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$6.8 million investment to double Toronto cancer patients in clinical trials


Toronto, ON – September 24, 2004 – The number of patients taking part in cancer clinical trials in Toronto will double over the next three years as a result of $6.8 million in funding announced today by the Ontario Cancer Research Network (OCRN).

The OCRN funding will enable Princess Margaret Hospital, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre and Mount Sinai Hospital to hire approximately 100 trials nurses, clinical research associates and data managers to expand their clinical trials programs. The added staff will allow these cancer centres to increase patient enrolment over three years from less than 1,500 to more than 3,000 annually.

“This initiative will accelerate the development of new cancer treatments in Toronto and help bring promising new therapies to cancer patients sooner,” said Bob Phillips, president and chief executive officer, OCRN.

The funding announcement includes:

– $3,334,099 for Princess Margaret Hospital to increase patient enrolment in cancer clinical trials from 920 to 1,840
– $2,748,296 for Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre to increase patient enrolment from 525 to 1,125
– $786,821 for Mount Sinai Hospital to increase enrolment from 50 to 132.

“The funding from OCRN will help Princess Margaret Hospital expand its resources and support for clinical trials, allowing us to double the number of patients participating in this important research,” says Dr Bob Bell, vice president & COO, University Health Network. “This will help us advance into the next generation of breakthrough medicine, developing innovative and more effective cancer treatments.”

The OCRN funding is part of $10.3 million announced for 14 cancer centres and hospitals across Ontario. The funding will allow annual enrolment in cancer clinical trials in Ontario to double from less than 3,000 patients to approximately 6,000.

According to current estimates, less than five percent of cancer patients take part in clinical trials. One reason for this low participation rate is that cancer centres do not have sufficient staff and resources to support specialized research. OCRN’s Clinical Trials Infrastructure Fund, the source of the funding in the announcement, was designed in consultation with cancer centres to address this issue.