The Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University was awarded a 6-year $6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to lead a statewide initiative that improves access to innovative clinical trials for a variety of cancers to underserved individuals across the State of Georgia.
The Mission in Georgia
The Georgia Cancer Center’s Georgia CaRES (Georgia Cancer Research Network) will use the money to recruit patients to conduct multi-site cancer clinical trials and cancer delivery studies in the patients’ communities.
What is CaRES?
The Georgia Cancer Center’s Georgia CaRES (Georgia Cancer Research Network) bridges the gap between cancer research and cancer care offering true clinical research as a care option to Georgia communities. By bringing together teams of scientists, basic researchers, clinicians, radiation oncologists, nurse navigators, and patient support staff, the network provides a community that fosters innovation and case focused on improving the lives of their patients.
Research at the Georgia Cancer Center’s M. Bert Storey Research Building focuses on the most promising pathways for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Several of their investigators are involved with investigator-initiated clinical trials, transitioning their research into the clinic.
Fantastic Track Record with Minority Patient Accrual
Dr. Sharad Ghamande, associate director for clinical trials at the Georgia Cancer Center, reports, “We are very excited to get this award at a higher level of funding as it allows us to take cutting-edge cancer care across rural Georgia.” He continued “This will allow us to build on our success in our previous grant (2014-19) where 49% of our patients accrued to clinical trials were minorities.”
The 49% enrollment for patients in Georgia is a big increase over the national enrollment percentages. Research shows only 1 out of 20 cancer patients enroll in clinical trials. Of those patients, less than 5 percent are minorities. Because clinical trials are more commonly used to treat children with cancer, survival rates for childhood cancer have increased dramatically in the last few decades.
Ghamande, who serves as the principal investigator for the grant, will work with a team at the Georgia Cancer Center and partner sites across Georgia as well as one site in Mississippi. Partners include the University Cancer and Blood Center (Athens), Augusta Oncology Associates (Augusta), Morehouse School of Medicine (Atlanta), Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (Albany) and St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital (Jackson, Mississippi), which has a minority and rural population similar to what we see in Georgia.
Dr. Sharad Ghamande, associate director for clinical trials
Call to Action: Are you a resident of Georgia and know a loved one with a cancer diagnosis? Consider the Georgia Cancer Center. Are you a CRO or sponsor seeking more high quality clinical investigator sites with a stellar track record working in underserved communities? Connect with Dr. Ghamande.