Aurora Health Care awarded nearly $1 million from National Cancer Institute for expanding clinical trial access

Community Oncology Research Program brings cancer care closer to home

October 03, 2016

Milwaukee, Wis. – In recognition of Aurora Health Care’s expansion of cancer-related clinical trials, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded the institution $880,000 in grant funding to further expand access.

Through the NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), Aurora was awarded an annual $755,000 grant and an additional $125,000 this year for expanding clinical trial access to patients at all 20 Aurora Cancer Care clinics throughout Wisconsin.

By providing increased access to clinical trials in communities both large and small, researchers can collect more broadly applicable data on a diverse patient population, which can help to improve patient outcomes and reduce cancer disparities.

The Aurora Research Institute currently supports more than 150 active clinical trials for multiple types of cancer, including brain, breast, lung and prostate, as well as leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma. One precision medicine trial, the NCI-MATCH trial, looks at whether there is a clinical benefit to tailoring cancer treatments based on the genetic makeup of the patient’s tumor. 

“The NCORP grant allows our team of researchers and physicians to help more people find treatment options for cancer closer to home without having to travel to major research institutions,” said James Weese, MD, vice president of Aurora Cancer Care. “The program has allowed us to greatly expand investigational care options to people throughout the state, and we’re thrilled to see the additional dollars allocated this year.”

This is the third year of the NCORP grant. Over the course of the five-year grant cycle, the program will contribute more than $4 million to Aurora Health Care to find better ways to battle cancer through innovative research.

Michael Thompson, MD, PhD, medical director for the Early Phase Cancer Research Program at Aurora Health Care, as well as Thomas Saphner, MD, an oncologist with Aurora Health Care, are the principal investigators in the program.

Aurora Cancer Care is a leading cancer care service in the region, treating nearly 8,000 new individual cancer patients each year. To learn more, visit

The Aurora Research Institute unifies the innovative research efforts throughout Aurora Health Care’s 15 hospitals and more than 150 clinics. The institute supports more than 300 clinical trials and 200 laboratory-based or investigator-initiated research studies throughout Aurora. To learn more, visit

About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics, 70 pharmacies and more than 32,000 amazing Caregivers. As evidenced by more than 300 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information via the Aurora MyHealth blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account and our Pinterest account. 

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