NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Expands to More States

Date Posted: 

Monday, August 19, 2019


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded 53 grants to researchers in the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) to conduct multi-site cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery studies in their communities.

NCI grants went to 32 Community Sites and 14 Minority/Underserved (M/U) Community Sites, who have assembled more than 1,000 affiliates across the country to carry out cancer research. The NCORP network now covers 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, the largest geographic coverage in the program’s history.  There are active plans from sites to expand into Maryland and New Hampshire, which would bring the number of states with access to 46. NCORP sites can add affiliates throughout their 6-year grant and thus there is always the opportunity to reach more areas.

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The program, which began in 2014, also has 7 Research Base grantees who design the multi-institutional clinical trials and other human subject studies carried out by the NCORP network.  These studies are for adults and children and may be trials of cancer control, prevention, screening, and cancer care delivery, as well as quality-of-life studies embedded in treatment and imaging studies.

“Clinical advancements in prevention and treatment approaches must benefit all cancer patients. The best way to make that a reality is to ensure clinical research is conducted in diverse populations—both ethnic and geographic diversity,” said NCI Acting Director Douglas R. Lowy, MD, “Communities of color and rural communities face disadvantages in access to cutting-edge cancer care. We believe that clinical trials provide access to high quality cancer care. NCORP enables us to make this available to more communities.”

 “There is clearly a growing level of interest among community physicians to have access to NCI-sponsored clinical trials for their patients and individuals at risk of cancer,” said Worta McCaskill-Stevens, M.D., Director of NCORP. “We have a greater number and more varied types of health systems getting involved in clinical research through NCORP than ever before. Research in more community settings and systems reflects the complexity of cancer care delivery, allowing for the development of care delivery approaches that can be implemented within usual clinical workflow.”

The 6-year grant awards cover the program’s three components:

NCORP Research Bases - 7 grants were awarded to these research hubs, which provide an established organizational structure with scientific and statistical leadership for developing, implementing, and analyzing clinical research and quality-of-life studies.

NCORP Community Sites - 32 grants were awarded to these consortia of community hospitals and/or oncology practices to accrue diverse patients/participants to NCI-approved research studies designed by the NCORP Research Bases, and to treatment trials within the National Clinical Trials Network Groups (NCTN).

NCORP Minority/Underserved Community Sites – 14 grants were awarded to these consortia of community hospitals and/or oncology practices, public hospitals, or academic medical centers that have a patient population comprising at least 30% racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents, and which accrue patients/participants in the same manner as the Community Sites.

While there are the same number of Sites as in the previous grant cycle, the ratio has changed so there are more Minority/Underserved Community Sites in the new grant cycle group. For the first time, a Site qualified as minority/underserved using only rural population, the University of Kansas.

Four new Sites were named: Maine Health Cancer Care Network NCORP, Atlantic Health Cancer Consortium NCORP, University of Kansas Cancer Center NCORP MU, and National Capital Area NCORP-MU. While most Sites continued from the previous grant period, some changed names or were reconfigured, such as the Gulf South Minority/Underserved NCORP, which now covers the entire state of Louisiana.

NCORP incorporates the needs of diverse populations (children, adolescents, young adults, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, and rural residents) into cancer studies and takes steps to increase participation of these groups. The program enhances patient and provider access to treatment and imaging trials conducted under the NCTN and integrates cancer disparities research within the network.

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For the full list of NCORP Community Sites, Minority/Underserved Community Sites, and Research Bases, visit https://ncorp.cancer.gov/findasite/

For a video about NCORP, go to NCI’s YouTube page at https://youtu.be/OyCFbZYgL3U

NCORP Facts:

  • From 2014-2018, approximately 30,000 patients have been enrolled in NCI clinical trials through the NCORP sites.
  • From 2014-2018, over 100 clinicians and 4,500 patients have been enrolled by NCORP sites to cancer care delivery research studies.
  • The NCORP encompasses 1,000+ sites across the United States.
  • NCORP brings cancer research across the country, including the states of Hawaii and Alaska, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and Guam.
  • Over 9,000 Doctors, Nurses, & Research Staff take part in cancer research through the NCORP sites.
  • About 25% of cancer clinical trial participants from all NCORP sites are minorities.
  • NCORP brings access to cancer clinical trials to communities across the United States, including in 25 states with large rural populations (based upon the 2010 U.S. Census): 
    • States with 30-61% rural populations:  Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Wyoming
    • States with 25-29% rural populations: Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia