New Organization Aims to Improve Access to Clinical Cancer Trials in W.Va.
There’s a new nonprofit in West Virginia that wants to provide residents with greater access to cutting-edge cancer care. The West Virginia Cancer Clinical Trials Network officially launched today. The nonprofit is a growing collaboration of cancer physicians and healthcare organizations from across the state. The organization hopes to make more clinical cancer trials available to patients throughout West Virginia.
The National Cancer Institute describes clinical cancer trials as “research studies that involve people. They are the final step in a long process that begins with research in a lab.”
Cancer clinical trials are designed to test new ways to:
- Treat cancer
- Find and diagnose cancer
- Prevent cancer
- Manage symptoms of cancer or side effects from its treatment
In a press conference, Director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University, Scot Remick, M.D., explained that clinical trials are key to developing new methods to prevent, detect, and treat cancer. And he said West Virginians need to participate.
“This is a state that has year-in and year-out the highest cancer mortality rate in the country. Many tumor types are seen in increased incidents. And it’s unacceptable. And we know from a study that we did that about 20 percent of patients leave this state for cancer care," Remick said. "Those patie don’t want to leave the state. They want to be closer to home; they want to be able to work; they want to be able to be near their families.”
Until now, clinical trials have only been available in a few regions of the state. The network now includes the Mary Babb Randlof Cancer Center in Morgantown, United Hospital Center in Bridgeport, Camden Clark Memorial Hospital in Parkersburg, Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins, Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington. The network hopes to continue to include more physicians and medical facilities throughout the state.