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Health Science Center assists Laredo radiation oncology project

San Antonio (April 2, 2003) — The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), which in December opened its first extension campus building in Laredo, is helping develop a cancer research infrastructure within the burgeoning border city through a multimillion-dollar radiation oncology project at Laredo's Mercy Health Center.

UTHSCSA's South Texas Health Research Center provided research concepts that attracted $3.44 million in funding from the National Cancer Institute for the project at Mercy Health Center's A.R. Sanchez Sr. and Iris Sanchez Stewart Cancer Center. The goal of the five-year project is to educate underserved minorities regarding preventive, screening and diagnostic procedures for cancer. This project will serve to increase Hispanic patient participation in clinical research trials. Patients are learning about advances in cancer therapies, including state-of-the-art radiation oncology procedures to precisely target tumors.

"The grant will enable us to perform clinical research in our predominantly Hispanic population with support from the San Antonio Cancer Institute and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at Houston," said Yadvindera "Bobby" Bains, M.D., director of radiation oncology at the Sanchez Cancer Center and project principal investigator.

The San Antonio Cancer Institute is a partnership of UTHSCSA and the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. The grant will fund telemedicine systems including patient exam cameras and remote-controlled microscopes for examining biopsy specimens. Interactive, real-time consultation between Laredo and San Antonio will result. Charles R. Thomas Jr., M.D., associate professor and vice chairman of radiation oncology at the Health Science Center, is co-investigator. Dr. Bains is an adjunct associate professor of radiation oncology at UTHSCSA.

Contact: Will Sansom