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Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Program

Our Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Multidisciplinary Team directs one of only 14 National Cancer Institute-funded Phase I programs in the country, and the only one of its kind in Michigan. This unique program conducts clinical research studies with new investigational cancer drugs .  Phase 1 trials are the first stage of clinical trials in the careful process of developing new cancer treatments.  A typical Phase I clinical trial evaluates how a new drug should be given, either orally or injected into the blood, how often and what dosage is safe. A Phase I trial is often the first time a drug has been given to human, or the first time a new drug has been given to a human in combination with another standard cancer treatment. Because we are working with new drugs, most Phase I trials only enroll a small number of patients.  The team meets with and treats patients at the state-of-the-art Eisenberg Center for Translational Therapeutics, located at the Karmanos Cancer Center’s midtown Detroit campus.

Karmanos’ Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Specialists

The Phase I Team is comprised of members from an array of clinical sub-specialties at Karmanos. They collaborate to create the best treatment plans for each patient. The Phase I Team works across all Karmanos multidisciplinary teams to ensure that eligible patients are aware of their clinical trial options. 

Phase I Team Qualifications

Members of the Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Team are highly experienced physicians with expertise in conducting advanced research trials and developing improved treatments and new drugs for cancer patients.

Dr. Patricia LoRusso, D.O., professor of medicine and director of the Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Team, is an expert in the multidisciplinary care of breast cancer. She has been instrumental in developing many of the new drugs and therapies used in the clinic. In addition, Dr. LoRusso was selected to co-lead a prestigious Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) - Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) Dream Team. She will help direct some of the nation’s leading cancer experts to find more effective treatments for an aggressive form of skin cancer.

Evaluation & Diagnosis

Each patient receives personal attention from the Phase I Team. All patients considered for a Phase I clinical trial must go through an initial screening consultation to determine if they are eligible for a research study and if a clinical trial is their best treatment option.

During your initial visit, a Phase I Team physician will evaluate you and review your medical records. The physician will discuss treatment recommendations with you, your family and your referring physician. After all parties agree upon the treatment recommendation, you will need to sign consent forms to participate in the clinical trial. Patient safety and care are our top priorities. Phase I Team physicians, along with Phase 1 nurse practitioners and physician assistants will monitor you very carefully for any changes in your condition and will maintain close contact with your referring physician. You may opt out of a clinical trial at any time.

Due to the complicated nature of research studies, treatment may begin several weeks after your initial appointment. All clinical trials are conducted under specific Wayne State University Institutional Review Board and KCI scientific peer-review approval.

Innovative, Individualized Care

Here’s what patients can expect from our Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Multidisciplinary Team:
  • A passionate, caring, expert team, giving you the best chance of success.
  • A collaborative approach that considers all available treatment options for your specific type of cancer.
  • A carefully constructed treatment plan designed to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Respectful, compassionate care that is responsive to your emotional needs and lifestyle.
  • Proactive, timely communication with you and your loved ones, and your personal physician.

Meet Our Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Multidisciplinary Team

Team Leader
Patricia LoRusso, D.O., Medical Oncology 

Medical Oncologist
Muaiad Kittaneh, M.D.

Gynecologic Oncology
Shelly Seward, M.D.

Phase 1 Clinical Staff
Lisa Malburg, MSN, RN, NP, AOCN, Lead Phase 1 Research Nurse Practitioner
Gail Newth, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, Phase 1 Research Nurse Practitioner
Mary Jo Pilat, Ph.D., M.S., PA-C, Phase 1 Research Physician Assistant
Leah Plato, M.S., Phase 1 Research Physician Assistant
Denise Weiss, APRN, BC, Phase 1 Research Nurse Practitioner
Kelly Wilson, R.N., Phase 1 Research Nurse Practitioner

Andrea Smoots, RN, Clinical Leader, Eisenberg Phase 1 Infusion
Julie Ellis, RN, Eisenberg Phase 1 Infusion
Lynn Perkowski, RN, Eisenberg Phase 1 Infusion
Angela Saputo, RN, Eisenberg Phase 1 Infusion
Jamie Allen, OCA, Eisenberg Phase 1 Infusion
Jennifer Parker, OCA, Eisenberg Phase 1 Infusion

Andrea House, RN, Phase 1 Clinic
Iris Burman, ACA, Phase 1 Clinic
Jackie Deleon, ACA, Phase 1 Clinic
Monica Jordan, ACA, Phase 1 Clinic
Renita May, ACA, Phase 1 Clinic

Jasmin Fields, Phase 1 Customer Service Specialist
De’Etta Snodgrass, Phase 1 Customer Service Specialist
Denee Swafford, Phase 1 Customer Service Specialist
Yolanda Wilson, Phase 1 Customer Service Specialist

Phase 1 Study Staff
Hamdy Elsayed, Phase 1 Eligibility Coordinator
Lisa Fox, Phase 1 Eligibility Coordinator
Mioka Hobson, Phase 1 Eligibility Coordinator
Paula Techmire, Phase 1 Eligibility Coordinator

Appointment Information 

To schedule an appointment with the Karmanos Phase I Clinical-Pharmacology Team, call (313) 576-8765 or request an appointment online.


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