Outside of UH Cancer Center building

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded an $8 million, six-year grant to the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center to increase cancer clinical trials to Hawaiʻi’s minority, rural and underserved patient populations.

“Providing cancer clinical trials and cancer patient care for both adults and children gives Hawaiʻi residents the opportunity for the most effective treatments without having to leave the islands,” said Jeffrey Berenberg, a UH Cancer Center professor and principal investigator for the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

Out of 46 NCORP sites, the UH Cancer Center is one of only 14 designated Minority/Underserved Community Sites where the patient population is comprised of at least 30 percent racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents. The center has been a member of the program (and its earlier version, called the Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program) since 1994.

“This designation helps the UH Cancer Center increase cancer clinical trial accruals of underrepresented populations in Hawaiʻi,” said UH Cancer Center faculty Jared Acoba, an NCORP Minority/Underserved Community Site principal investigator. “Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Asians represent a small fraction of patients enrolled in cancer clinical trials nationwide. It is critical to enhance access to the highest level of quality cancer care to these patients.”

In January 2019, the UH Cancer Center expanded its geographic cancer coverage, with NCI approval, to the Family Health Plan Health Center in Guam.

“One of the unique aspects of Hawaiʻi Minority/Underserved NCORP is that it includes research studies to improve cancer care delivery, an area that the UH Cancer Center, along with its clinical partners, has excelled at since the program’s inception,” said Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center director and an NCORP principal investigator.

The program’s clinical trial network includes Hawaiʻi Pacific Health, Queen’s Health System, Kuakini Medical Center, Tripler Army Medical Center and private practice oncology physician offices.

See the full story on the UH Cancer Center website.

—By Nana Ohkawa