In 2005, The Cancer Center at Missouri Baptist and its cancer specialists came together to form the Heartland Cancer Research Program and received NCI designation as a Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP). As part of the CCOP, and now as the reorganized National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), the Cancer Center has a solid foundation in research and has dramatically improved access for cancer patients to NCI-sponsored clinical trials of innovative new cancer therapies, cancer preventive strategies, and interventions to reduce the symptoms associated with cancer.
Being able to join research studies in a person's own community allows them to stay close to family, friends, support systems, and their local physician and health organizations, where high quality clinical studies are resulting in better care and better outcomes.
Research in the community setting allows access to a larger and more diverse patient population in a variety of "real world" healthcare locations where 80% of cancer patients receive their care. This can accelerate accrual to national clinical trials, enable feasibility testing of promising new interventions, and increase the generalizability of study findings. Engaging community oncologists in collaborative research can also facilitate the uptake of effective, evidence-based practices into routine care.
Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. They test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat diseases. People who take part in cancer clinical trials have an opportunity to contribute to scientists' knowledge about cancer and to help in the development of improved cancer treatments. They also receive state-of-the-art care from cancer experts.
By participating in clinical research studies through Missouri Baptist Cancer Center patients are among the first to benefit from new advances. In addition, participants in cancer clinical trials contribute to knowledge of, and progress against, cancer. In its first year, more than 120 patients were entered into clinical trials at Missouri Baptist. Over 550 clinical trial participants continue to be followed at Heartland.
In addition to scrutinized by scientific review panels at the NCI, all research protocols are reviewed locally by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Missouri Baptist and the National Cancer Institute Central IRB. Both IRBs have been endorsed by the federal Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services.
One of the responsibilities of an IRB is to insure that the informed consent document for each study is complete and understandable to potential participants. Informed consent is a process by which people learn the important facts about a clinical trial to help them decide whether to participate. People can leave the study at any time - either before the study starts or at any time during the study or the follow-up period. The informed consent process continues throughout the study. If new benefits, risks, or side effects are discovered during the study, participants are notified.
The following manuscripts authored by Dr. Alan Lyss were published in 2014:
Zon, RT, Bruinooge, SS, Lyss, AP. The Changing Face of Research in Community Practice. J Oncol Practice 10:155-160, 2014.
Kernstine, KH, Moon, J, Kraut, MJ, Pisters, KMW, Sonett, JR, Rusch, VW, Thomas, CR, Waddell, T, Jett, JR, Lyss, AP, Keller, SM, and Gandara, DR. Trimodality therapy for superior sulcus non-small cell lung cancer: Southwest Oncology Group-Intergroup Trial S0220. Ann Thor Surg 98:402-410, 2014.
Barton, DL, Thanarajasingam, G, Sloan, JA, Diekmann, B, Fuloria, J, Kottschade, LA, Lyss, AP, Jaslowski, AJ, Marzuczak, MA, Blair, SC, Terstriep, S, Loprinzi, CL. Phase III Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Gabapentin for the Prevention of Delayed CINV (Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting) in Patients Receiving Highly Emetogenic Chemotherapy, N08C3 (Alliance). Cancer 120:3575-3583, 2014.
The Heartland Cancer Research website contains information for cancer patients, the general public and health care professionals. It provides information about the types of cancer, treatment side effects, reasons to participate in clinical research, and detailed summaries of the research studies available through Heartland. Heartland is affiliated with multiple NCI-sponsored research bases and cooperative groups, including: