$8million has been awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) which is a six year grant to the University of Hawaii Cancer Center so as to increase cancer clinical trials to Hawaii minority, rural and underserved patient populations. 

Jeffrey Berenberg who is a UH Cancer Center professor and principal investigator for NCI community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) said the residents of Hawaii have the opportunity for the most effective treatments without having to leave the islands with the provision of cancer clinical trials and cancer patient care for both adults and children.

The UH Cancer Center is one of the only 14 designated Minority/Underserved Community Sites where the patient population is comprised of at least 30% racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents out of 46 NCORP sites. 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 Hawaii, 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.

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

Research studies to improve cancer care delivery are one of the unique aspects of Hawaii Minority/Underserved NCORP. This is an area that the UH Cancer Center along with its clinical partners has exceled at since the program’s inception. These words were the words of Randall Holcombe who is the UH Cancer Center director and an NCORP principal investigator. 

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