College of

MSU College of Human Medicine & Others Form Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan

New Grant Offers Increased Patient Access to Cancer Trials

Cancer patients throughout West Michigan will now have greater access to new and unique clinical trials.

Eleven hospitals and research institutes have formed a consortium - the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan (CRCWM) – to bring the highest level of clinical trials from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to the men, women and children in their communities.

The consortium received notice on August 1, 2014 that it has been designated by the NCI as a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). This designation provides $1.9 million in grant money annually for CRCWM over the next five years to provide new cutting edge clinical cancer trials to our community and to complete existing clinical trials on which over 1800 West Michigan patients are currently enrolled. CRCWM is one of only 46 community sites selected from applicants across the country.

CRCWM members include:

  • Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
  • Van Andel Research Institute
  • Bronson Battle Creek
  • Lakeland HealthCare
  • Mercy Health Mercy Campus
  • Mercy Health Saint Mary's
  • Munson Medical Center
  • Spectrum Health
  • Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital
  • West Michigan Cancer Center

The NCORP opportunity was established after the National Cancer Institute made the decision to end funding as of July 31, 2014 for federally-funded clinical trials in the community setting through Community Clinical Oncology Programs (CCOP). CCOPs existed in more than 60 communities throughout the United States, including Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Without the new NCI research grant funding as an NCORP, it would be very difficult for communities to access these trials.

"We are enthusiastic about the opportunities that the program's academic/community partnership offers for incorporating new technologies into clinical studies to improve cancer care for individuals at risk of cancer and with a diagnosis of cancer," said Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, MS, Chief, Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group, National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute. "Another exciting area is the new focus on Cancer Care Delivery Research. These studies will evaluate the multiple factors that influence the dynamic health care environment in which cancer care is provided and also have great potential for improving cancer outcomes and reducing disparities in care."

"We are very pleased to receive the NCORP designation because it offers hope and possibilities to the more than 9,000 men, women, and children in West Michigan who will face a new cancer diagnosis each year," said Connie Szczepanek, RN, BSN, Director, Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan. 

"The importance of these trials to our patients and their families and friends is immeasurable now and in the future."

More information about the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan can be found at

Research conducted through the CRCWM NCORP grant is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UG1CA189860.