Guttman Institute Reopens With Expanded Screening Services

Oncology NEWS International Vol 5 No 9, Volume 5, Issue 9

NEW YORK--The Guttman Institute, a pioneering breast cancer screening center in Manhattan that provided low-cost screenings to women for almost 30 years, has become a cancer diagnostic center serving both men and women.

NEW YORK--The Guttman Institute, a pioneering breast cancer screeningcenter in Manhattan that provided low-cost screenings to womenfor almost 30 years, has become a cancer diagnostic center servingboth men and women.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center acquired the Guttman Institutein January of this year, renovated and expanded the facility,and reopened it last July as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering GuttmanDiagnostic Center. The formerly pink-walled center once decoratedsolely with women in mind, emerged from renovations with a wood-paneledexecutive boardroom look and coed staff.

The new Guttman offers cervical, prostate, and colorectal screeningsas well as enhanced breast cancer detection, including ultrasound,ultrasound-guided biopsy, and fine-needle aspirations.

The Guttman Center will continue to carry on the renowned workof Dr. Philip Strax, the Institute's founder and original medicaldirector, Michael A. Cohen, MD, the new medical director, saidat the official reopening.

Dr. Strax was the principle investigator of the landmark 1963Health Insurance Plan (HIP) of Greater New York trial, the firstrandomized controlled study designed to prove the efficacy ofmammography screening, Dr. Cohen said. The HIP study showed a30% reduction in women receiving yearly mam-mography and breastphysical examinations over those who received neither.

The women who were first enrolled in the study became the patientsof the Guttman Institute when Dr. Strax founded it in 1968, Dr.Cohen noted. "His study literally christened mammographyas a legitimate screening modality."

The HIP trial still has relevance to issues facing today's oncologistsand radiologists, such as whether to screen women between theages of 40 and 49 for breast cancer, Dr. Cohen added.

Dr. Strax's study revealed a reduction in mortality among women40 to 49 who had been screened, but due to the small numbers,the findings were not significant. However, a later review ofthe data did confirm a statistically significant 24% mortalityreduction in the screened women in that age group, a statisticthat is similar to the findings of recent studies.

Dr. Cohen noted that the NCI, which withdrew its support for mammographicscreening for women between 40 to 49 years of age in 1993, willbe convening a consensus conference in early 1997 to reconsidertheir position in light of new data from a variety of studies."It would appear to me that once these data are analyzed,the NCI will have little choice but to support some program forscreening women 40 to 49," he said.

A Dramatic Entrance

As Dr. Cohen concluded his remarks, the elevator door opened inthe wood-paneled Guttman Center lobby and a man in a bright greenblazer got out. Dr. Philip Strax, who had just arrived from hishome in Florida, looked around and pronounced the new center "wonderful."

Dr. Strax recalled how his friend Charles Guttman, who grew upon New York City's Lower East Side and became a successful businessmanand philanthropist, had agreed to help him start his institute."Charley had the dough. He set up the finances, and we showedwith the HIP study that early detection saves lives," Dr.Strax said.