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Hoag Brings Tomorrow’s Treatments to OC Today

Hoag not only offers the most cutting-edge medical treatments; but helps to discover them.

With an ever-expanding list of hundreds of open clinical trials, the Hoag Center for Research and Education is transforming what is possible in care for Orange County today – and what will be available for the rest of the world tomorrow.

Trials in neurology, cardiac care, cancer, women’s health, diabetes, gastrointestinal health and COVID complement the high-quality care of Hoag’s clinical institutes, giving Orange County patients an invaluable advantage in their care. Work done at Hoag since the beginning of the pandemic has provided COVID-19 patients across the globe with life-saving treatments.

“As a top medical facility, we are involved in a breadth of research programs that give patients faster and safer access to the best that medicine has to offer,” said Deborah Fridman, Psy.D., R.N., director of Clinical Research at Hoag.

In COVID-19 research, for example, Hoag was amongst the highest enrolling site in the nation for remdesivir, the antiviral drug that has now become the standard for COVID-19 care. Hoag also helped uncover the value of convalescent plasma, or blood plasma taken from people who have recovered from COVID-19, in treating people who are severely sick from the disease. And in the fall, Hoag became the first site in the nation to test a COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed by NantKwest and ImmunityBio.

“Hoag patients are contributing to our understanding of a pandemic and how it can be stopped. It speaks volumes about Hoag, our patient population, medical research, and the benefit of clinical trials,” Fridman said.

The Hoag Center for Research and Education has grown substantially over the last few years, from a team of eight who oversaw around 30 trials to 40 employees, ranging from registered nurses, research coordinators to experts in research finance and regulation. This knowledgeable, robust team enables physicians from all disciplines to incorporate important research into their practice.

Hoag Family Cancer Institute is the largest phase 1 clinical trial program in Orange County. These phase 1 trials bring new drug therapies to cancer patients, including cell therapy drugs that target tumor cells using a patient’s own immune system.

The Hoag Family Cancer Institute and Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute at Hoag were the first in the nation to offer a clinical trial for pritumumab, a novel immunotherapy treatment that holds considerable promise for glioblastoma (GBM), the deadliest form of brain cancer.

The Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, Women’s Health Institute and Digestive Health Institute are also participating in trials that allow physicians at Hoag to expand the scope and depth of the care they provide patients.

Hoag’s trials even inform the treatment patients receive at their primary care physician’s offices. Hoag Medical Group, for example, is enrolling patients in trials for asthma, HIV, psoriasis and more. By supporting primary care physicians with the financial and regulatory aspects of the trials, Hoag frees physicians up to do the work that will most benefit their patients.

“There is no limit,” Fridman said. “HMG is interested in prevention, and they are moving more into prevention trials, looking at ways to prevent terrible diseases.”

Fridman said that Hoag’s processes allow it to move more nimbly to respond to requests from researchers, the medical industry and government agencies. While many academic institutions take five to 12 months to open a trial, Hoag is able to open a trial to patients in four to six weeks.

Other cancer trials include an immunotherapy agent by NantKwest and ImmunityBio for treatment of multiple types of cancer, including late stage pancreatic cancer. Hoag is the only site in Orange County offering access to this trial.

Pancreatic cancer has a very low survival rate. This offers a deeper level of hope for people with pancreatic cancer that it could be an effective treatment that could extend your life,” Fridman said. “It’s just such an important opportunity, and I think it’s important that patients know that at Hoag they have access to the latest and greatest treatment options before they even come on the market.”