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CATCH-UP grant provides more clinical trials to rural, underserved cancer patients

September 15, 2020

A one-year, $500,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will bring more clinical trial opportunities to cancer patients living in Kansas.

CATCH-UP, or the NCI P30 Cancer Center Support Grants to Create Access to Targeted Cancer Therapy for Underserved Populations, supplements the cancer center’s P30 Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG). CATCH-UP is also associated with the NCI’s Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN), which seeks to advance early-phase clinical trials using novel investigational drugs.

Through CATCH-UP, the cancer center can offer NCI ETCTN-sponsored early phase clinical trials, with a focus on rural, minority and underserved populations. The cancer center’s catchment area is increasingly diverse and includes Latinos, African Americans, American Indians, immigrant communities and those living in rural areas. Many of them experience disparities in cancer care. In 2017, about one-third of individuals enrolled on therapeutic trials at the cancer center and Masonic Cancer Alliance (MCA) sites were from rural counties.

“We have a deep bench of experts in drug development and a robust clinical trial infrastructure – unlike any other cancer center in the region – to support these trials,” said Roy Jensen, MD, principal investigator and cancer center director. “Tailoring our efforts to help those most in need is a key pillar of the cancer center’s NCI designation. With this grant, we can amplify our reach and come closer to our vision of offering a clinical trial for each patient we treat.”

Cancer center scientists have identified more than 30 clinical trials that will be covered by the grant. These trials cover a variety of cancers and conditions including acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and pancreatic cancer.

Joaquina Baranda, MD, director of the cancer center’s early-phase clinical trials program, will serve as the site project leader and Gary Doolittle, MD, MCA medial director, will serve as co-leader. According to Dr. Baranda, part of eliminating cancer disparities is making sure novel therapies are available to all patients.

“The cancer center excels at offering and conducting early phase clinical trials,” Dr. Baranda said. “With CATCH-UP, we can extend these trials to everyone in our catchment area. Where you live should not affect the quality of cancer care you receive, and this grant helps ensure no one gets left behind.”

If you are interested in clinical trials, contact our nurse navigators at 913-588-3671.


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