Each year in the U.S., more than one million individuals and their families receive news that may seem too much to bear — news of a cancer diagnosis.
A cancer diagnosis comes with many questions. What are my treatment options? Where do I go for treatment? How much will it cost? Will I survive?
Thankfully, cancer treatment has come a long way over the past decades. Through teams of dedicated researchers across the country, physicians have been able to help more people fight a winning battle against the disease.
Research, and specifically clinical trials, plays a major role in finding more ways to beat the disease. Yet, to many cancer patients, when they hear clinical trial, they think they’ll need to go to a large research medical center for the treatment. Historically, this was the case, but it’s changing.
Thanks to initiatives like the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), more patients can now stay closer to home to take part in clinical trials at participating cancer clinics and centers. It’s a program that’s helping patients receive care at home with their family and a support staff.
There are 34 NCORP community sites across the U.S. Here in Wisconsin Aurora Health Care is one of them. Through the program, the research team is able to help patients suffering multiple types of cancer have new investigational treatment options. At the same time the team can collect invaluable data on a diverse patient population, which can help improve patient outcomes and reduce differences in how cancers affect diverse population groups.
One precision medicine clinical trial Aurora NCORP is currently participating in looks at if there is a clinical benefit to tailoring cancer treatment based on the genetic makeup of a patient’s tumor. Called the NCI-MATCH trial, it has thousands of participants nationwide. Researchers analyze patients’ tumors to determine whether genetic abnormalities exist for which a targeted drug might better treat their cancer. If a certain drug works well toward treating many subjects with the specific abnormality, results may drive researchers closer to a cure.
A similar trial is also underway called the ALCHEMIST Lung Cancer Trial, using genetic testing in lung cancer treatment.
Another clinical trial underway is helping researchers develop a standard approach for more effective communication between older cancer patients, their physicians and other caregivers when discussing treatment options. Communication On Aging and Cancer Health, or COACH, will determine if a geriatric assessment helps improve the quality of life in patients.
These local clinical trials are the future of what it will take to continue the fight against cancer. Aurora is thrilled to receive funding from NCI to help more people win the battle.
Learn more about the active clinical trials available at Aurora.