Network expands access to Minnesota cancer clinical trials

Nearly half of all Minnesotans receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.

By: Jonathan Bleeker .

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Thanks to a state-funded partnership between the University of Minnesota (UM) and the state’s major health systems, patients across Minnesota now have better access to the latest cancer treatments through clinical trials. As part of Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) partnership with the state of Minnesota, the UM has launched the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN), with multiple locations throughout the state.

The MNCCTN aims to improve cancer prevention, treatment, survivorship and outcomes by providing cutting-edge clinical trials all around the state. These trials originate from Minnesota’s two National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers: the Masonic Cancer Center at the UM and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

Meeting a need

The need for clinical trials across the state is great, as nearly half of all Minnesotans are diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening cancer during their lifetime. Before the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network, access to clinical trials in rural areas had been a challenge. Of the total Minnesota population, 56 percent live more than 30 miles from a hospital or clinic with cancer clinical trials. By expanding to reach those living in more rural areas, the MNCCTN is helping provide life-changing therapies and treatments closer to home.

The MNCCTN benefits patients, providers and researchers. It allows:

  • Doctors to more easily provide patients new treatment options.
  • Researchers to explore the effectiveness of next-generation treatments more quickly.
  • Patients to receive new treatment options with less travel, cost and time spent.

Founded on collaboration

An essential part of the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network is collaboration. The major health organizations participating in the MNCCTN include Sanford Community Oncology Program of the North Central Plains, Essentia Health Community Oncology Research Program, Fairview Health Services, The Hormel Institute, Metro-Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium, Masonic Cancer Center of the UM, and Mayo Clinic Cancer Centers. Together, these health organizations are working to bring leading experts in research and cancer clinical trials to all Minnesotans.

Eighteen new locations are participating in the MNCCTN the first year, with plans to add more sites. The first 18 locations are in Aitkin, Albert Lea, Austin, Cambridge, Deer River, Detroit Lakes, Fosston, Grand Rapids, Hastings, Hibbing (two locations), Mankato, Monticello, Park Rapids, Princeton, Thief River Falls, Virginia and Worthington.

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