take the disease from medical curiosity to curable condition. The Carcinoid Clinic at The Nebraska Medical Center offers patients quality and comprehensive care. Patients will meet doctors with a variety of specialties during their clinic visit. Patients at the clinic can expect to consult with a medical oncologist, surgeon and even a family practice physician. In addition to providing treatment to patients, the carcinoid clinic will also have a significant role in research. A grant from the NU Foundation provided money for the clinic to hire a research nurse who will work closely with the multidisciplinary physicians. The physicians involved with the clinic believe The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC is the ideal place for such a clinic. The medical center is home to an internationally known liver and intestinal transplant program and the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center. The Eppley Cancer Center is recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and is a founding member institution of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Doctors hope the medical center's reputation for patient care and research, along with a convenient geographic location in the center of the U.S. will make visiting the clinic a realistic option for patients from all over the country. More information can be found at http://www.nebraskamed.com/transplant or by calling 1-800-401-4444.

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There is a place where they can get it all done at one place. Our hope is to turn this disease away from being a medical curiosity into something that at the end of the day we can say that it’s a disease that’s curable.

A few years ago, I treated a patient with Carcinoid tumors, who had very extensive disease, I was told that she had no options for treatment and should really go home and live out her life it’s a slow-growing tumor. And there wasn’t anything to do. Through a variety of people, she came in contact with me and at the time, I proposed to her something fairly radical in trying to get rid of the tumors which she signed up for, which is pretty tough; couple of surgeries she had to go through, and she’s really been a crusader for us since then. And what has happened as a result of this one patient is that we’ve seen a number of other patients with Carcinoid and other neuroendocrine tumors, and has prompted us to set up a specialized clinic at The Nebraska Medical Center. We have now set up this multi-disciplinary clinic consisting of hepatobilin surgeons and medical oncologists, we even have a family care practitioner; a family doctor, at the clinic, helping us with this. We have a number of nurses. We’ve employed or in the process of employing research nurse to help us collect clinical and biological data and so what we have established is a focal point for patients to be able to refer to with us these particular tumors which are, as I said before, uncommon and not many people know what to do with it. So what the patient can experience is this; he or she will be seen by a couple (even three) physicians in that afternoon, ranging from someone taking a history and physical examination, and meeting with the medical oncologists and then meeting with the surgical oncologists (the surgeon) and then probably meeting possibly with all three (as we discussed the case). Obviously we’d sometimes with investigation that have not been done and that’s really the normal. We’d then set up the laboratory tests, radiological investigations. And a lot of those can be done from where the patient comes from and information can be sent back to us. But what we invision and what the patients can expect is a thorough consultation not only with just one physician but with a few physicians in a multi-disciplinary team where they get the opinions of both the surgical side and the medical side.

We’ve been setting up this clinic; one of the first things we consulted with was the cancer center with Dr. Cowen. He’s offered us his full resources to be able to do not just clinical research but laboratory research in this disease. Problem is there are a few drug trials going on in spotty places throughout the country, but that’s about all. I could probably count on one hand the number of people really doing any laboratory research to these diseases. The first step that we have done is employ research nurses whose then going to obviously realize with scientists and hopefully we’re going to extend the clinical research into laboratory research which we would then be able to retranslate it back into clinical results at the end of the day. What we’re offering (you know, what we want to make sure the patients have) is first and foremos) a source of information they can turn to to be able to get the latest and most up-to-date information options that are available to them. They don’t necessarily have to have those forms of treatment given or administered to them here, but they need to be made aware of what is available for them.

We’re in the center of the country; access is easy and we can offer expert advice, research and therapy, all at one place.