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  • Lucy De La Cruz
    January 20, 2022

    The renowned 39-year-old breast surgeon becomes youngest Latina woman to lead breast surgery program in U.S. at major academic medical center

    WASHINGTONLucy Maria De La Cruz, MD, has joined MedStar Georgetown University Hospital as chief of its Breast Surgery Program and director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center. Dr. De La Cruz is a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who specializes in advanced breast surgery procedures, including wireless lumpectomies, hidden scar technique, oncoplastic breast conservation, and nipple-sparing mastectomy. She has been published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed scientific journals, and her pivotal papers on nipple-sparing mastectomy and oncologic outcomes have been cited worldwide. She will also direct the hospital’s breast surgery fellowship program.

    Lucy De La Cruz

    “I am honored and excited to lead the breast surgery program and the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital,” said De La Cruz. “It has been my life-long dream to bring my passion for medicine, helping others and building a state-of-the-art breast surgery program to advance breast health. I look forward to working with our multidisciplinary team of breast health experts to compassionately care for, educate and empower my patients in their health journey.”

    Dr. De La Cruz is an academic breast surgeon who conducts outcomes-focused research, and among her special interests are the impact of genomic mapping to guide breast cancer treatment and male breast cancer treatment. Her work is guided by a long-standing commitment to promoting equity and efficacy in breast cancer care delivery, using the principles of value-based health care.
      
    “The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital are thrilled to have Dr. De La Cruz lead the breast surgery program. Her commitment to patients, their journey, and their outcomes are unmatched; and her expertise in novel surgical techniques brings new and beneficial options to patients,” said David H. Song, MD, MBA, FACS, Physician Executive Director, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Professor and Chair Department of Plastic Surgery, and Interim Chair, Department of Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
     
    Dr. De La Cruz’s story

    Dr. De La Cruz, 39, started her journey towards becoming the youngest Latina woman to lead a breast cancer surgery program at a major academic medical center at young age. As the daughter of international physician researchers, she spent a lot of time in labs where her parents worked, sparking her passion for medicine and “making a difference in people’s lives.” She grew up in Cuba, Mozambique, Spain, and Miami.
     
    In college, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic at the Universidad Central Del Este School of Medicine, where students were involved in patient care very early in their education and training. There, she completed her medical degree, founded an American Medical Student Association chapter and raised scholarship funds to help those who couldn’t afford tuition.

    After graduation, she was told becoming a surgeon would be nearly impossible as a foreign medical graduate and a female. Despite this, De La Cruz obtained research fellowships from the University of Miami and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She continued her journey by obtaining a one-year residency internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital at the University of Miami, where she earned the Intern of the Year award and an AOA medical honor society membership for her dedication to medical student teaching. During her residency, she worked on an award-winning oncologic outcomes research project for nipple-sparing mastectomy that continues to be cited worldwide.
     
    That same year, Dr. De La Cruz started her breast surgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Following graduation, she worked in private practice for a year before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as a faculty member in the associate program director of the breast cancer surgery fellowship program.
     
    After relocating to Washington, D.C., to be close to her family, she founded the breast cancer fellowship program curriculum at the Inova Health System. Now at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and The Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center, she continues to teach residents and fellows, pursue research, and care for patients – the fulfillment of her lifelong dream. 

    About MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

    About the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center


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  • January 17, 2018

    Led by Elissa L. Newport, PhD, the study found that a decade or two after a perinatal stroke damaged the left “language" side of the brain, affected teenagers and young adults used the right sides of their brain for language. Reported at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting, the researchers used imaging to corroborate previous research on brain-mapping. Read more.

  • January 16, 2018

    Hyattsville, MD (January 16, 2018) — Researchers at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center have again enrolled the first patient in the world in a Phase III study of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

    “We were able to enroll the first patient due to the wonderful cooperation of the whole research team – contracts, regulatory, pathology, physicians, research coordinators and pharmacists – it was the efforts of all of these people that made it happen, “ said Suman Rao, MD, lead investigator for this study and director of Thoracic Oncology at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

    Estimated enrollment for “Phase III Randomized, Double-Blind Study of Pembrolizumab plus Epacadostat vs Pembrolizumab plus placebo as First-line Treatment in Patients with Metastatic NSCLC expressing high levels of PDL1” (NCT03322540) is more than 580 patients from around the world. This study will track patient outcomes through progression-free survival and overall survival rates at over 160 locations. This study is sponsored by Incyte Corporation and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.

     “Special recognition goes to Jean Flack for her commitment to this study. She went the extra length and her persistence was what resulted in making this milestone,” said Dr. Rao.

    The clinical trials program at The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute is one of the largest in the state. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute is known for its use of advanced treatment options. State-of-the-art technologies for surgery and radiation therapy are designed to minimize adverse side effects, promote faster healing, and bring about remission rates.

    The Weinberg Cancer Institute was also the first in the world to enroll a patient in another Phase III study, “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Phase III Study of Carboplatin-Paclitaxel/Nab-Paclitaxel Chemotherapy With or Without Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) in First Line Metastatic Squamous Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Subjects (KEYNOTE-407)” (NCT02775435) in 2016.


    About MedStar Health Research Institute
    The MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MHRI provides scientific, administrative and regulatory support for research programs throughout the MedStar Health system. MHRI’s expertise includes translational research into disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. These programs complement the key clinical services and teaching programs in the 10 MedStar hospitals and other MedStar entities. For more information, visit www.MedStarResearch.org

  • January 16, 2018
    Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety (PFACQS), Fall 2017

    PFACQS stands for Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety. It is a committee that meets quarterly and is made up of hospital associates and patients, family members of patients and community members. Its mission is to work together to help each MedStar hospital continuously improve safety and quality of care, with an ongoing commitment to put patients first.

