St. Joe’s Health System nabs $19.3M grant to lead cancer research consortium

The Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Center at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

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Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS), a member of Trinity Health, and its Michigan Cancer Research Consortium (MCRC) have been awarded a grant for $19.3 million as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a national network of organizations that provide cancer care to diverse populations in community-based health care practices across the United States. This award is one of the largest federal grants that Trinity Health has ever received.

Saint Joseph Mercy Brighton is one of the participating locations.

After a highly competitive process, St. Joe’s MCRC was selected as one of 34 community sites across the country to receive the 6-year NCORP grant enabling patients throughout the 13-hospital consortium, spanning three states, to participate in leading-edge clinical trials offering access to the most advanced cancer treatments available in the country. St. Joe’s is a national leader in personalized medicine with trials that use promising targeted agents based on the genomics of the patient’s tumor as well as the latest immunotherapy trials available. In addition, trials evaluating advances in the latest surgical and radiation techniques and methods to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments are evaluated through the NCORP research.

The MCRC, led by St. Joe’s, is participating in the latest cancer care delivery research to examine the most effective and efficient methods of delivering cancer care, including how to overcome lack of access in some underserved communities.

“For patients to be able to take part in the highest quality research treatments right in their own communities is a tremendous opportunity,” said Dr. Philip Stella of the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.  “At the same time, we are assisting the National Cancer Institute to increase their access to real world health care delivery in the community, where the majority of cancer patients receive their care.”

The grant Stella, the principal investigator, as one of the top-funded cancer researchers in the state of Michigan

Once again, the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium grant application received an impact score in the “exceptional” range, which demonstrates the strength and breadth of its oncology research program and recognition by the National Cancer Institute as one of the leading research institutions in the country.

“We have built a great research program to help ensure access to the latest trials for the communities that our consortium serves,” said Beth LaVasseur, RN, MS, SJMHS’s executive director of oncology and research. “With access to more than 100 research trials, patients can be assured that they will get the latest treatments from the NCI and other major cancer centers without having to leave their homes and families. This grant will supplement and expand the leading-edge research being done at St. Joe’s as we help develop tomorrow’s breakthrough treatments while offering hope for today.”

Participating locations include: St. Joseph Mercy facilities in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Canton, Chelsea, Oakland, and Livonia, as well as Mercy in Springfield, Mass.; and all the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium hospitals including: Sparrow Health System in Lansing, St. Mary’s of Michigan in Saginaw, St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute in Flint, and Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.

For more information including a list of current clinical trials, call (734) 712-3671 or visit http://www.stjoeshealth.org/cancercare-clinical-trials.

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