One of Kentucky’s most well-known cancer treatment centers is receiving a multi-million dollar grant to find new treatments and vaccines.
The James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville announced Friday that they have been given a three-year, $5.5 million dollar grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.
The Center’s director, Doctor Donald Miller, says the grant will help continue a partnership between U of L and Owensboro Health that is exploring the use of plant-based pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
“We have two vaccines--one for cervical cancer, one for colon cancer that are ready to move forward into early phase clinical trials, and this grant will primarily support the testing of those vaccines over the next three years,” Dr. Miller said.
The grant will also seek to further develop plant-based drugs that would allow a higher concentration of anti-cancer drugs to be delivered to tumors.
A new multi-year agreement means Owensboro Health will be taking over operations at Muhlenberg Community Hospital. The three-year contract officially takes effect May 1st, but hospital officials say the transition process has already begun. Owensboro Health President and CEO Philip Patterson says his company was looking for a “new and emerging” partner.
“We, as Owensboro Health are not looking to own all the hospitals and health networks of western Kentucky,” said Patterson "We’re looking for those established networks that will allow us to partner and bring the best and highest-quality of care to western Kentucky."
Patterson says residents in Muhlenberg County won’t notice any drastic, immediate changes.
“Our hope is that they will not see any significant change when it comes to the staffing or the look of Muhlenberg Community Hospital, unless it’s to the betterment of the hospital itself,” said Patterson.
Ed Heath, who has been with Owensboro Health since 2008, has been named the CEO of Muhlenberg Community Hospital. He’ll oversee the hospital’s 450 employees.
A Muhlenberg County health clinic will soon begin operating as part of the Owensboro Health network. Dr. Marshall Prunty founded Family Practices of Greenville, PSC, 29 years ago. Dr. Prunty says it has become too difficult for a small operation such as his to keep up with the paperwork and filings related to the Affordable Care Act, Hippa, and other regulations.
"It gets to the point where I probably almost need two or three people just to take care of the regulations. And in a small, independent office, you just don't really have the resources to do that,” Dr. Prunty told WKU Public Radio.
Dr. Prunty's office will begin operating as Owensboro Health Multicare Greenville on May 1st.
His office provides family medical care for children and adults, as well as on-site lab testing.
Dr. Prunty's office currently serves patients in Muhlenberg, McLean, Todd, and Ohio counties.