Renal dialysis unit coming, donation made to school athletic department and colorectal cancer treatment study being conducted.

Renal dialysis unit to open in Crookston

In an effort to increase access to care, Altru plans to open a renal dialysis unit at Altru Clinic in Crookston in early 2013. Altru Clinic began a remodel on June 17. The result will provide space for eight dialysis chairs.

"We are thrilled to expand our renal dialysis services in the region. Doing so will not only improve continuity of patient care but also help reduce the costs by eliminating travel," said Kerry Carlson, administrative director of medical specialty care. With the increasing need for dialysis care, patients will receive services in the comfort of their hometown.

Altru's Renal Dialysis offers services in Grand Forks and Devils Lake, N.D. Recently, a third site was opened in Roseau in collaboration with LifeCare Medical Center. Altru Clinic in Crookston will host the fourth site for this growing service.

Altru Health System partners with communities throughout the region to ensure quality health care is available when and where it's needed. Over the years, Altru has improved access to specialized care throughout the region through such things as visiting providers, telemedicine and the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Providing these services at our regional clinics helps reduce the burden for our patients who need specialized care close to home.

Cancer Center conducts SIRFLOX study, offers opportunity for colorectal cancer patients

Altru Cancer Center is offering colorectal cancer patients in our region the opportunity to participate in a SIRFLOX study. This potentially life-extending, cutting-edge treatment has minimal side effects and specifically targets liver metastases. Altru Health System is the only North Dakota provider to offer this Sirtex-sponsored clinical trial, and the nearest participating study is in Minneapolis at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute.

The study started with Dr. Randall Smith, interventional radiology at Altru Hospital, and Dr. Grant Seeger, radiation oncology at Altru Cancer Center. "We discussed our capabilities at Altru and decided to pursue full credentialing for the study," explained Dr. Seeger. "With Dr. Smith's procedural expertise and our research department, we were able to meet all of the requirements. Given the great treatment responses and preliminary data, it was in the best interest of our patients to open the study and offer a chance at upfront SIR-Spheres for newly diagnosed liver metastases in colorectal cancer."

The trial's main objective is to determine if survival is improved with the addition of SIR-Spheres to standard chemotherapy for treating metastatic colorectal cancer primarily to the liver. The control arm of the study receives chemotherapy only, while the experiential arm receives chemotherapy and SIR-Spheres together at the start of treatment. Participants are randomized and have a 50:50 chance of receiving SIR-Spheres. Study enrollment began in late 2011 and recruitment is ongoing. The enrollment target is 450 patients.

About Altru Health System

Altru Health System is a community-owned, integrated system with an acute care hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, more than a dozen clinics in Grand Forks and the region, a large home care network, and a congregate living facility. It employs nearly 200 physicians and 3,800 staff and has a net operating revenue of more than $400 million annually.