Gynecologic oncology at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) offers patients the absolute latest in comprehensive care, backed by translational research and a team of compassionate and dedicated physicians and other healthcare professionals.
NorthShore specialists are members of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored clinical trial group Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), and we are actively involved in many novel clinical trials for the treatment of women’s cancers, as well as helping to set the agenda for these trials on a national basis. The division’s clinical trials and translational research program is led by Jean Hurteau, MD. Carolyn Kirschner, MD, heads the division’s minimally invasive program.
The Division of Gynecologic Oncology at NorthShore was awarded the 2010 Professional Research Consultants (PRC) Excellence in Healthcare 5-Star Award. This is given to the outpatient practices that score in the top 10 percent nationally for Overall Quality of Care in PRC’s National Client Database. Led by Gustavo Rodriguez, MD, the Matthews Family Chair of Gynecologic Oncology Research, the Division also received an internal award for each of the last four quarters from the NorthShore Medical Group for being a top practice, as measured by quality and patient and referring physician loyalty scores.
We see patients at all four NorthShore hospitals, as the program was expanded in 2010 and now includes Skokie Hospital. Our patients have the benefit of a multidisciplinary team including geneticists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, gynecological oncologists and an array of support services.
The minimally invasive surgery program harnesses the most advanced technology to offer patients the latest options and surgical procedures, which are followed by shorter hospital stays, less pain and quicker recovery. Our program for robotic surgery for endometrial cancers is now fully implemented.
Promising research is a major priority of NorthShore’s gynecologic oncology program. Dr. Rodriguez received a $3 million federal grant to further his research aimed at developing a pharmacological strategy to prevent ovarian and endometrial cancer. The project entitled “Development of Vitamin D and Progestins for the Chemoprevention of Endometrial Cancer” will include bench research, a clinical trial and a collaborative study with epidemiologists at Harvard University.
Dr. Rodriguez was also the recipient of a $1 million award from The Auxiliary of NorthShore at Evanston & Glenbrook Hospitals to fund “Development of Vitamin D and Progestins for the Chemoprevention of Ovarian Cancer,” and to support development of a Clinical Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program at NorthShore. His research was further supported with a $75,000 award from Bears Care, the charitable organization of the Chicago Bears, to support ovarian cancer prevention research.
The Principal Investigator for National GOG protocol 214, Dr. Rodriguez is evaluating pro-gestins as cancer preventive agents in women at increased risk of ovarian cancer, and has reached 50 percent accrual for this trial.
Dr. Hurteau was the Principal Investigator of GOG protocol 198, a randomized Phase III trial of Tamoxifen versus Thalidomide in a specific subset of recurrent ovarian cancer patients, the results of which have been hailed as changing the paradigm in ovarian cancer and showing Tamoxifen is a beneficial treatment option. He is now involved in a new trial, GOG 262, studying the use of Avastin for ovarian cancer patients.
NorthShore’s Division of Gynecologic Oncology hosted the gynecologic cancer survivors course by the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation in November 2010. Recognized nationally as leaders, Dr. Rodriguez was an invited lecturer at the annual Society of Gynecologic Oncologists Research State of the Art Conference in Washington, DC, and Dr. Hurteau made a plenary presentation at the annual Society of Gynecologic Oncologists meeting.
Our academic affiliation with the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine remains an integral part of our program, and Dr. Hurteau received a teaching award this year for his excellent mentorship of residents and students. A fellowship training program in gynecologic oncology is in development.
Dr. Kirschner and her family went on a six-month medical mission to Nigeria, where she performed more than 200 vesicovaginal fistula operations, thus helping to restore continence and functionality to women with fistulas.
For more information, call 847.570.2639.
Center for Medical Genetics Director Dr. Wendy Rubinstein
NorthShore University HealthSystem’s (NorthShore) Center for Medical Genetics, led by Wendy Rubinstein, MD, PhD, is one of the most active centers in the United States in terms of patient volume and clinical care, while also being highly engaged in national and international research efforts.
The Center provides excellent clinical consultations, meeting with all types of cancer patients and those at risk for familial cancers, and working collaboratively with referring physicians and families to help individuals make their best personal decisions based on their genetic profiles and the most up-to-date knowledge in the field.
Dr. Rubinstein and her team played an important role in establishing the multidisciplinary clinic for high-risk colon cancer patients at NorthShore. Every single case of diagnosed colon cancer at NorthShore is studied with an eye toward early identification of Lynch Syndrome.
The Center is involved in research across a variety of tumor sites including breast and prostate, where recent studies have drawn international attention. Dr. Rubinstein was co-author of a landmark study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). A definitive study on BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutation and prophylactic surgery showed high-risk women who underwent preventive mastectomy and/or removal of their fallopian tubes and ovaries not only had an associated decreased risk of those same cancers but also had dramatically reduced chances of dying.
Research related to our pancreatic family registry is focused on identifying some new susceptibility genes, and a new protocol related to melanoma is also aimed at identifying genetic markers.
Dr. Rubinstein is participating in a mini-sabbatical at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Her presence and networking at National Institutes of Health (NIH) headquarters will help NorthShore leverage its genetics program, backed by our outstanding Electronic Medical Records (EMR), to remain at the forefront of outcomes research.
For more information, call 847.570.1029.