Cancer collaborative awarded $5.6 million over five years; significant impact to be made on cancer associated health disparities
(Baton Rouge, La.) Louisiana and Gulf South residents will soon have more options to seek advanced cancer treatment, thanks to a $5.6 million National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) award. Presented to LSU Health Sciences Center-New Orleans by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the NCORP grant will continue through 2019 and focus on conducting multi-site cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery research studies in many Louisiana communities. Working in partnership with LSU-New Orleans will be grant collaborators Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, referred to collectively as the Gulf South Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program (GS-MU-NCORP) .
NCI’s revised focus on funding clinical trials programs is due to the critical role research plays in the future of cancer care. Clinical trials are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab, and most treatments used today result from past trials. Through the NCORP grant, the collaborative will have access to more clinical trials to offer patients statewide, in particular minority populations, which historically are underserved in cancer care.
“The NCORP grant will allow the GS-MU-NCORP to combine our strengths and experiences to bring more state-of-the-art NCI clinical trials to Louisiana cancer patients,” said Linda Lee, administrator, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. “Through this effort, we will reach about 80 percent of the state, including the most rural and urban areas. This means fewer patients will experience the hardships of traveling out of state for the most advanced clinical trials; it will keep families closer together.”
It is also expected that this grant will expand cancer prevention, screening and survivorship clinical trials to improve early diagnosis and treatment as well as help patients cope with the extended process of getting back to their pre-cancer lives. Additionally, the initiative will include a multidisciplinary approach to patient care to provide the most comprehensive treatment plan for patients.
Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, says that the NCORP grant will be an important driver for clinical research in Louisiana. “BRAC applauds Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and LSU for securing this exciting and important grant award. Clinical trials play an increasingly important role in healthcare innovation, and this statewide partnership between the Cancer Center and LSU offers incredible economic potential,” said Knapp.
Dr. Augusto Ochoa, director of the LSUHSC New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center, believes the NCORP collaboration will better connect cancer care resources to the patients.
“The GS-MU-NCORP is the result of a concerted effort by clinical and research leaders from the Cancer Centers at LSU-New Orleans and Shreveport and Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, to create a network of centers that can provide access to cutting edge treatments for cancer patients in the Gulf South region,” said Dr. Ochoa. “It provides access to high quality research studies to patients closer to home where family, friends and their support system is available. The GS-MU-NCORP is also a major step in addressing the health disparities caused by cancer among our citizens, especially minorities, and establishes new opportunities for cancer care in the region.”
NCORP replaces two previous NCI community-based clinical research programs: the NCI Community Clinical Oncology Program and the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP). The Cancer Center had been part of NCCCP since 2007 until the program ended in June 2014. The new NCORP effort builds on the strengths of the previous programs and aims to better address the most pressing issues affecting the conduct and delivery of care in communities across the nation. This effort is unprecedented in Louisiana, and is one of only 12 of its kind in the country to serve as a Minority-Based NCI Community Oncology Research Program.
Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is the most comprehensive cancer center in Louisiana offering patients the convenience of receiving high-quality, advanced care close to home.