JUL 24, 2018 6:00 PM PDT

Veterans with Cancer Get Streamlined Access to NCI Clinical Trials

WRITTEN BY: Mauri Brueggeman

When you, or someone you love, is looking for access to novel treatments, we look to our providers and healthcare institutions for guidance and direction.  Clinical trials are often the gateway to new research with clinical application; they are challenging to navigate, let alone get funding and support for. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has just announced that they will be able to access clinical trials in a more streamlined way to help veterans with cancer across the country.  The VA has teamed up with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in an agreement to accelerate clinical trial enrollment, called NAVIGATE, to open up some of the channels for veterans to participate in trials executed by or through NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program.  As part of the agreement, the NCI is working to support the VA and their cancer patients by creating more streamlined pathways for access to treatments locally.  The VA will work to evaluate more opportunities for their patients within their vast healthcare system to participate in NCI trials and their goals. 

This collaboration is a partnership that helps both sides.  The veterans have the ability to potentially participate in trials they may not have had much access to before, either because of logistics or financial reasons; the NCI organizations like NCTN and others gain access to patients needing novel treatment options which helps reach their outcomes and patients served to complete their studies in a timely fashion.  Dr. James Doroshow, the Deputy Director for NCI’s Clinical & Translational Research department shared that, “This interagency collaboration will also work to help veterans overcome barriers they’ve faced trying to access clinical trials as part of their cancer care.”

Twelve VA sites have been chosen to participate in the NAVIGATE program thus far; those locations include VA health systems in Atlanta, New York City, Charleston, Denver, Durham, Hines, Long Beach, Minneapolis, Palo Alto, Portland, San Antonio, and West Haven.  These institutions are spread throughout the United States.  The program is reported to last 3 years and will be jointly managed by the VA and NCI.  The goal is to use these sites to determine best practice and long-term capabilities to roll out to other VA sites nationwide in the future.

Sources: NCI https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2018/navigate-va-clinical-trials, American Journal of Cancer Research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5934565/, Military Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3531965/,

About the Author
  • Mauri S. Brueggeman is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and Educator with a background in Cytogenetics and a Masters in Education from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the clinical laboratory, taught at the University of Minnesota, and been in post secondary healthcare education administration. She is passionate about advances and leadership in science, medicine, and education.
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