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News Release Date : 08/20/2014

St. Mary's named cancer research site in national program

St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant HealthCare receives grant dollars from National Cancer Institute as part of the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium
Grant enables the consortium to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials
St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant HealthCare were named as a participating cancer research sites in the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium (MCRC) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). Saint Joseph Mercy Health System was awarded more than $10 million to lead the MCRC consortium, which enables patients throughout the 13-hospital consortium to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials offering access to the top cancer treatments available. St. Mary’s of Michigan is one of the founding members of the MCRC established in 2001. Covenant is a participating site through the membership of St. Mary’s of Michigan Oncology Research Program.
Trials currently underway include utilizing promising targeted agents based on the genomics of the patient's tumor, testing possible cancer vaccines and new radiation strategies to treat cancer. Trials evaluating methods to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments and improve quality of life are also an important goal of the NCORP.
Saginaw medical oncologist, Dr. Ernie P. Balcueva, is the Medical Director of the Oncology Research Program and Lead Principal Investigator at St. Mary’s of Michigan. He stated that the MCRC has been one of the premier Clinical Oncology Research Program in the country. "MCRC brings a variety of high quality research studies to the community of Saginaw and has been one of the top accruing sites consistently in the nation.
St. Mary’s of Michigan has also been awarded the Silver Certificate of Excellence for study participation by the National Cancer Institute for two consecutive years; a recognition no other member hospital has received and an acknowledgement which the Saginaw community can be proud of.” After a highly competitive process, the MCRC was selected as one of 34 community sites across the country to receive the 5-year NCORP grant.
In addition, the MCRC will be participating in the latest cancer care delivery research to examine the most effective and efficient methods of delivering cancer care, including how to overcome lack of access in some underserved communities. "For patients to be able to take part in the highest quality research treatments right in their own communities is a tremendous opportunity," said Philip Stella, MD, principal investigator, Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. "At the same time, we are assisting the National Cancer Institute to increase their access to real world health care delivery in the community, where the majority of cancer patients receive their care."
The Michigan Cancer Research Consortium grant application received the highest grant impact score, which demonstrates the strength of its oncology research program and recognition by grant reviewers that MCRC can successfully assist the National Cancer Institute to improve cancer outcomes in the communities served.
All of the grant dollars will be used to fund infrastructure and staff, who will assist patients to participate in more than 120 clinical trials that are available.
Participating MCRC locations include:
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor
St. Joseph Mercy Brighton
St. Joseph Mercy Canton
St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron
St Mary Mercy Livonia
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center – Hartford Connecticut
Saint Alphonsus Health System- Boise, Idaho
Sparrow Health System- Lansing
St. Mary's of Michigan and Covenant Health Care- Saginaw
St. John Hospital and Medical Center- Detroit
St John Macomb- Oakland Hospital- Warren
Oakwood Healthcare- Dearborn
Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute- Flint
Allegiance Health – Jackson
For more information including a list of current clinical trials, contact St. Mary’s of Michigan at (989) 907-8411 or visit

800 South Washington Avenue | Saginaw, MI 48601 |
(989) 907-8000 | 1-844-907-8000
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