UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to Expand Clinical Research in Erie with Hamot Health Foundation Gift

Hillman CC Hamot Health Foundation


ERIE, Pa. — Cancer research at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center – Erie will expand significantly to provide greater access to innovative clinical trials for patients in the northwestern Pennsylvania region and surrounding communities. Thanks to a gift from the Hamot Health Foundation, the clinical research team in Erie will be bolstered to enhance the capability to screen, qualify and enroll patients for hundreds of clinical trials that would otherwise have required a trip to Pittsburgh. This initial gift will also mark the start of a larger fundraising campaign to further enhance cancer research opportunities for patients in the Erie region. 

Robert Ferris resize“We know that in 2021 alone, there were approximately 115 cancer patients from northwestern Pennsylvania and surrounding regions enrolled in one of the nearly 500 clinical trials underway at UPMC Hillman in Pittsburgh,” said Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. “By adding clinical research staff at Hillman in Erie, we are making it much easier for patients to qualify for a trial without the need to leave their own communities.”  

The $180,000 gift will fund a portion of the clinical research team as well as sophisticated laboratory processing equipment currently unavailable at UPMC Hillman Erie and necessary to participate in more complex, early phase clinical trials. 

“The mission of the Hamot Health Foundation is to advance health care in the community, especially groundbreaking initiatives that are not currently available here,” said Charles “Boo” Hagerty, chief development officer of Hamot Health Foundation. “This gift strengthens our commitment to cancer research and clinical trial access vital to our community. In support of this endeavor and to grow our Hillman Fund, our foundation is launching a $3 million campaign, which will include recognition and naming opportunities at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center – Erie.” 

Kurt Weiss resize“UPMC and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center have existed in Erie for more than two decades and together have brought leading surgeons, researchers, programs and technology to our community,” said David Gibbons, senior vice president of UPMC Health Services Division and president of UPMC Hamot. “By establishing this clinical research team, we have filled a need and taken the next step to provide high-quality, cutting-edge cancer treatment options for our patients.”

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is one of only 54 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States designated by the National Cancer Institute. Together with the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Hillman is recognized for its leadership, resources and substantial scientific research.

UPMC Hillman is also one of the largest integrated cancer networks in the country, operating nearly 70 community cancer centers, including one in Erie, as well as several internationally in Ireland and Italy. 

PHOTO DETAILS: (click images for high-res version)

First photo
CAPTION: Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Second photo
CAPTION: Kurt Weiss, M.D., Weiss Laboratory at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

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