    “This is where I come to make a difference,” said Carlene Davenport, one of the members who represent the community on the PFACQS Committee. “It’s important this hospital keeps striving. I tell people: I guarantee you, they’re working and they’re making improvements. Like with voting, you have to participate to make a difference and this is where I come to be an active participant in my community.”

    At the beginning of summer, the PFACQS Committee met to discuss great strides the hospital has made to reach out to the community. These efforts included running smoking cessation courses and establishing the Transitional Care Clinic (TCC), which provides care and resources to patients who have left the hospital but have not yet seen their primary care physician. In the future, the hospital plans to hold additional courses and screenings, such as this summer’s Living Well courses dealing with chronic pain management, and a lung cancer screening to be held in August. The TCC is also expected to expand services to patients who need diabetes management and palliative (end of life) care.

    “When MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center put out the message we were seeking PFACQS Committee members, the response was overwhelming,” said MedStar Southern Maryland President Christine Wray. “We are so proud of this committee and their important work. We want real, honest feedback, and they aren’t afraid to give it to us. This helps us tremendously, both as we identify ways we can improve, and also ways we can let the community know the great things that are happening here.”

    MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center thanks all members of our committee and dedicates itself to incorporating the work of PFACQS into our daily operations. Visit MedStarSouthernMaryland.org/PFACQS for more information on MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center's PFACQS Committee.

  • January 15, 2018

     

    Columbia, MD (March 15, 2018)—MedStar Health is pleased to announce a collaboration with Inivata, a global clinical cancer genomics company using an industry-leading liquid biopsy platform to transform patient care. With the collaboration, MedStar Health, and specifically the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, will join the Inivata Knowledge Accumulation Network (IKAN).

    IKAN is a global network of world-leading cancer centers working in partnership with Inivata to assess the potential of liquid biopsy and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis - a tool for oncologists to detect cancer, identify groups of patients with shared biological characteristics, and monitor individual response to treatment. MedStar joins Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute and West Cancer Center as pioneering members of IKAN.

    MedStar cares for thousands of cancer patients and survivors through the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, a network of four MedStar hospitals combining forces to advance cancer care throughout metropolitan Washington, D.C., In collaboration with the MedStar Health Research Institute, MedStar is increasing its capabilities in precision cancer genomics. “The IKAN initiative is a highly innovative way of bringing together experts from a number of cancer centers to address a common goal of improving cancer treatment decisions and outcomes for patients. We look forward to working with the Inivata team and the wider network to build knowledge around how best to apply ctDNA analysis to improve cancer care,” said Stephen R. T. Evans, MD, executive vice president for Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for MedStar Health.

     “By participating in the IKAN, we’ll have access to a critical mass of biological samples and clinical data for use in unique research for our community in the fast emerging ctDNA area,” said Neil Weissman, MD, president of the MedStar Health Research Institute and chief scientific officer for MedStar Health. “Inivata is a global leader in clinical cancer genomics and will greatly expand our ability to conduct gene-based, cancer research.”

    MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute’s research engine is the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, the area’s only center to earn the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) distinction as a comprehensive cancer center – one of fewer than 50 in the United States to hold this designation. Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute and Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, stated that, “We are delighted to be among the first cancer institutes in the world to join IKAN. Together we will work on a variety of clinical projects spread across a broad range of cancer types to accelerate the development and practice of precision cancer genomics.”

    Under an initial agreement, MedStar principally will collect lung, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer blood samples at its most active cancer programs throughout the ten-hospital system for research and storage. Blood collection at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital via Inivata’s liquid biopsy platform has already begun and is supporting treatment decisions for lung cancer patients.

     


    About MedStar Health Research Institute

    The MedStar Health Research Institute is the research arm of MedStar Health, the largest healthcare provider in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MHRI provides scientific, administrative and regulatory support for research programs throughout the MedStar Health system. MHRI’s expertise includes translational research into disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. These programs complement the key clinical services and teaching programs in the 10 MedStar hospitals and other MedStar entities. For more information, visit www.MedStarResearch.org.

    About MedStar Health

    MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit www.MedStarHealth.org.

    About Inivata

    Inivata is a global clinical cancer genomics company utilizing a proprietary, industry-leading liquid biopsy platform to transform patient care.  Using a simple blood test (liquid biopsy), the analysis of ctDNA is a new lower-cost, less invasive, highly sensitive method for oncologists to diagnose and monitor cancer progression and treatment. The InVision™ liquid biopsy platform is based on pioneering research from the Rosenfeld Lab at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK-CI), University of Cambridge, combines industry-leading sensitivity with select multi-gene panels to provide clinically actionable information to clinicians. Inivata has established collaborations with world-leading cancer centers and academic institutions, and is partnering with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  The Company has a CLIA lab in Research Triangle Park, NC and laboratories in Cambridge, UK. For more information, please go to www.inivata.com. Follow us on Twitter @Inivata.

  • January 15, 2018

    MedStar Health has partnered with Inivata to join the Inivata Knowledge Accumulation Network (IKAN) to help transform patient care for oncology patients. Inivata, a global clinical cancer genomics company using an industry-leading liquid biopsy platform, is building IKAN as a global network of world-leading cancer centers to assess the potential of liquid biopsy and circulating tumor DNA. MedStar, specifically the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute, joins Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute and West Cancer Center as pioneering members of IKAN.  Read more.

  • January 15, 2018
    Program is the Only One FACT Accredited in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area