Press conference will address need to expand clinical trials

Officials from the University of Illinois Cancer Center will be among those participating in a press conference on Wednesday, Feb. 12, to address the need to expand clinical trials to Medicaid enrollees in Illinois. The event will be held at 11 a.m. at UI Health Mile Square Health Center, 1220 S. Wood St., Room 2007, Second Floor.

John Stewart IV, MD, MBA, FACS, associate director of clinical research, and Karriem Watson, DHSc, MS, MPH, associate director of community outreach and engagement, both at the UI Cancer Center, will speak at the event, which is being sponsored by UIC, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Association for Clinical Oncology.

Clinical trials are critical to advancing lifesaving cancer treatments, according to information distributed to media members. Patient participation in trials is crucial to their success. Currently, the Illinois Medicaid program is one of the insurance programs in the United States that is not required to cover routine care for patients in cancer clinical trials. This has exacerbated the prevalence of health inequities and racial disparities that exist within clinical trial populations, which often do not reflect the diversity of the greater population.

The Illinois legislature has an opportunity to ensure the viability of new cancer research in the state and to allow an additional one in five Illinois residents to have access to these new, potentially lifesaving treatments and therapies.

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