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National Cancer Institute Recognizes Stephenson Cancer Center with Lead Academic Site Status in National Clinical Trials Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Contact: OU Public Affairs, (405) 325-1701

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahomans will have access to the newest cutting-edge therapies, thanks to the Stephenson Cancer Center’s designation as a Lead Academic Site by the National Cancer Institute in its new National Clinical Trials Network.

Lead Academic Sites form the centerpiece of the National Cancer Institute’s new strategy to conduct high-impact clinical trials and deliver new therapies to cancer patients. The Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is one of only 30 Lead Academic Sites nationwide to be selected as a primary location for conducting this high-impact clinical research. 

Lead Academic Site designation is awarded through a federal research grant that will bring over $6 million in funding to Oklahoma over the next five years. This designation establishes the Stephenson as a national center of excellence in conducting innovative clinical trials research.

“This new grant is a recognition that the Stephenson Cancer Center is taking its place among the leading cancer centers in the nation,” said OU President David L. Boren.

The Stephenson Cancer Center was selected as a Lead Academic Site through a highly competitive process evaluating the Stephenson’s scientific contributions at a national level along with its ability to conduct high-quality clinical trials research. Robert Mannel, MD, Stephenson Cancer Center director, serves as principal investigator for the grant. Scott McMeekin, MD, Deputy Director for Clinical Research, serves as the grant’s co-principal investigator. 

“Lead Academic Site designation in the National Clinical Trials Network ensures that all Oklahomans will have access to the latest drugs being developed by the National Cancer Institute to battle cancer,” stated Mannel. “It means that the Stephenson will be at the table in the National Cancer Institute’s effort to develop precision medicines based on genetic mutations unique to each person and that target tumors at a molecular level.

“This designation is ultimately due to the Stephenson Cancer Center’s dedicated physicians and staff, who are committed to raising the standard of care through research and education, and to cancer patients in Oklahoma, who choose to participate in clinical trials and, in so doing, help not only themselves but all who fight cancer,” Mannel said.

Key collaborators in this effort include the State of Oklahoma, which established the Stephenson Cancer Center in 2001, and the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, which provides major support for innovative cancer research being conducted at the Stephenson. Others include Oklahoma’s philanthropic and corporate communities, who have generously supported research at the Stephenson Cancer Center.

About the Stephenson Cancer Center

The Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center is the state’s only comprehensive academic cancer center. The Stephenson Cancer Center houses more than 50 oncology physicians who specialize in the treatment of all types of cancer and who provide patient-centered care to Oklahomans. In association with the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, the Stephenson Cancer Center is working to decrease the burden of cancer in Oklahoma by supporting innovative laboratory, clinical and populations-based research across the state. The Stephenson Cancer Center has more than 160 research members who are conducting over 100 cancer research projects. This research is supported by more than $25 million in annual funding from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and other sponsors.

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