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Metro-Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium: 40 Years of Cancer Research

The Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network (MNCCTN) is led by the MNCCTN HUB team at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. MNCCTN is a partnership of five health care partner organizations that operate 23 sites at clinics across Minnesota. One of those partners is Metro-Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium (MMCORC). MMCORC is a nonprofit research program sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and participating clinics and hospitals. 

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MMCORC includes 22 hospitals and clinics throughout the state. One of these clinics is an MNCCTN site, Monticello Cancer Center. More than 160 physician researchers practice across the consortium, representing a spectrum of disciplines, such oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, neurosurgery, thoracic surgery, gynecologic oncology, and pulmonology. 

Through MMCORC, physicians and patients have access to a variety of cancer clinical trials and the latest advances in cancer research and care. MMCORC currently offers more than 100 open trials. As a result, more than 15,000 people have participated in trials since it was established in 1983. Research opportunities offered through MMCORC include treatment trials, prevention trials, symptom management trials, precision medicine, cancer care delivery research, and more. From August 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023, MMCORC enrolled 631 participants onto national oncology clinical trials, 31 of which were rural participants. 

“MMCORC’s mission is to provide the opportunity for patients to enroll in a high-quality clinical trial for the treatment or prevention of cancer in their own community while being treated by a local physician,” said Daniel Anderson, MD, Principal Investigator for MMCORC. “Our dedicated and experienced medical professionals conduct clinical trials with compassion and respect for our participants and offer cutting-edge treatment options.”

As an MNCCTN Partner, MMCORC’s Monticello site offers clinical trials from both the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) provided by six research bases across the nation, as well as trials from MNCCTN’s portfolio. MNCCTN studies originate from research partners, including the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and the Hormel Institute. MNCCTN offers study support as well as funding for infrastructure, staff, and training so sites are able to offer and conduct research. Significant strengths MMCORC possesses as an MNCCTN Partner are the organization's dedication and initiatives to raise awareness of research and to engage with communities about study opportunities, as well as MMCORC’s ability to sustain a strong, neutral partnership with eight health systems that share the commitment of providing clinical trial options within their local community cancer centers.

MMCORC was first established in 1979 as a pilot project to observe whether research could be successfully conducted in community settings, like hospitals and clinics, rather than large academic centers and hospitals. The pilot proved successful, and MMCORC went on to receive one of the initial Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) grant awards in 1983 with seven member hospitals and 27 investigators. This year, MMCORC celebrates forty years of bringing the advantages of cancer research to the community.

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