September 7, 2018 | by Michael Easterling
Inside the Judy & Bernard Briskin Center for Clinical Research lies the future of medicine.
It’s a place where groundbreaking discoveries will be made and treatments developed that we can speed to patients who cannot wait. One such patient is Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Matthew Gatewood.
A patient of Amrita Krishnan, M.D., director of the Judy and Bernard Briskin Center for Multiple Myeloma Research, Gatewood was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in October 2006 at another institution and was told that he had two to five years left to live. He decided to come to City of Hope for a second opinion.
"When I met with Dr. Krishnan, I told her what my other doctors had said,” Gatewood recounted. “She said to me, ‘Mr. Gatewood, I have reviewed your charts and nowhere do I see a date of death indicated.’ I knew at that very moment that this is the place where I belonged.”
Gatewood is still on active duty as a firefighter. He had a stem cell transplant in 2011 when his cancer started to progress, and received a second transplant in 2014. He then participated in a clinical trial funded by the Briskin family. He has been on another Briskin-supported trial medication for the past year and reports that “things are looking good.”
Judy and Bernard (Bernie) Briskin attended the Aug. 21 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new center and had the opportunity to meet Gatewood.
“It is so incredibly heartwarming to hear directly how this wonderful new building is having such a positive effect on so many lives, including yours, Captain Gatewood,” Judy Briskin said. “We are so honored to partner with City of Hope to open this new facility. Our partnership is deeply rooted in our confidence that City of Hope has innovative ideas, transformative therapies, lifesaving treatments and overall medical excellence. The new Briskin Center for Clinical Research has the power to transform lives and create hope for the many people who will walk through its doors. We are profoundly proud to have our name immortalized in this special place where medicine, science and compassion come together to save lives.”
The Briskin Center includes 17 infusion areas that overlook the Rose Garden and sculptures of Pioneer Park, two nursing stations, and three exam and procedure rooms. The state-of-the-art center has numerous patient-centered features, including iPads that enable patients to regulate lighting, listen to music and watch online content that is streamed to a flat screen monitor. It also includes onsite pharmacy and lab services, a dedicated registration site, and outdoor seating for patients and their families.
By moving all of the clinical research services and staff to one place, we are enabling many of our patients to complete all of their appointments in a single visit at a single location. Since the Familian Building is located directly across from our main patient parking lot and near valet parking, the Briskin Center will improve patient access to care and save precious time.
In addition, more of the treatment tasks, such as EKG, respiratory therapy and lab testing will be completed at this same location, with clinicians and staff who are knowledgeable about the specific treatments. This will provide all staff working with the Briskin Center with a better understanding of the protocols, and enable teams to work more collaboratively to handle other complex study tasks with greater ease.
The new location provides the medical team — led by Briskin Center Medical Director Marwan Fakih, M.D., and Co-medical Director Leslie Popplewell, M.D. — with the very best opportunity to explore how new drugs and therapies will interact with the body and fight disease.
This is a fight that Gatewood is counting on, as he continues his treatment at the new center. “I stand here today because of the heart, compassion, the love and humanity of family,” he said. “My City of Hope family and the Briskin family. As firefighters, we typically save one person at a time. But with this new center, you’re saving thousands of lives at a time. And for that, I say thank you.”