The National Cancer Institute has boosted an annual grant that it awards Aurora Health Care to support clinical trials by $125,000 to expand patient access to the experimental treatments at its cancer clinics throughout Wisconsin.
Aurora has 20 cancer clinics in the state and is currently engaged in more than 150 clinical trials studying the effectiveness of treatments for multiple types of cancer, such as brain, breast, lung and prostate cancer, as well as leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma.
The NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program, NCORP, gave Aurora a five-year grant in 2014 that gives the hospital system $755,000 each financial year to support cancer clinical trials. This year, the hospital system will receive $880,000.
Expanded access to clinical trials will give researchers more diverse data by incorporating different patient populations from different communities around the state, Aurora representatives wrote in a statement announcing the grant Monday.
“The NCORP grant allows our team of researchers and physicians to help more people find treatment options for cancer closer to home without having to travel to major research institutions,” said Dr. James Weese, vice president of Aurora Cancer Care. “The program has allowed us to greatly expand investigational care options to people throughout the state, and we’re thrilled to see the additional dollars allocated this year.”
Aurora estimates it treats nearly 8,000 new cancer patients each year. The principal investigators of the grant are Dr. Michael Thompson, director of Aurora’s Early Phase Cancer Research Program, and Dr. Thomas Saphner, an oncologist.