About the Relationship Between the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Network


SINCE ITS AFFILIATION WITH DUKE MEDICINE IN 2006, THE INDIAN RIVER MEDICAL CENTER’S most recent affiliation with Duke is when the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center joined the Duke Cancer Network.

The Duke Cancer Network brings the experience of Duke healthcare professionals and an array of oncology-related programs to a regional network of community health providers, of which the Indian River Medical Center is one. These programs share Duke’s commitment to excellence in cancer care through patient care, clinical research, and education.

One example of the experience of Duke Healthcare professionals is when in April, 2015, a team of brain tumor researchers led by Duke Medicine scientists were selected by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) for their accomplishments in expanding the scientific knowledge about the biology of glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, the most common and lethal type of brain cancer.

The multi-site team was led by Darell D. Bigner, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Institute at Duke University School of Medicine. Of the 26 members on the team, 19 were from Duke Medicine. The winning team collectively received a $50,000 prize.

Among the accomplishments cited by AACR is the group’s identification of major genetic defects in GBM tumors, including abnormalities that appear to define a subgroup of less lethal GBMs.

The team was also recognized for developing a therapeutic vaccine that is currently being tested in an international phase III clinical trial; targeted immunotoxins that are in various stages of studies; and a genetically modified poliovirus that has shown promise as a therapy to kill tumor cells in a phase I trial.

Additionally, U.S. News and World Report, based on an evaluation of 5,000 hospitals in the United States, through surveys with more than 140,000 physicians, ranked Duke University Hospital # 27 as the best hospital in the nation for adult cancer.

The Duke Cancer Network affiliation with the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center is tailored to its needs, with services ranging from clinical services to benchmarking to consultative program assessment and development.

It capitalizes on Duke’s strengths in oncology and provides one collaborative group to bring these strengths into local community practices, allowing the Network to leverage specialized knowledge in research, clinical practice, practice management, program development, and continuing medical education to improve cancer care delivery to our affiliates through the Southeast.

It provides physicians in affiliated communities access to cutting-edge research programs and provides education and training programs to physicians, nurses, and other health professionals; also providing new cancer education initiatives directed at patients in the communities. Through these affiliations, patients also have opportunities to participate in clinical trials utilizing a variety of new cancer treatments across all major cancer sites.

The Scully-Welsh Cancer Center’s affiliations with the Duke Cancer Network is customized within two primary areas of focus: 

Program Development Affiliation
In response to development, growth, and expansion needs of hospitals not within ready geographic proximity to Durham, NC, the Duke Cancer Network offers a Program Development Affiliation.

This affiliation combines consultative management and administrative functions outlined in the management affiliation, clinical relationships between community-based providers and faculty/staff at Duke, with the development and management of a clinical trials program outlined in the research affiliation.

The robust Program Development relationship offers the opportunity for customization depending on the capabilities, needs, and interests of the affiliate organization, with the intent of providing full-spectrum comprehensive oncology services. Programmatic development can be comprehensive, or can center on a specific subspecialty program, such as bone marrow transplant.

Current program development affiliates include:

▪    Augusta Health, Fishersville, VA

▪    Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Beaufort, SC

▪    Indian River Medical Center, Vero Beach, FL

▪    Lexington Medical Center, Columbia, SC

▪    Marquette General Hospital, Marquette, MI

Research Affiliation
Many oncology programs reach a point in development where quality patient care and clinical operations are in place. They realize that the standard of care for oncology services includes providing patient access to research and clinical trials.

A research affiliation with the Duke Cancer Network offers assistance with development and ongoing management of a quality clinical trials program, as well as access to Duke investigator-initiated studies, national cooperative group trials, pharmaceutical industry studies, and collaborative research.

Current research affiliates include:

▪    Alamance Regional Medical Center, Burlington, NC

▪    Augusta Health, Fishersville, VA

▪    Gwinnett Medical Center, Lawrenceville, GA and Duluth, GA

▪    Indian River Medical Center, Vero Beach, FL

▪    Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, SC

▪    Marquette General Hospital, Marquette, MI

▪    Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, SC

▪    Virginia Oncology Associates, Norfolk, VA

Next week we hope to provide a follow-up article with answers to the following questions:

Do people from Duke come here and if so what do they do?

Do people from here go there and if so what do they do?

Is Duke only used if IRMC needs help – or is there some ongoing regimen (e.g. weekly conference calls).

Does IRMC share medical records with Duke so Duke can help evaluate cases and assist with best practices etc.

How much did it cost to become affiliated and is there an ongoing cost?

Did IRMC need to become affiliated with Duke in order to develop the SW Center?

2 thoughts on “About the Relationship Between the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Network

  1. I am pleased that you are informing the residents of IRC about the Scully-Welsh Cancer Center.
    The importance of the affiliation with Duke Medicine cannot be overstated.

    One unique feature of the SWCC is the fact that it will offer superior care to patients whose lives have been impacted by a malignancy. And when the Center does not have the expertise to provide state-of-the-art care for a particular type of malignancy, the SWCC Navigation program will identify the appropriate cancer centers in the country where the patient can find the best care. In addition the Navigators will help the patient schedule an appointment and be sure their records, including lab data and imaging studies such as MRIs & CT scans, will be sent to the institution.
    And the IRMC pathology department, because of new cutting edge technology, has the ability to send biopsy slides to any hospital or cancer in the world by internet immediately.

    Richard Milsten, M.D.

  2. Pingback: Dr. Richard Milsten Responds to Scully-Welsh and Doctor Shortage Articles | Vero Communiqué

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