Labcorp, CCORN Collaborate to Assess Factors Leading to Disparities in Cancer Care

Portrait of a contemplative woman with cancer
[Source: FatCamera/Getty Images]

Lab services giant Labcorp and oncology research organization and Community Clinical Oncology Research Network, LLC (CCORN) announced the two organization will collaborate to understand how social and economic factors help create disparities in the provision of precision cancer care.

As part of the collaboration the two organizations will create the PREFER (PRospective rEgistry oF advanced stage cancER) patient registry to inform the development of clinical trials aimed at improving participation from diverse populations.

“While progress has been made to improve outcomes in cancer medicine, especially over the past two decades, current standards of care remain woefully inadequate, due in part to a lack of access and diversity in clinical trials, as well as limited access to advanced diagnostic testing,” said Prasanth Reddy, M.D., senior vice president and head of oncology at Labcorp. “Advanced diagnostic testing offered by Labcorp, much like genomic sequencing, is critical to ensure the right drug reaches the right patient at the right time in their cancer journey.”

The PREFER registry will seek to recruit 2,500 patients with advanced solid-tumor cancers. Recruitment will begin next month at site across the country and participants will be tested with OmniSeek INSIGHTs, a tissue-based test using next-gen sequencing to generate a comprehensive genomic and immune profile of each participant. The data will then be analyzed to identify the prevalence of actionable biomarkers and the driver mutations that are unique to different ethnicities.

Labcorp has worked with OmniSeq as the exclusive distributor of the INSIGHT test in the U.S. for the past four years and is also an equity partner in the company.

In addition to the patient registry, the two will also create a biobank that will be made available to the broader oncology community to help provide real-world evidence on cancer care disparities. The intention is to use this information to help inform better design in oncology clinical trials, aid in patient recruitment for trials, and to help encourage broader genomic profiling among different ethnic populations.

With cancer care and research progressing at a rapid clip, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recommend clinical trials as a treatment option for cancer. Yet, today, fewer than 5% of patients diagnosed with cancer are enrolled in these trials for reasons including lack of awareness, social determinants of health, and geographic and logistical obstacles.

“Diverse populations already suffer from a lack of access to adequate cancer diagnosis and treatment, including reduced screening rates and staging at diagnosis, along with the financial challenges people often face following a diagnosis of cancer,” said Dr. Kashyap Patel, founder and Chairman of CCORN, prresident of the Community Oncology Alliance, and CEO of the Carolina Blood and Cancer Care. “Drug development processes have been relatively unsuccessful in reflecting demographic diversity in clinical trials, which further contributes to disparities in care and outcomes for those groups. It’s imperative that we determine how and why disparities occur, and this collaboration with Labcorp will be a major step in this regard.”

According to a 2020 AACR research report on cancer care disparities, the association estimated that 34% of of cancer deaths among U.S. adults age 25 to 74 could be prevented if disparities in clinical trial participation were actively addressed. The collaboration between Labcorp and CCORN is one effort to provide the oncology community with a better understanding of how to continue advancing personalized medicine in cancer care and improve outcomes among all patients, regardless of ethnicity.

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