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Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center on Essen Lane, Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

A network of more than a dozen health care organizations across Louisiana and Mississippi were awarded a $13.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to increase the clinical trial network for minority and underserved cancer patients.

Each year there are about 25,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Louisiana. The larger network is expected to provide cancer care clinical trial access to more than 50% of all newly diagnosed patients across the state and nearly double the number of locations to 42 sites.

Health care providers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Metairie, Slidell, Covington, Houma, Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria and Lake Charles are part of the Gulf South Clinical Trials Network. Mississippi hospitals in Hattiesburg and Gulfport are in the network.

The new funding will continue the research previously supported by the Gulf South Minority and Underserved National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, which had 1,500 cancer patients enrolled in the clinical trials network in 2018.

In Baton Rouge, the Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, Woman’s Hospital cancer program, LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic, The NeuroMedical Cancer Clinic, Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates and Ochsner Cancer Center are part of the network with dozens of open clinical trials.

The Mary Bird Perkins network, which includes the Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center and the Woman’s Hospital cancer program, enrolled 810 patients in more than 125 studies between 2014 and 2019 for clinical cancer trials funded by the previous grant.

“We look forward to collaborating with LSU Health New Orleans and the other collaborators through this clinical trials network to bring more clinical trials to patients closer to home," said Dr. David Hanson, principal investigator of the research at Mary Bird Perkins in a news release.

Information about the clinical trials is at https://www.gulfsouthclinicaltrials.org/

Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.