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Via Christi-led cancer consortium receives NCI grant

Via Christi Cancer Institute learned that it had been selected to receive one of 53 five-year National Cancer Institute grants awarded last week — providing $1.7 million a year for multi-site, community-based cancer clinical trials and care delivery research studies.

The grant was awarded under the newly established NCI Community Oncology Research Program known as NCORP, a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions, and other organizations that provide care to diverse populations in community-based healthcare practices across the United States.

NCORP replaces two previous NCI community-based clinical research programs: the NCI Community Clinical Oncology Program, or CCOP, which Via Christi has led for the past 30 years, and the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program.

“Via Christi has a long history of supporting cancer clinical trials in Kansas,” said Keisha Humphries, service line administrator for Oncology at Via Christi. “This new grant will provide an opportunity to care for the patient through navigation, survivorship and clinical trials.”

Going forward, the Wichita CCOP is now a part of a group of Kansas providers called the Cancer Research of Kansas Consortium, which in addition to Via Christi includes Associates in Women’s Health, Cancer Center of Kansas, Hutchinson Clinic, Lawrence Cancer Center, Lawrence Memorial Oncology Center, Wesley Medical Center, West Wichita Family Practice and Wichita Surgical Specialists. Shaker Dakhil, MD, will continue to be the principal investigator of the consortium.

The awards fall into three categories; Via Christi and its community partners their received a grant under the community site category, which accrues participants to clinical trials conducted by NCORP Research Bases, NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) treatment and imaging trials, quality of life studies, and cancer care delivery research involving patients, practitioners, and/or healthcare organizations.

The new program is designed to build 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. Ongoing clinical trials will be seamlessly incorporated into NCORP and continue to completion to achieve continuity of care for patients.

In addition, NCORP will align with the National Clinical Trials Network, NCI’s nationwide program for large treatment and imaging trials. The alignment between the two programs seeks to reduce operational redundancies, streamline reporting requirements and leverage cross-institutional data systems in order to create a more efficient clinical trials network. 

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