The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, is using $80 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to expand research benefiting patients at Billings Clinic and the other 15 members of the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) and to add 14 new sites to the network.
Billings Clinic Cancer Center has been granted a total of $2.2 million that will be used to support 14 projects that focus on expanding programs for clinical trials, health care disparities outreach, survivorship and palliative care, multidisciplinary care, and electronic health records. These programs offer Montana communities greater access to NCI sponsored cancer research programs, access to NCI Biospecimen Repository and Ca Big technology, quality cancer care for individuals in our region, an emphasis on disparate populations in our area, and solutions to serve patients in rural and underserved areas. In 2007, Billings Clinic was chosen as one of the original NCCCP pilot sites.
The NCCCP is a network of community-hospital cancer centers that is working to provide research-based cancer care spanning the full cancer continuum – from prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship through end-of-life care. The program is designed as a community-based platform to support basic, clinical and population-based research initiatives.
“This award provides us the necessary resources to further implement the objectives of NCCCP and to help solve the disparity between community and academic heath care centers,” said Thomas Purcell, MD, medical oncologist and Medical Director for Billings Clinic Cancer Center. “
NCCCP began in 2007 with 16 hospital-based community cancer centers in 14 states. The expansion uses approximately $40 million of ARRA funds to support additional research opportunities within the original network of 16 NCCCP sites and another $40 million of ARRA funds to expand the network to include 14 new community cancer centers in eight new states.
The NCCCP is designed to create new research opportunities across the cancer continuum from screening and treatment to follow-up care, with an emphasis on minority and underserved populations. Expanding the NCCCP network will provide access to more patients in community cancer centers to support basic, translational, clinical, and population-based research toward effective new prevention strategies and treatments for cancer patients.
In addition, the program is studying ways for patients to have access to the latest, evidence-based care close to where they live. For a variety of reasons, many cancer patients cannot commute to major academic medical centers for treatment. In fact, 85 percent of patients are diagnosed, and receive at least their first course of treatment, at a community hospital.
NCCCP centers are addressing ways to reduce healthcare disparities, improve access to clinical trials, improve overall quality of care, promote an infrastructure to collect high-quality biospecimens such as blood and tissue samples for research, and to link with national computer networks that support research. The centers also work to improve survivorship, palliative care services, and patient advocacy.
For more information see http:// ncccp. cancer.gov
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103