Three specialists join the University of Chicago Cancer Center at Silver Cross

Three specialists join the University of Chicago Cancer Center at Silver Cross

October 7, 2011

Lawrence Schilder, DO, and Sunil Narula, MD, cancer specialists at the Midwest Center for Hematology/Oncology in Joliet, and Brooke Phillips, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic, have joined the University of Chicago as clinical associates to practice at the University of Chicago Cancer Center at Silver Cross, scheduled to open in spring 2012 in New Lenox, Ill.

The new $21.6 million, 20,000-square-foot outpatient cancer-treatment center, which will be on Silver Cross Hospital's replacement campus in New Lenox, is a collaboration between Silver Cross and the University of Chicago Medical Center. The partnership brings together University of Chicago specialists and their access to advanced and investigational therapies in a community hospital setting.

The facility will provide state-of-the-art chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as access to innovative clinical trials.

"This joint venture is an opportunity to bring a new level of care from one of the nation's leading cancer centers to a first-rate facility right here in the community," Schilder said. "It means the people of our region will have extraordinary access to comprehensive standard-of-care and experimental cancer therapies."

"We have already built a close relationship with many of the University physicians," he added. "Many of our patients travel to the Medical Center for second opinions, investigational therapies or access to technologies found only at a major cancer center. Often they are returned to us to implement the recommendations from the University, while receiving care in a comfortable, convenient setting. We plan to continue this partnership, to treat these patients locally, while still coordinating care with University of Chicago specialists."

"In 2012," he said, "we will move from our current location in Joliet to a state of the art multidisciplinary cancer center in New Lenox, under the University of Chicago banner. We will continue to make that level of care available close to home, without the need to travel to the downtown Chicago."

Schilder, Narula and Phillips have considerable experience as cancer specialists in academic settings.

Schilder is board-certified in internal medicine and hematology and medical oncology. He completed his oncology fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has had held academic appointments in the medical schools at UIC, Loyola University and Northwestern University. He has been caring for cancer patients in the Joliet area since 1998.

Narula completed his residency at Rush University Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in the Cancer Center at the University of California, Davis. He is board-certified in hematology/oncology and has been caring for cancer patients at the Midwest Center for Hematology/Oncology since 2004. He has a special interest in innovative therapeutics and clinical research.

"By opening up access to clinical trials and investigational therapies, becoming part of the University of Chicago team will ultimately enable us to offer better patient care and improve outcomes," Narula said. "I really enjoy taking care of patients and I'm excited about the opportunity to concentrate on that, but with the enormous academic support and educational opportunities that will come with this affiliation."

Phillips comes to the University of Chicago Cancer Center at Silver Cross from the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic where she served as chief fellow in hematology/oncology. Prior to that she completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Kentucky Medical Center where she also served as chief resident. She has a particular interest advancing cancer care through clinical trials.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to bring the most promising new approaches, enormous depth, and experience of the University of Chicago cancer experts locally to our patients," Phillips said.

"The University of Chicago maintains the largest number of active clinical trials for the treatment of cancer in Illinois," said Richard Schilsky, MD, professor of medicine and section chief of hematology/oncology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "We expect to bring a wide range of these studies to Silver Cross, including many developed by the physician-scientists at the University."

"Today, 70 percent of people diagnosed with cancer seek inpatient care outside of Will County," added Paul Pawlak, president and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital. "These people are searching for expertise, for access to new technologies, for life-saving possibilities from new clinical trials. They are traveling far to unfamiliar places searching for hope. Our solution is to bring this hope closer to home."

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