Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Permanente Excellence

Clinical Excellence

NCI Community Oncology Research Program

Jan 05, 2016

NCI Community Oncology Research Program

Kaiser Permanente is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program. This means that we, along with other renowned U.S. Health care institutions, conduct NCI clinical trials and research studies.

We bring leading-edge treatments to people with cancer. Many of these trials and research studies are open to our eligible members. 

NCI has awarded the Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials program with a $12.2 million grant over the next 5 years. This grant provides the Kaiser Permanente’s oncology research centers with vital funding to continue to expand and conduct clinical trials and research studies designed to improve cancer treatments.

We’re proud of our partnership with NCI and want to share more information with you about how we use this grant to provide you with the best possible cancer care.

Lou Fehrenbacher, MD, the medical director of Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials, tells us what the NCI grant means for our members and the future of oncology research.

Tell us about Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials

At Kaiser Permanente, we have a commitment to offer “state-of-the-art” treatment to our members. As part of this commitment, we created the Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials program. This program consists of a large team of oncologists, nurses, and research specialists who review select, and carry out cancer clinical trials for the KP members.

Some of these trials may investigate brand new cancer drugs alone, while others compare standard treatments against new investigational treatments.

Our oncology clinical trials program makes it possible for patients to participate in promising new cancer treatments even before they are:

  • FDA approved.
  • Available commercially to the general medical community. 

All of our current best standard cancer therapies were once experimental therapies evaluated in a clinical trial. Only after clinical trials show one treatment to be superior over another can a therapy become a new standard of care. 

What is the difference between Kaiser Permanente clinical trials and other programs? 

Kaiser Permanente’s membership and the population that we study is socioeconomically and ethnically diverse. This makes it possible for us to enroll a high percentage of diverse minorities compared to other research sites. For example, 35 percent of our member base is non-white and 30 percent of the people enrolled in the research program are non-white. 

Our patients have a unique advantage because our integrated electronic medical record holding a patient’s treatment history can be used to identify relevant, ongoing internal and external trials that may offer cutting-edge treatment opportunities. 

Who can participate in a Kaiser Permanente oncology clinical trial?

Clinical trials are open to Kaiser Permanente members in most of our regions, including Northern and Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Colorado and Hawaii.

You may qualify for a trial if you have a cancer diagnosis, meet specific eligibility criteria, and are interested in access to new, cutting-edge treatments.

At any given time, there are at least 50 cancer trials underway that are open to eligible Kaiser Permanente patients. In fact, we’ve become one of the national leaders in the National Cancer Institute’s clinical trials program, enrolling between 500+ patients into these trials every year. 

Could you tell us about the National Care Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP)?

The overall goal of the NCI NCORP is to bring access to cancer clinical trials, cancer prevention, and cancer care delivery research to individuals in their own communities. The goal aims to:

  • Improve patient outcomes.
  • Reduce cancer disparities among various populations.

Kaiser Permanente Oncology Clinical Trials was awarded a $12.2 million, 5-year grant. The KP NCORP involves many KP regions who are able to expand their current cancer clinical trials and research studies designed to improve cancer treatments.

How will the Kaiser Permanente Clinical Trials program use these funds? The grant will fund 3 areas of work.

1. Provide cutting-edge clinical trials to our patients in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Southern California, Northwest, Colorado, and Hawaii regions.

2. Participate in cancer control and prevention research. These studies research how diet, exercise, medication, and other lifestyle changes can prevent cancer or contribute to managing cancer symptoms. This is an area of study recognized to be increasingly important.

3. Evaluate cancer care delivery research. This is a new area of focus, funded by the NCI, researching the best ways of delivering cancer care throughout the country.

What cancer care delivery research is planned at Kaiser Permanente?

Kaiser Permanente’s cancer care delivery research will look at the issues generally not examined in a standard cancer drug-to-drug comparison study. This work includes:

  • Evaluations of delivery systems.
  • Comparisons of the cost of different delivery methods.
  • Evaluating patient and provider variables and how they affect the delivery of cancer care.
  • Efficiency and outcome disparities and their effects on cancer patient care.

Kaiser Permanente will play a major role in the design and implementation of these studies.

We have many researchers in Northern California and other regions who are experts in cancer care delivery and who study diverse patient populations. These Kaiser Permanente scientists are:

  • Actively working with our extensive electronic medical records systems.
  • Well-positioned to study cancer care delivery and help shape the studies that the NCI will conduct.

These research efforts will influence the methods of our own cancer care delivery.

What are some examples of clinical trials that have come out of your organization?

One of our most successful clinical trials was the evaluation of a drug called trastuzumab (Herceptin). The drug was given to women who had a specific type of breast cancer. The trial showed this drug was very successful in preventing the cancer from returning.

In a more recent example, we’re working with a pharmaceutical company to treat lung cancer patients with a brand new therapy. It helps trigger the immune system to attack the cancer. We’ve enrolled 50+ patients into these studies so far.

A care delivery study we’ve recently worked on is evaluating whether frequent text messages that are motivational and serve as medication reminders help women with breast cancer stay adherent to their daily oral medicine.

These are just a few of the examples of the exciting work that is coming out of the Kaiser Permanente NCI Community Oncology Research Program.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a Clinical Trial?

To learn if you qualify for one of our clinical trials, talk with your cancer doctor or the Clinical Trials Research Team member at your medical center.

Commission on Cancer Accreditation

Kaiser Permanente Northern California facilities are accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC). We must meet operational management and quality of care standards to earn this prestigious accreditation.

NCI Community Oncology Research Program

Kaiser Permanente is a NCI Community Oncology Research Program. We conduct cutting-edge NCI clinical trials and research studies to improve cancer care.