PORTLAND – Cancer patients across Maine and Carroll County, NH will have access to far more advanced clinical trials in their home communities, thanks to a major federal research grant awarded to the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network (MHCCN).

The six-year, $5.1 million award from the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is the single largest grant ever extended by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for clinical cancer research and cancer clinical trials in the state of Maine. It will establish the MaineHealth Cancer Care Network Lifespan Program, designed to bring the latest research in cancer prevention, cancer treatment and cancer care delivery to underserved populations. NCORP is funding a total of 46 institutions, 32 of which, like the MHCCN, are community-based sites.

The MHCCN Lifespan Program will be the only oncology program in Northern New England to enroll patients in NCI clinical trials at every stage of the cancer continuum, from prevention to survivorship, and from pediatric to adult. Some of the studies will focus on cancer control and prevention, with a goal of reducing the incidence, risk and mortality rates for cancer and improving quality of life for survivors. Others will aim to improve the way cancer care is delivered.

NCORP was developed out of a recognition that both patients and research benefit when cancer clinical trials are offered to people where they live, not just at major research institutions in large urban areas. Patients are more comfortable being treated closer to their friends and family.

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