Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, at LSU Health Shreveport, began as a Center for Excellence in Cancer Treatment, Research, Education and Prevention by an act of the Louisiana Board of Regents in 1993.
The Center was named Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in 1997 following a generous philanthropic gift to honor the Feist and Weiller families. The gift allowed construction of a 60,000-square foot outpatient cancer center designed to enable multidisciplinary interactions. The four-story building that opened in 2004 is also home to one of the eight St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Affiliate Programs outside Memphis. Housed in the outpatient treatment building are an Adult Oncology Clinic, Breast Cancer Clinic, digital mammography, diagnostic radiology, CT, Surgical Oncology, ENT Oncology, GYN Oncology, clinical cancer research and Feist-Weiller Cancer Center administration. Two OR suites and two endoscopy suites housed in the outpatient treatment building provide comprehensive cancer care for patients at one location.
Founding Director Jonathan Glass, MD, FACP was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, Professor of Medicine at LSU Health Shreveport, and the first Carroll W. Feist Professor of Cancer Research. Dr. Glass arrived at LSU Health Shreveport in 1986. With colleagues Glenn Mills, MD, FACP and Gary Burton, MD, Dr. Glass oversaw the number of cancer patients who are diagnosed and receive their first course of therapy each year at LSU Health Shreveport triple from 400 to 1,200 new patients. Patients are also seen at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – Monroe Medical Center and DeSoto Regional Hospital in Mansfield. Statistical analysis proves that cancer patients treated by Feist-Weiller Cancer Center physicians experience outcomes at least as successful as the national average and far better than the Louisiana state average.
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center is a matrix organization with three divisions: the Division of Clinical Cancer Research, the Division of Basic and Translational Cancer Research, and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. Currently there are more than 50 faculty members in 10 different departments. The Division of Clinical Cancer Research based on a high volume clinical practice engages in multidisciplinary and translational cancer research; treats patients with cutting-edge treatment methods with innovative investigator designed studies; provides access to national cancer clinical trials; and educates both physicians and Louisiana communities about the prevention, treatment and the science of cancer. Active clinical programs have fostered development of a strong clinical research unit funded for many years by the NCI. Feist-Weiller Cancer Center has the distinction of enrolling onto clinical trials African-American patients in the same proportion as represented by the patient population, making Feist-Weiller Cancer Center one of the leading enrollers of African-American patients onto cancer clinical trials. The addition of new patients allows for a Hemtology/Oncology Fellowship training program with 17 Fellows that is the largest in Louisiana and one of the largest in the South.
Tertiary care in the Clinical Division includes autologous and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT), high-dose chemotherapy, sickle cell service, surgical oncology, and head and neck oncology. Surgical Oncology at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center is directed by internationally-recognized surgical oncologists who conduct laboratory programs that focus on translational research in breast cancer. Studies show that all breast cancer patients at various stages of the disease regardless of ethnicity experience better clinical outcomes at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center than at other cancer centers in Louisiana and across the nation (National Cancer DataBase). Similarly, head and neck oncology is a premiere program with significant NCI funding and recognition. Their team of physicians is involved in bringing novel molecular targeted therapeutics, chemopreventive agents and state-of-the-art rehabilitative techniques to head and neck cancer patients through a multidisciplinary, comprehensive team approach. This multidisciplinary approach from different experts effectively shortens time from diagnosis to definitive treatment.
The Division of Basic and Translational Cancer Research encourages strong collaboration among basic research scientists and clinicians to increase the understanding of the mechanisms that regulate cancer formation and progression, and to develop novel techniques to detect and treat cancer. Three scientific programs that facilitate patient care at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center are the programs of Tumor Virology, Cancer Cell Biology (includes focus groups in Cell Motility and Invasion, Protein Synthesis and Cancer, Vascular Biology) and Translational Cancer Research (includes focus groups in Experimental Cancer Therapeutics, Urologic Cancers, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer).
Through the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Feist-Weiller Cancer Center developed the Partners in Wellness program to reduce the burden of cancer in Louisiana through early detection and preventive education. The program educates tens of thousands of Louisiana citizens about the importance of annual cancer screenings and provides tests for prostate, colorectal, breast and cervical cancer. Partners in Wellness operates a mobile screening unit equipped with digital mammography equipment that allows tests to be read real-time by LSU Health Shreveport physicians. A partnership with the Louisiana Rural Health Initiative and the Rapides Foundation allows Partners in Wellness to supply the first medical interactions for many Louisianans. As a result, it is now common for new cancer patients to seek treatment at the early stages of their disease when the disease is most treatable.