Multimillion dollar grant improves access to cancer care and clinical trials

August 07, 2014

Cancer patients in Oregon, Washington and three other Western states will receive improved access to care and clinical trials as a result of a new $6.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program, or NCORP. The five-year grant is being made to the Pacific Cancer Research Consortium, which includes Providence Cancer Center in Portland, Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise. The consortium also includes 37 other clinical care sites in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. 

The grant is part of a $93 million funding cycle announced by NCORP and awarded to 53 researchers across the country.

“We are extremely honored that the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program has selected our consortium to lead the expansion of cancer clinical trials throughout the Western region,” said Thomas Brown, M.D., executive director of the Swedish Cancer Institute. “Together Swedish Cancer Institute, Providence Cancer Center at Providence Portland Medical Center, St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute, and a network of clinical care sites are giving patients and their families access to the most current investigational therapies that give hope to advancing the care of cancer patients throughout our region and beyond. Access to clinical trials is the key to providing high quality cancer care in the 21st century.”

The consortium combines the experience, expertise and resources of these three leading cancer centers in the Western United States to help accomplish the overall research objectives of NCORP. The consortium will feature a shared governance structure, including the three primary site principal investigators: Keith Lanier, M.D., from Providence Portland; Gary Goodman, M.D., from Swedish Cancer Institute; and Paul Montgomery, M.D., from St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute. They will provide co-leadership for the program and for their respective institutions. The goal of the consortium is to bring cancer clinical trials and care to individuals in their own communities, thereby expanding the evidence base of new therapies that contributes to improved outcomes and reduction in cancer disparities.

The NCORP network is intended to provide access to state-of-the-art cancer prevention, control, treatment and imaging trials, as well as cancer care delivery and disparities studies, to individuals in their own communities. By awarding grants to community sites and minority/underserved community sites, the programs are intended to generate a broadly applicable evidence base that contributes to improved patient outcomes and a reduction in cancer disparities.

“Providence Portland Medical Center has been serving our community for 26 consecutive years as the home and a founding member of the NCI’s Community Clinical Oncology Program Western Oncology Research Consortium, or WORC,” said Dr. Lanier, director of Providence Cancer Center’s clinical research office and program director of WORC. “The new consortium will allow us to continue our service and broaden our efforts in outreach to minority and underserved populations and in cancer care delivery research.”

The large population of patients served by the consortium, community members who collaborate in the care of those patients, and the demonstrated strengths in clinical trials made the consortium a valuable member for NCORP’s work. Consortium and clinical care members will improve delivery of research opportunities to both the metropolitan and rural communities under the NCORP award.

“The Pacific Cancer Research Consortium was formed to take advantage of the diverse expertise, and unique programs available in several medical centers throughout the Western United States,” said Dr. Montgomery, research director, Mountain States Tumor Institute, St. Luke’s Health System. “Each member brings different and powerful tools to improve outcomes for all patients with cancer throughout our region. The consortium will prove to be an efficient and effective mechanism for improving care through research.”

For more information about NCORP and the researchers it is funding, visit http://ncorp.cancer.gov.

About Pacific Cancer Research Consortium

The Pacific Cancer Research Consortium is led by the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute. The consortium, which also includes 37 clinical care sites in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, was created to increase community access to cancer care and clinical trials through the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program.

About the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program

The NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions, and other organizations serving as stakeholders in the conduct of cancer research. NCORP conducts multi-site cancer clinical trials and studies in diverse populations in community healthcare settings across the United States. The overall goal of the program is to bring cancer clinical trials, as well as cancer care delivery research, to individuals in their own communities, generating evidence that contributes to improved patient outcomes and a reduction in cancer disparities. NCORP includes research bases, community sites and minority/underserved community sites.