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Published on April 29, 2014

Marsha and Jimmy Gibbs Make Significant Contribution

Marsha and Jimmy Gibbs, Spartanburg business leaders and long-time supporters of the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, announced a gift of $250,000 towards cancer research today.

The gift from the Gibbs will go towards the Gibbs Health Institute (GHI), a new national initiative that will revolutionize the way clinical trials are done and how personalized medicine is delivered in the community setting. This new model combines clinical trials and genetic testing to revolutionize cancer care nationwide and will be a national network of cancer centers, community hospitals and hospital systems.

“We are humbled and inspired by the extraordinary generosity of Jimmy and Marsha Gibbs,” said Bruce Holstien, Chief Executive Officer for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. “They continuously work to ensure that our patients have access to the latest treatments in cancer care.”

The GHI network, due to its size and geographic reach, will be uniquely positioned to lead the path to personalized cancer care during the next decade.

“This is all about patients. The GHI network will be able to set new community standards for genetic testing in cancer patients, and with adoption, they will rapidly become the new standard of care nationwide,” said Timothy Yeatman, M.D., Ph.D., Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute President. “GHI will collaborate with network physicians and set quality standards and metrics regarding clinical trial activities and genetic testing.

GHI will provide the forum for sharing best practices and training of physicians in personalized medicine. GHI seeks to reduce the time it takes for a patient to find a clinical trial.

This national health initiative will perform trials in a smarter, better and faster way than has ever been attempted before. The best clinical trials will soon be made available to the local communities where more than 80 percent of patients are actually treated. Thus, trials will be brought to patients, instead of the current practice of sending patients to trials (out-of-town).

“Currently, there is no easy way for a patient to navigate the complex task of finding a suitable drug trial. This often takes far too much time with the end result being that most patients miss the golden window of opportunity to participate in a potentially life-saving trial,” said Mark Watson, M.D., Ph.D., Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute Chief Operating Officer. “GHI will change this by rapidly identifying trials for patients in a matter of weeks rather than months to a year.”

Finally, participation in clinical trials requires a level of rigor and meticulous care that raises the bar for all who participate.

“We believe that participating centers will experience a collective enhancement in the quality of care delivered,” said Watson.

Using sophisticated data warehousing approaches, based on collecting and collating real-time electronic medical record (EMR) data from hundreds of hospitals, eligible patients will be rapidly identified as trial candidates. Through these and other activities, this initiative will improve the reputations of its members and ultimately reduce the need for patients to leave the community for the best continuum of cancer care.

This national health initiative’s success requires the commitment of community-based hospitals around the country to invest funds expected to exceed $25 million dollars. This level of investment is necessary to lay the groundwork for this extensive project and allow us to achieve critical mass and scale necessary in this collaboration. The scope and breadth of this project is beyond any other undertaken by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System to date, and will require commitments from multiple health systems to launch this project.

GHI services are expected to be available once 8-10 partners have signed on with this national health initiative. It is anticipated that this initiative will create more than 100 high-paying jobs and bring substantial national investments into the community.

For more information, please contact the media pager at 253-7561.

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