News from Illinois CancerCare

National Cancer Institute Announces Funding for New Community Cancer Research Program


National Cancer Institute Announces Funding for New Community Cancer Research Program
Grant will provide $2.5 million annually for local research programs

PEORIA, Ill. September 8, 2014 – Heartland Cancer Research NCI Community Oncology Research Program (Heartland NCORP) announced it has received a 5-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The grant for $2.5 million dollars annually will fund this new community cancer research program. Locally, the clinical trials of Heartland NCORP are available primarily through Illinois CancerCare. Also participating in Heartland NCORP are OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and UnityPoint Health-Methodist, both in Peoria, IL.

“Receiving funding for the Heartland NCORP is great news for cancer patients in Illinois and Missouri,” said Nguyet A. Le-Lindqwister, physician at Illinois CancerCare and co-principal investigator of Heartland NCORP. “We have been fortunate to be able to offer cancer clinical trials to our patients for 30 years through the previous Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP). It is wonderful to be able to continue to offer cutting edge therapies through the new NCORP program and the hope these treatments provide.”

Dr. Nguyet A. Le-Lindqwister has been heavily involved in cancer clinical trials since she joined Illinois CancerCare in 2002 and has served as the principal investigator for the Illinois Oncology Research Association, based at Illinois CancerCare since 2011.

Heartland NCORP is comprised of three nationally recognized community cancer programs located in Peoria, IL, Decatur, IL and St. Louis, MO. These groups each had participated in NCI’s Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), the predecessor program to NCORP. The former CCOPs joined forces in 2013 to create the Heartland NCORP. More than 70 applications for NCORP funding were submitted, with only 34 NCORPs and 12 minority-based NCORPs receiving funding. As a result, Heartland NCORP will offer NCI-supported cancer clinical trials to patients in 124 counties of Illinois, Missouri and parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas, exceeding a population of 7 million. More than 550 patients per year are expected to go on NCI cancer clinical trials through the Heartland NCORP.

Heartland NCORP’s successful grant application is due in large part to the extensive experience and leadership of the founding programs. The principal investigator (PI) of Heartland NCORP is James L. Wade III, MD, FACP, FASCO, based in Decatur, Illinois. The co-principal investigators include Nguyet A. Le-Lindqwister, MD of Peoria, IL, Alan Lyss, MD of St. Louis, MO, Benjamin Esparaz, MD of Decatur, IL, Justin Floyd, MD of Cape Girardeau, MO, and Karen Hoelzer, MD of Springfield, IL. The co- principal investigators will work with Dr. Wade in developing an NCORP program that provides exemplary research to the community.

The NCI grant award helps pay for the costs of specialized research staff working side by side with cancer physicians and oncology nurses. The grant funds will be dispersed across the entire Heartland NCORP region. The NCI grant, however, does not cover the full cost of running large community cancer research programs. Heartland NCORP would not succeed without the financial support of its component institutions to help underwrite the cost of this research effort. Additional funding will be provided for their respective programs by Missouri Baptist Hospital, Memorial Medical Center of Springfield, Decatur Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center of Cape Girardeau and the Illinois CancerCare Foundation in Peoria, IL.

About Illinois CancerCare
Illinois CancerCare is one of the largest practices in the state of Illinois that treats patients with cancer and blood diseases. It provides state of the art treatments to its patients against these complex diseases by staying at the leading edge of clinical research. Illinois CancerCare is central Illinois’ largest network of cancer care specialists with 90-120 open clinical cancer research trials being conducted at any given time. The group has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the highest national standards for quality cancer care. Illinois CancerCare has 17 physicians, 16 APN’s and more than 230 staff members. Illinois CancerCare serves patients in 12 cities and 12 counties throughout central and western Illinois including Bloomington/Normal, Canton, Carthage, Eureka, Galesburg, Kewanee, Macomb, Ottawa, Pekin, Peoria, Peru and Princeton. For further information please visit