Consortium Provides Michigan Hospitals With Access to Cancer Clinical Trials


Cancer patients in Michigan will now have greater access to new clinical trials following the formation of the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan, which was announced today.

The consortium — which consists of several hospitals and health care systems — has been designated a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, meaning each of its members will offer clinical trials from the National Cancer Institute.

“We are very pleased to receive the NCORP designation because it offers hope and possibilities to the more than 9,000 men, women, and children in west Michigan who will face a new cancer diagnosis each year,” said Connie Szczepanek, director of the consortium. “The importance of these trials to our patients and their families and friends is immeasurable now and in the future.”

As part of the designation, the consortium will receive $1.9 million annually over the next five years to provide new cutting-edge clinical cancer trials as well as complete existing clinical trials for more than 1,800 patients.

The NCORP opportunity was established after the National Cancer Institute made the decision to end funding as of July 31 for federally funded clinical trials in the community setting through Community Clinical Oncology Programs — two of which were based in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Without the new grant funding, it would be difficult for communities to access the trials, Szczepanek says.

Members of the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan include Bronson Battle Creek, Lakeland HealthCare, Mercy Health Mercy Campus, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Munson Medical Center, Spectrum Health, Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital, West Michigan Cancer Center, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and the Van Andel Research Institute.

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