At the 88th Annual Meeting of the Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association, Dr. Nicholas Petrelli was honored with the Academy’s highest award named in honor of Lewis B. Flinn, first president of the Academy of Medicine.
Over the past 18 years, Dr. Petrelli has been a nationally recognized leader in the fight against cancer and developed the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute into a national model of cancer care, prevention, outreach and research.
Thanks to Dr. Petrelli’s leadership and partnerships with others in the state and elsewhere, Delaware’s cancer mortality rate is now dropping twice as fast as the national rate. The state is outpacing the nation in reducing deaths from a number of cancers, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer. The State has gone from number one in cancer mortality to number 18. Among his many accomplishments:
• Established the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute as one of the first cancer centers in the nation selected for the National Cancer Institute Community Centers Program that helped to shape the way cancer care is delivered across the country.
• Through an unprecedented public-private partnership, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute was integral in making sure all people in Delaware receive care for cancer no matter their income level or health insurance status.
• Led the development of 14 multidisciplinary disease site centers and selection as one of three community cancer centers to participate in the Cancer Genome Atlas Project.
•Achieved one of the highest National Cancer Institute clinical trials participation rates in the country at 24 percent, well above the national rate of 4 percent.
• Developed the first statewide High Risk Family Cancer Registry, consisting of 7,000 families with more than 250,000 individuals and the recruitment of seven full-time genetic counselors.
• Established an historic research partnership with The Wistar Institute of Philadelphia, the first time an NCI-designated basic science center has aligned with an independent academic community cancer center on translational cancer research with the aim of bringing the latest discoveries in cancer research to cancer patients in our community.
• Established the Center for Translational Cancer Research, 7,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space where scientists and clinicians work together to find new cancer treatments.
• Established the Gene Editing Institute, a worldwide leader in gene editing and biomedical research in cancer and other inherited diseases, and the only one in the U.S. embedded in a clinical center where interactions among oncologists, genetic counselors and patients take place.
Dr. Petrelli has received numerous awards and has authored 343 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He has served on several advisory panels of the National Cancer Institute, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Cancer Society and the Society of Surgical Oncology. He was President of the Society of Surgical Oncology 2007-2008. In 2013, he received the Order of the First State Award by Governor Jack Markell for his dedication to excellence in serving the community and the State of Delaware.
Previous recipients include:
2008 Victor F. Battaglia, Sr., Esq.
2009 Robert W. Frelick, M.D.
2010 Leslie W. Whitney, M.D.
2011 Robert B. Flinn, M.D.
2012 Edwin L. Granite, D.M.D.
2013 Katherine L. Esterly, M.D.
2014 LTG(DE) William H. Duncan, M.D.
2015 Joseph A. Kuhn, M.D.
2016 J. Kent Riegel, Esq.
2017 Hon. Susan C. Del Pesco