TGH and USF Health approved for membership in Children’s Oncology Group

Tampa, FL (June 4, 2013) – Tampa General Hospital’s Children’s Medical Center and USF Health recently earned admission into the world’s largest organization focused exclusively on pediatric cancer research. The Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a National Cancer Institute-supported clinical trials group, approved TGH as a new member institution and appointed Dr. Cameron Tebbi, of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, as its principal investigator.

Pediatric cancer is relatively uncommon, with one to two children developing the disease each year for every 10,000 children in the United States, according to the NCI.  By offering multisite clinical studies at more than 200 participating institutions worldwide, COG can enroll sufficient numbers of qualifying pediatric patients and families to clearly evaluate the effectiveness of new diagnostics, treatments or other interventions.

“COG membership will greatly advance the services that the Tampa General Hospital Children’s Medical Center and USF Pediatrics can offer our child and adolescent patients with cancer or blood disorders,” said Dr. Tebbi, USF professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
 
“We have many talented physicians, scientists, nurses and pharmacists who can collaborate with other COG institutions, contribute to the development of new protocols, and help set the national research agenda for pediatric cancer. Our goal is to improve the survival and quality of life of children with cancer.”

The expertise of Dr. Tebbi and others on his team helped the TGH Children’s Medical Center meet the rigorous criteria required for membership in COG. 

Dr. Tebbi has written several clinical protocols, or standardized treatment guidelines, for patients enrolled in COG trials, including a widely-used protocol for patients with early-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma. USF Health/TGH pediatric surgeon Dr. Charles Paidas, also a longstanding individual member of COG, has served on several review committees. 

More than 90 percent of U.S. children diagnosed with cancer are treated at COG member institutions, which provide multidisciplinary care and comprehensive support services.   More than 8,000 childhood cancer experts are individual members of COG at their participating member institutions — hospitals, universities and cancer centers in North America, New Zealand and Europe.

COG has played a pivotal role in transforming childhood cancer from a virtually incurable disease 50 years ago to one with a combined five-year survival rate of 80 percent today.  The group has nearly 100 active clinical and translational trials open at any given time, including studies in new cancer drug development, supportive care, epidemiology, stem cell transplantation, behavioral sciences and survivorship.

In addition to Dr. Tebbi, Dr. Juan Felipe Rico, USF assistant professor of pediatrics, and Mindy Kimpland, ARNP, were instrumental in helping the TGH Children’s Medical Center achieve COG institutional membership.

 -Tampa General Hospital-

 Tampa General Hospital is a 1,018 bed acute care hospital and is the only Level 1 trauma center on the west coast of Florida. It is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. It also serves as the region’s only burn center, adult solid organ transplant center and provides specialized rehabilitation services. Tampa General has established centers of excellence in the following clinical areas: cardiac, neurosciences, digestive disorders, orthopedics, infectious disease, high risk and normal obstetrics, and pediatrics. 

-USF Health-

USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. The University of South Florida is a global research university ranked 50th in the nation by the National Science Foundation for both federal and total research expenditures among all U.S. universities. For more information, visit www.health.usf.edu