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Cedars-Sinai and Torrance: Successful Alliance

"The collaborative culture of our two institutions allows patients to move between our two centers," Robert Figlin, MD, deputy director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer, said of the partnership with Torrance Memorial Medical Center.

Robert Figlin, MD

Robert Figlin, MD

When Cedars-Sinai and Torrance Memorial Medical Center forged a partnership to bring advanced cancer care to the South Bay three years ago, there was little doubt that the collaboration would greatly benefit the community. That confidence was well-placed, as patients continue to access leading-edge treatments and clinical trials backed by an academic-level medical institution—right in their backyard.

"Torrance Memorial's Hunt Cancer Center is a world-class facility that already was providing a very high level of care" in the South Bay, said Robert Figlin, MD, deputy director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer. "It's a testament to our success of the last three years that the collaborative culture of our two institutions allows patients to move between our two centers rather than having to seek out one place or the other to receive their care."

Elderly patients who "often can't or won't travel for cancer treatment and don't want to be far from loved ones" are especially benefiting from the partnership, said Hugo Hool, MD, director of Hunt Cancer Center at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. "Their survival could be affected if they aren’t able to receive the care they need, close to home."

Torrance Memorial sought a partner that supported the cancer center by "helping us create best practice methods and facilitating the care of our highest-risk patients," Hool added. "The relationship formed between clinicians at the two institutions is what allows for seamless transition of care."

Rather than viewing team members as "Cedars-Sinai physicians" or "Torrance Memorial physicians," all providers are considered part of the same team, with the same goal: to provide patients with the best cancer care, Figlin and Hool noted.

"Through Torrance Memorial, we have willing partners who can deliver the same level of care we can at the Cedars-Sinai main campus," Figlin said. "We work with Torrance Memorial oncologists in a comprehensive, collegial and collaborative way to deliver ongoing care."

Access to Promising Clinical Trials

An important part of that care is the access that Hunt Cancer Center patients now have to Cedars-Sinai clinical trials. These clinical trials provide promising new therapies for many cancer types and expanded treatment options for rare, challenging and recurrent cancers, including sarcomas and certain brain tumors.

"Not all patients who receive standard-of-care treatment have perfect outcomes, and clinical trials provide those patients with other opportunities to control their disease," Figlin said. "As the Cedars-Sinai footprint grows, the impact of our clinical trials also grows. When patients can access clinical trials in their area, we can benefit them on an individual level."

Exploring Future Opportunities

Looking ahead, both institutions plan to enhance the cancer care collaboration through joint physician recruitments, additional clinical trials, expanded services and hours, and new technology.

"It’s been three years, and we are continuing to explore further synergies," Figlin said. "Healthcare is a team sport."

The team is hoping to expand availability to head and neck cancer care in the South Bay, allowing treatment for these complex cancers to be jointly delivered at Cedars-Sinai and Torrance Memorial.

"We know technology can't replace a personal touch—how you’re being cared for," Figlin said. "No matter what our patients are about to face, Torrance Memorial and Cedars-Sinai can handle it."