The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research, the public charity supporting SWOG Cancer Research Network, is helping SWOG launch an effort in collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, and other future funders to improve representation of minority and underserved populations in cancer clinical trials.

Designed as a multi-phase, multi-year initiative, the project kicks off on May 21 with a two-hour virtual symposium highlighting the work of staff at community sites across the country who currently treat diverse and traditionally underserved patients with cancer (register here and view agenda). Staff from eight community-based sites, part of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), will present short talks on trial accrual strategies, sharing ideas about what does and does not work – and why.

“The NCORP community and Minority Underserved sites have been addressing and refining strategies to recruit patients to clinical trials for decades,” says Dr. Dawn Hershman, SWOG Vice Chair of the NCORP’s research portfolio. “We want to harness all they have learned and work across the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) to learn from each other and develop best practices for strategies to enhance diverse accrual to all of our trials.”

Symposium talks will also showcase examples of real-time changes clinicians and researchers can make to boost poorly performing clinical trials when enrollment is lagging despite the potential value of the novel cancer treatments they offer. Discussion segments will be moderated by two panels, made up of select site leaders from within the NCORP and patient advocates.

“Increasing accessibility of cancer clinical trials, and engaging underserved communities effectively, is a core focus for Hope and SWOG,” says Hope President and CEO, Jo Horn. “It requires a deep bench – we need to center voices from these communities alongside clinicians, researchers, and funders in order to develop and test appropriate interventions. We’re grateful for the partnership of Genentech in launching this initiative, and we are fueled by the continuing conversations with other key industry, philanthropic, and advocacy partners.”  

Following the virtual symposium, Hershman will briefly preview what is next for the initiative in the months ahead. A central facet is the rollout of a new funding opportunity awarding pilot grants for up to five sites testing novel interventions to improve trial access for underserved patient populations in their local communities.

Get additional information or sign-up for the virtual symposium on the event’s registration page: There is no fee to attend, and all interested oncology professionals and patient advocates are welcome.

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