Case Comprehensive Cancer Center has been selected, once again, as a Lead Academic Participating Site by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The renewal comes with a six-year, $8.9 million grant that will enable the center to provide patients with additional access to clinical trials through the National Clinical Trials Network. In this renewal, NCI is committed to improving the resources provided for each patient to cover research costs at levels linked to the complexity of the clinical trial.

In 2014, the center was selected as one of 30 inaugural Lead Academic Participating Sites and has been among the top enrollment centers to NIH-funded clinical trials for each of the past four years. More than 1,000 patients have participated in clinical trials under the program. This renewal grant enables the center to continue to work collaboratively with its three hospital partners—Cleveland Clinic, the MetroHealth System, and University Hospitals (UH) Seidman Cancer Center—providing patients access to the latest and most promising treatment options.

“At the center, we are committed to improving cancer prevention, care and outcomes,” said Mitchell Machtay, a co-principal investigator on the grant and associate director for clinical research at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Vincent K. Smith Professor and chairman of radiation oncology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and UH Seidman Cancer Center. “For our patients, this renewal will not only make available cancer clinical trials being conducted at some of the leading cancer centers across the United States, but also will help future patients through the development of new treatment approaches.”

As part of the National Clinical Trials Network, the grant is designed to speed up the time it takes research to get from the lab to patients through technological advances and enhanced cooperation. Lead Academic Participating Sites are able to offer qualifying patients access to the network’s late-phase trials, addressing scientific questions that usually require multi-site investigation. The results of these trials are published in high-impact journals and often set the standards of care for cancer treatment in the U.S. and across the world.

“Through a shared information infrastructure, the center can help speed up the pace of research and offer more trials to patients in Northeast Ohio, including those targeting rare cancers,” commented grant co-principal investigator Aaron Gerds, hematologic oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. “Together with our patients, we are helping shape the future of cancer care.”

“This award is just one example of the truly collaborative nature of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Clinical Trials Network,” said Stanton Gerson, director of the center, the Asa and Patricia Shiverick–Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology and Case Western Reserve University Distinguished University Professor. “We bring together the best and brightest from our area’s three top hospitals—Cleveland Clinic, the MetroHealth System, and UH Cleveland Medical Center—to share information and work together to design better clinical trials and ultimately improve the lives of the cancer patients that we treat.”

Key co-principal investigators on the grant also include center members Afshin Dowlati, Bruce Averbook, David Adelstein, Jame Abraham, John Suh, Marcos de Lima, Mikkael Sekeres, Min Yao, Paolo Caimi, Peter Rose and Steven Waggoner.