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$2 million grant expands minority access to cancer trials

October 4, 2012 8:30 AM

Melanie Cross
mcross@tulane.edu 

Tulane University School of Medicine will use a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to increase the number of minority patients enrolled in clinical trials for new cancer therapies, led by Dr. William “Rusty” Robinson, head of gynecologic oncology at Tulane.

Rusty Robinson

Dr. William “Rusty” Robinson, head of gynecologic oncology at Tulane, says the $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute will help overcome historic barriers that have prevented minority accruals to clinical research trials in the past. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)


The Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MB-CCOP) grant is part of a national effort to support community-based cancer trials that bring in racial and ethnic groups typically underrepresented in clinical research. The Tulane MB-CCOP is one of 17 across the country.

“The grant helps to supplement the cost to open new clinical research studies and greatly expands the number of treatment and prevention trials to which our local cancer patients will now have access,” says Robinson.

The Tulane MB-CCOP grant will support clinical research coordinators to work directly with physicians treating patients at Tulane Cancer Center, Tulane-Lakeside Clinic, the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, the Tulane clinic at the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans and the Tulane oncology affiliates, a group of private physicians throughout the region that offer access to cancer research trials at Tulane University.  

The coordinators, who will have special expertise in cultural sensitivity, will assist the physicians in identifying patients who qualify for enrollment into cancer treatment trials, as well as work one-on-one with patients and family members to answer questions about clinical research.  

“This approach has been proven successful in helping to overcome historic barriers that have prevented minority accruals to clinical research trials in the past,” Robinson says.

The grant also will support a patient/community educator who will promote the program’s cancer prevention studies to both patients within Tulane University’s system of community and primary care clinics and the broader community through outreach to local churches and organizations.

For more information on cancer treatment trials available through the Tulane MB-CCOP program or to enroll in a cancer prevention trial, call 504-988-6121.

Melanie Cross is manager of communications at the Tulane Cancer Center.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu