Cancer trial network brings WV patients options closer to home

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A new health network in West Virginia could prevent cancer patients from having to cross state lines to participate in trial treatments.

Thursday, Dr. Scot Remick, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center director, joined with physicians and colleagues to announce the launch of the West Virginia Cancer Clinical Trials Network.

“We’re thrilled finally to get to this point to make the announcement. We do have some sites. We do have some trials, and we’re ready to go,” Remick said. “It’s the right thing to do. We want to keep patients, if they’re so inclined, closer to home.”

Every cancer practice and hospital in the state can partner with the WVCTN.

According to Remick, a state analysis found 20 percent of cancer patients leave the state at some time for cancer care.

“A cancer patient and a family, no matter where you are, is perhaps the most discriminating healthcare consumer. They really want state of the art care. State of the art care is available by providing new drugs to treat a cancer diagnosis,” explained Remick.

West Virginia consistently ranks 1st or 2nd in the nation in cancer mortality rates.

The announcement of WVCTN’s partnerships with Camden Clark Hospital in Parkersburg, the Berkeley Medical Center, United Health Center in Bridgeport, Raleigh Regional Cancer CenterĀ and St. Mary’s Medical Group, to name a few, brings new and trial treatments, for those who qualify, in all regions of the state.

Remick described the types of treatments that will be available shortly through National Cancer Institute.

“You’re really comparing a standard therapy to a new therapy where you might be adding a drug to a platform of drugs that are known. You might be looking at a sequence of therapy that might include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Lung, colon, cervical and breast cancers are most prevalent in the state. But, Remick said as the network grows, doctors hope to bring clinical trials to the state that would address rarer tumor and cancer types for patients.

The WVCTN was first discussed with the launch of WV Oncology Society in 2007.

In the last 18 months, the bylaws of the network have been written leading up to the April 30 announcement.