Cancer patients across Maine and Carroll County, New Hampshire now have access to more advanced clinical trials in their home communities, thanks to a major federal research grant awarded to the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network in 2019. The six-year, $5.1 million award from the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is the single largest grant ever extended by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for clinical cancer research and cancer clinical trials in the state of Maine.
According to Scot Remick, MD, chief of oncology, MaineHealth Cancer Care Network and Maine Medical Center, cancer patients often feel that to get state-of-the-art care and to enroll in clinical trials, they need to travel to a major metropolitan area. “This grant is a transformational award that is bringing a wide variety of clinical trials to our rural communities. Today our patients have access to advanced care close to home — wherever they live.” The number of clinical trials available to oncology patients in the network is expected to nearly triple over the next five years.
This is a transformational award that is bringing a wide variety of clinical trials to our rural communities — Scot Remik, MD
The grant also established the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network Lifespan Program, designed to bring the latest research in cancer prevention, cancer treatment and cancer care delivery to underserved populations. The Lifespan Program is the only oncology program in Northern New England to enroll patients in NCI clinical trials at every stage of the cancer continuum. The network has begun significant work on new studies, such as the use of a clinical trial screening tool to address cancer health disparities. “The NCORP support has been vital in helping MaineHealth create additional infrastructure to support research initiatives throughout the network. We have made every effort to balance our approach from prevention to survivorship, and from pediatric to adult,” added Remick.