For the fifth year, SWOG Cancer Research Network and its charity, The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research, are giving military veterans better access to cancer clinical trials by providing grant support to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

Under the VA Integration Support Program, medical centers receive a one-time $50,000 grant to help them enroll veterans in trials run by SWOG and other members of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). This means more veterans get cutting-edge medicines tested in cancer trials. The NCTN offers dozens of trials for a variety of cancers, including lung, prostate, and colorectal cancers – the most common forms in veterans.

VA Integration Support Program award winners for 2019 are:

  • VA Loma Linda Health Care System in Loma Linda, California
  • William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin

Offering clinical trials to patients is considered best practice among cancer physicians, because trials offer access to treatments otherwise unavailable to patients.

But offering trials is time-intensive and expensive, and requires hospitals to have adequate staff to work with patients before, during, and after their trial treatment. Through the VA Integration Support Program, centers use the grants for lab testing and supplies, patient travel, and to fund salaries of front-line support staff who discuss clinical trials with vets, assist with paperwork, submit tissue samples, record treatment and safety data, and perform other tasks necessary to run safe and effective studies.

Since 2014, SWOG and The Hope Foundation have awarded over $500,000 to 18 VA medical centers across the U.S.