Expanding Minority Participation in Clinical Trials
The Gulf South-Minority Based-NCI Community Oncology Research Program (GS-MB-NCORP) is a state-wide initiative, pending funding from the National Cancer Institute, that brings together an integrated clinical trials program from two Minority Based CCOPs and a NCCCP site in the state of Louisiana, supported by well-established and funded Cancer Care Delivery Research and programs in Health Disparities and Community Based Participatory Research. The Minority Based-CCOP established by the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans (LSUHSC-New Orleans-MBCCOP) and its NCCCP partner, the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center - Our Lady of the Lake Hospital (MBP-OLOL) in Baton Rouge, will join the MBCCOP at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport (LSUHSC-Shreveport-MBCCOP) in northwest Louisiana to create the GS-MB-NCORP. This consortium will integrate well-established and experienced teams of clinicians and researchers with the major goal of expanding access to state-of-the-art cancer clinical trials to the populations we serve, through an experienced network of leading academic and community hospitals in Louisiana.
Louisiana has one of the poorest survival rates for cancer patients in the United States, despite not having the highest incidence for all types of the disease. This is particularly true for underserved and minority patients, clearly reflecting a major health disparity. Possible explanations for this disparity range from socio-economic and access to health care, to poorly understood genetic and biological differences. The LSU MBCCOPs and the NCCCP at MBP-OLOL have independently worked to address these disparities by providing access to prevention and treatment trials for minority and underserved communities, and establishing community outreach and education programs, while increasing Cancer Care Delivery Research and Health Disparity studies. In the fall of 2012, we agreed to combine our strengths and experience and apply to NCI for an integrated GS-MB-NCORP to have a more significant impact on cancer-associated health disparities by expanding an integrated clinical trials program and incorporating Cancer Care Delivery and Health Disparity research.
The goals of this proposed NCORP program are to increase the participation of minorities and underserved populations in clinical trials, identify the barriers to participation, and incorporate the community in deciding how best to participate. At the same time GS-MB-NCORP will provide the infrastructure to more effectively participate in research initiatives from the Research Bases. To achieve this, we propose to:
Advance an integrated system of access to cancer clinical trials that promotes and facilitates the participation and enrollment of patients,
Promote Cancer Care Delivery Research to ensure our ability to participate in research initiatives proposed by the Research Bases, eventually designing protocols that improve the care of our patients, and
Expand Health Disparities Research programs through community engagement to increase participation in clinical trials.
The GS-MB-NCORP, if selected for funding, represents a major step in addressing cancer health disparities in the region, and will establish new paradigms in health care for cancer patients throughout our state.