Cancer Research for the Ozarks (CRO), also known as the Ozarks Regional Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), has received a $5 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research (NCORP) grant to continue multi-site cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery research studies for patients.
It was a grant in 1987 from NCI that helped establish CRO. The program was originally established as a cooperative venture of CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield and remains such today. It is one of 64 CCOPs in the United States.
The overall goal of NCORP is to bring cancer prevention, control, screening/post-treatment surveillance, treatment, and imaging trials, as well as quality of life and cancer care delivery research studies, to individuals in their own communities, thereby generating a broadly applicable evidence base that contributes to improved patient outcomes and a reduction in cancer disparities.
“This grant means we can continue making a difference in the lives of cancer patients in our service areas of the Ozarks, St. Louis, and parts of Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas,” says Jay Carlson, DO, Cancer Research of the Ozarks. “For many cancer patients throughout the Ozarks region, being a part of a CRO research trial in the past has saved their lives, enhanced their quality of life, or extended life in a meaningful way. Because of CRO most patients do not need to travel to other states to participate in clinical trials.”
Patients may participate in clinical trials from eight research bases through Cancer Research for the Ozarks. They are: Cancer Trials Support Unit (CTSU), Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), MDAnderson, SunCoast at the University of South Florida, National Surgical Bowel and Breast Project (NSABP), North Central Cancer Therapy Group (NCCTG), Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) and Wake Forest University.
CRO has seven components that work in conjunction with CoxHealth and Mercy in Springfield, giving additional patients access to clinical trials. Mercy Hospital Joplin and Freeman Hospital in Joplin have been affiliated with Cancer Research for the Ozarks since 1997. Cox Medical Center Branson’s Cancer Center in Branson and Central Care Cancer Center in Bolivar partnered with Cancer Research for the Ozarks in 2010. Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla joined CRO in 2011. Mercy St. Louis and Good Samaritan in Mt. Vernon, Illinois joined CRO in 2013.