Ochsner and statewide partners awarded $13.6 million NCI Grant

Ochsner Cancer Institute (Ochsner), along with its Gulf South NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) partners, has been awarded a $13.6 million grant by the National Cancer Institute to expand the successful statewide clinical trials network with a special emphasis on minority and underserved cancer patients.

The primary partners of Gulf South NCORP are Ochsner Cancer Institute, Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport – Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Ochsner has been a NCORP grant recipient since the program began in 2014 and an NCI Oncology Program site since 1983.

The new Clinical Trials Network will provide cancer care and access to clinical trials for more than 50 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients in the region, expand the number of sites offering access to clinical trials from 22 to 42 and increase the proportion of minority patients participating in NCORP trials. It will also take advantage of the clinical subspecialties at the primary affiliate sites, utilize the valuable samples in biorepositories to advance research in health disparities and treatment, as well as expand its partnerships with community health organizations. The principal investigator is Augusto Ochoa, MD, Director of LSU Health New Orleans Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center.

“Clinical trials are essential to improving the outcomes for patients with cancer,” said Brian Moore, MD, FACS, Director of the Ochsner Cancer Institute and board-certified otolaryngologist who specializes in head and neck cancer surgery. “These trials will expand the availability of innovative treatments, as well as approaches to screening and prevention, for all patients in the Gulf South, especially the minority and underserved populations who stand to benefit the most.”

With the third highest cancer incidence rates in the U.S., Louisiana loses more than 9,000 residents each year to cancer. Disparities in minority cancer incident rates are of national concern—black males overall have the highest cancer incidence and death rates of all major racial/ethnic groups and black females have 13 percent higher cancer death rates than non-Hispanic white females, despite 7 percent lower incidence rates. As a group, Hispanics in the U.S. have the highest rates for cancers associated with infection (ex. cervical, liver and stomach cancers).

Ochsner’s specialists treat more than 32,000 cancer patients annually, from all 50 states and 28 countries. Ochsner is committed to providing exceptional cancer care where its patients live, in large and small communities alike and has 11 cancer treatment facilities throughout the state.

Additionally, Ochsner’s Precision Cancer Therapies Program offers the region access to the latest in cancer therapeutics, research and advanced diagnostics. It provides an experienced staff including nurses, doctors, researchers, technicians, laboratory personnel, infusion staff, schedulers and a concierge, fully dedicated to early phase trial cancer patients.