Thanks in part to Masonic support, the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN) has brought clinical trials to people in all corners of the state since 2017. In 2020, the MNCCTN celebrated a major milestone in enrolling more than 500 participants in clinical studies across Greater Minnesota.
More than half of all Minnesotans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and one in four will die from it. By equipping clinics across the state to take part in clinical trials, the MNCCTN has broken down barriers to much-needed care options for Minnesotans diagnosed with everything from breast and prostate cancers to colorectal, GI, lung, and blood cancers.
Since the network’s launch in 2017, it has helped open several cancer clinical trials in prevention, symptom management, and treatment at 22 sites throughout Minnesota, and has facilitated access to more than 50 other non-MNCCTN trials.
Providing new funding
In addition to bringing clinical trials to patients, MNCCTN has provided new funding for infrastructure and research at its clinical trial sites. This includes support for training and collaboration among research nurses and staff, and essential equipment such as lab and pharmacy freezers.
This year, the MNCCTN also launched a new program to award up to three grants per year to encourage the development of clinical trials specifically designed to address the cancer burden of those living in Greater Minnesota as well as those in underrepresented racial and ethnic minority communities.
Opening the network’s first treatment trial at the U
In 2020, the MNCCTN was also able to open its first treatment trial in Greater Minnesota.
The study examines Exemestane, an oral drug approved by the FDA for breast cancer treatment, as a potential therapy for postmenopausal women with non-small cell lung cancer. Tumor growth in some cancers, such as non-small cell lung cancer, may be fueled by the hormone estrogen, but researchers believe that Exemestane may block this type of tumor growth. The study, developed at the University of Minnesota by Masonic beneficiary Manish Patel, M.D., is open at several MNCCTN sites, with four more sites to open soon.
"Support from the Masons has had a direct impact on our ability to open our first treatment trial in Greater Minnesota. In addition, these funds have, and will continue to be used, to provide direct support and remove barriers to Minnesotans who choose to participate in cancer clinical trials."
-Marie Rahne, M.B.A., administrative manager, Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network