NORFOLK, Va. -- For people with cancer, having access to all available treatment options for their specific disease can be difficult. Specialized clinical trials and research may require extensive travel or even relocation to be closer to hospitals or research institutes conducting such studies. Fortunately for residents of Hampton Roads, this is not the case.

Nationally Recognized Research in Hampton Roads

One of the largest and most reputable cancer research networks in the world is US Oncology Research, which specializes in Phase I-IV oncology clinical trials in communities throughout the nation. Virginia Oncology Associates (VOA) here in Hampton Roads is one of 16 Translational Oncology Program (TOP) sites for US Oncology Research, offering the largest clinical research program in the region. Translational programs, as their name suggests, translate findings from basic research conducted in the laboratory into medical practice through clinical trials designed to assess the safety and initial efficacy of new treatments in humans. Phase I sites have traditionally existed only in academic and research institutions, but VOA offers this level of treatment, research and innovation to our region in addition to other phase II-IV clinical trials.

Convenience in Cancer Care

The TOP at Virginia Oncology Associates has enrolled hundreds of patients since it began 12 years ago. At any given time, approximately six Phase I trials are available to patients in addition to other trials. The benefits of these opportunities are tremendous for those with cancer. Primarily, the convenience of being able to participate in nationally recognized clinical trials without the stress of travel or relocation is immense. The trials at VOA allow Hampton Roads residents to remain at home, under the care of their current physician, but with the opportunity to receive newly developed treatments or investigational drugs not yet available outside these studies.

Benefits of Participation

Participation in clinical trials should be determined through careful consideration by the patient and their oncologist. Doctors and researchers at the TOP site will also need to determine if a patient is eligible for a certain trial based on their overall condition and the specific cancer or blood disease they have. If a patient does qualify for participation and volunteers to do so, they may benefit in the following ways:

  • Receiving quality cancer care from VOA physicians and other health professionals before, during and after the trial and treatment
  • Having access to new therapies not yet available to patients outside the study
  • Playing an active role in their cancer care through expanded treatment options
  • Contributing to the greater knowledge of cancer in a way that may help other cancer patients in the future

Current Research Opportunities

Research opportunities are always changing, but VOA continues to offer trials for a wide variety of cancer types including breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, genitourinary cancer, gynecological cancers and more. A list of current research opportunities can be found on its website. Phase I trials are available through VOA’s Norfolk office and Phase II-IV trials are available at locations all across Hampton Roads including Chesapeake, Williamsburg, Newport News, Norfolk and Hampton.