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START & Sarah Cannon Partner to Advance Therapies for Patients with Cancer

Updated: Feb 15, 2020

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: January 16, 2018 – South Texas Research Accelerated Therapeutics (START) and Sarah Cannon Research Institute announced today a new collaboration to complement and enhance their globally recognized phase I drug development programs. START and Sarah Cannon are each renowned leaders in the field of early phase oncology clinical trials, particularly first-in-human studies. Partnering on the scientific and operational elements of drug development will lead to even greater efficiency in the enrollment, quality and excellence of their clinical research programs.

START would also like to congratulate Amita Patnaik, MD, and Kyriakos Papadopoulos, MD, on their appointment as Co-Directors of Clinical Research. During their 10 years at START, Dr. Patnaik and Dr. Papadopoulos have earned the respect of the global drug development community, Pharma partners, as well as the highly-skilled staff at START. In addition, START is delighted that Drew Rasco, MD, has accepted the position of Associate Director of Clinical Research. Dr. Rasco’s 7 years at START have been highlighted by numerous publications on investigational therapies.

“START and Sarah Cannon share in a mission to advance therapies for patients facing cancer through cutting-edge research and clinical excellence,” said Lon Smith, MD, President and CEO of South Texas Oncology and Hematology, PLLC (STOH) and Manager of START. “Under the leadership of Dr. Patnaik, Dr. Papadopoulos and Dr. Rasco, we look forward to further growing our clinical research initiatives in partnership with a global research network.”

START represents a unique community-based research initiative that has enabled collaboration between cities across the world and has permitted access to novel cancer therapies by patients spanning three continents. In the past decade, START has enrolled more than 6,000 patients onto phase I clinical trials with more than 900 enrolled in 2017. Currently, START’s strategic sites included in the collaboration are located in San Antonio, Texas, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Madrid, Spain, with additional sites planned in the future. START also has centers in Shanghai and Taipei.

“By partnering with the trusted research experts at START, we will further advance our mission to bring the latest therapies through early phase clinical trials into the community,” said Howard A. “Skip” Burris, III, MD, President of Clinical Operations and Chief Medical Officer at Sarah Cannon. “We look forward to the many advancements that will be made through this collaboration, transforming care through clinical research for cancer patients globally.”

Sarah Cannon Research Institute is one of the world’s leading clinical research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Sarah Cannon has been a clinical trial leader in the majority of approved therapies over the last decade, enrolling more than 3,000 patients on trials each year and conducting more than 360 first-in-human studies. START and Sarah Cannon represent two of the largest community-based phase I oncology programs in the United States. The strategic partnership between these two centers of excellence will result in the acceleration of drug development both nationally and globally while increasing patient access to novel anticancer agents.

About The START Center for Cancer Care The mission of the START Center for Cancer Care is to provide the highest-quality care for people with cancer and to help accelerate the development of new treatments in order to improve patients’ quality of life and give them real hope against cancer. In pursuit of this mission, the START centers bring world class care to patients in convenient locations throughout San Antonio, Texas, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Madrid, Spain, Shanghai, China, and Taipei, Taiwan. START has one of the world’s largest and most active Phase I clinical trial programs, giving the START Center access to the most advanced anticancer drugs — access not available at many of the biggest regional cancer institutions. Over the years, START’s researchers have helped bring many promising anticancer drugs to market. For more information, visit

About Sarah Cannon Research Institute Sarah Cannon Research Institute is the research arm of HCA Healthcare’s global cancer institute, Sarah Cannon. Focused on advancing therapies for patients, it is one of the world’s leading clinical research organizations conducting community-based clinical trials throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Sarah Cannon’s network of strategic sites includes more than 275 physicians who engage in research. The organization has led more than 360 first-in-man clinical trials since its inception in 1993, and has been a clinical trial leader in the majority of approved cancer therapies over the last 10 years. Additionally, Sarah Cannon offers management, regulatory, and other research support services for drug development and industry sponsors as well as strategic investigator sites through its contract research organization (CRO), Sarah Cannon Development Innovations. For more information, visit


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