The LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans has been awarded a $5.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to build a regional cancer clinical trials network. This program creates a network of physicians, nurses, and researchers to deliver the latest promising investigational treatments for cancer.
Director of the Cancer Center, Dr. Augusto Ochoa, says this funding will provide the infrastructure for the network.
"So we can allow doctors to do the treatments of the patients close to where they live so they don't have to travel far away to major institutions."
Ochoa says a majority of cancer patients get treatment in their communities by local oncologists. He says the funding will help them offer cutting edge treatment to cancer patients closer to home. Ochoa says the funding will do more than just help set up the network.
"It also allows us to study the differences in the frequency and the outcomes of cancer treatment in the various populations we have. Because cancer is not exactly the same in everybody."
The center partnered with LSU Health Shreveport and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to successfully compete for the grant. The network currently includes 25 clinics covering 80 percent of the population of Louisiana and parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ochoa sees the network growing in the future.
"But one of our goals, clearly, and our desires is to expand this to other sites throughout the region so all patients have access to this."