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Cancer center joins exclusive clinical trials network

October 11, 2022

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is now a member of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN) as part of a consortium led by Yale Cancer Center. ETCTN membership will increase the number of early-stage clinical trials the cancer center can offer to people with cancer.

Joining the ETCTN is a testament to the cancer center’s performance developing and administering high-quality clinical trials. In particular, the cancer center demonstrated its ability to accrue participants to early phase clinical trials under the CATCH-UP grant. The NCI awarded KU Cancer Center the grant in 2020. Through CATCH-UP, the cancer center has access to select ETCTN clinical trials. Joaquina Baranda, MD, director of the cancer center’s early phase clinical trials program, served as the CATCH-UP co-site leader alongside Gary Doolittle, MD, medical director of the Masonic Cancer Alliance.

“In our first year as a CATCH-UP grant awardee, the accrual goal was 24 participants. We hit that goal in our first six months,” Dr. Baranda said.

Dr. Baranda added that the cancer center team received extra funding for exceeding CATCH-UP accrual requirements, particularly those from underrepresented populations.

The process to become part of the ETCTN is highly competitive. The network provides unique precision medicine and targeted therapy trials available nowhere else in the region. Membership provides cancer center investigators funding to conduct these studies, as well as opportunities to collaborate with researchers at other institutions. Members are grouped into teams and each team is placed under one of 8 leading academic organizations.

“We could not have accomplished this without the support of our cancer center leaders, investigators, research staff, community stakeholders and most importantly, our patients,” Dr. Baranda said. “For people with cancer in our catchment area, this is an incredible opportunity to take part in the latest and most exciting clinical trials out there.”

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