Cancer Clinical Trials: An Elevated Focus
on the Underserved
With the third-highest cancer incidence rate in
the U.S., Louisiana loses
more than 9,000 residents each year to cancer.
Dr. Xin Zhang reviews samples in an Ochsner research lab.
Equally troubling is the disproportionate impact cancer continues to have on minority communities. In 2019 Ochsner, along with our Gulf South NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) partners, was awarded a $13.6 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to help tackle the problem. The grant expands our successful statewide clinical trials network with a special emphasis on minority and underserved cancer patients.
Disparities in minority cancer incidence rates are of national concern — Black males overall have the highest cancer incidence and death rates of all major racial/ethnic groups and Black females have 13% higher cancer death rates than non-Hispanic white females, despite 7% lower incidence rates. As a group, Hispanics in the U.S. have the highest rates for cancers associated with infection, including cervical and liver cancers.
“Clinical trials are essential to improving the outcomes for patients with cancer,” notes Dr. Brian Moore, Director of the Ochsner Cancer Institute. “These trials expand the availability of innovative treatments, as well as approaches to screening and prevention, for all patients in the Gulf South — especially the minority and underserved populations who stand to benefit the most.”
The primary partners of Gulf South NCORP are Ochsner Cancer Institute, Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport — Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. The new Clinical Trials Network provides cancer care and access to clinical trials for more than 50% of newly diagnosed cancer patients in the region, expands the number of sites offering access to clinical trials from 22 to 42, and will increase the proportion of minority patients participating in NCORP trials. It will also take advantage of the clinical subspecialties at the primary affiliate sites and expand partnerships with community health organizations.
With the support of the NCI and in collaboration with our partners, we’re confident this initiative can have a real impact to improve outcomes for cancer patients throughout our region, including among the underserved.
The new Clinical Trials Network provides cancer care and access to clinical trials for more than 50% of newly diagnosed cancer patients in the region, expands the number of sites offering access to clinical trials from 22 to 42, and will increase the proportion of minority patients participating in NCORP trials.