The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded 53 grants to researchers in the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) to conduct multisite cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery studies in their communities. In addition to 7 research hubs, these NCI grants went to 32 community sites and 14 minority/underserved community sites, which have assembled more than 1,000 affiliates across the country to conduct cancer research.
The NCORP program began in 2014. The network now covers 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam—the largest geographic coverage in the program’s history. There are active plans from sites to expand into Maryland and New Hampshire, which would bring the number of states with access to 46. NCORP sites can add affiliates throughout their 6-year grant.
The seven research base grantees design the multi-institutional clinical trials and other human subject studies carried out by the NCORP network. These studies are for adults and children and may be trials of cancer control, prevention, screening, and cancer care delivery, as well as quality-of-life studies embedded in treatment and imaging studies.
Douglas R. Lowy, MD
Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD
“Clinical advancements in prevention and treatment approaches must benefit all patients [with cancer]. The best way to make that a reality is to ensure clinical research is conducted in diverse populations—both ethnic and geographic diversity,” said NCI Acting Director Douglas R. Lowy, MD. “Communities of color and rural communities face disadvantages in access to cutting-edge cancer care. We believe that clinical trials provide access to high-quality cancer care. NCORP enables us to make this available to more communities.”
“There is clearly a growing level of interest among community physicians to have access to NCI-sponsored clinical trials for their patients and individuals at risk of cancer,” said Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, Director of NCORP. “We have a greater number and more varied types of health systems getting involved in clinical research through NCORP than ever before. Research in more community settings and systems reflects the complexity of cancer care delivery, allowing for the development of care delivery approaches that can be implemented within usual clinical workflow.”
The 6-year grant awards cover the program’s three components:
Although there are the same number of sites as in the previous grant cycle, the ratio has changed, so there are more minority/underserved community sites in the new grant cycle group. For the first time, a site qualified as minority/underserved uses a rural population alone—the University of Kansas.
Four new sites were named: Maine Health Cancer Care Network NCORP, Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium NCORP, University of Kansas Cancer Center NCORP MU, and National Capital Area NCORP-MU. Although most sites continued from the previous grant period, some changed names or were reconfigured, such as the Gulf South Minority/Underserved NCORP, which now covers the entire state of Louisiana.
NCORP incorporates the needs of diverse populations (children, adolescents, young adults, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, and rural residents) into cancer studies and takes steps to increase participation by these groups. The program enhances patient and provider access to treatment and imaging trials conducted under the NCTN and integrates cancer disparities research within the network.
For the full list of NCORP community sites, minority/underserved community sites, and research bases, visit ncorp.cancer.gov/findasite. ■