KU Cancer Center Clinical Trials Teams Gives Mom Better Life with Her Kids

IIT Team

Dedicated clinical trials teams are key to groundbreaking research at the KU Cancer Center.

Corina Ramirez, a young mother of two, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015. When her cancer was no longer responding to chemotherapy, she turned to a clinical trial offered at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Once in the study, she said she knew almost immediately the treatment was working. 

Clinical Trials: An Inside Look

Groundbreaking clinical trials are key to making progress against cancer and, as the only National Cancer Institute-designated center for hundreds of miles, KU Cancer Center has a steadfast commitment to providing the latest therapy options. KU Cancer Center hosts both investigator-led and pharmaceutical-led trials.

Investigator-initiated trials – homegrown trials led by physician-scientists – almost exclusively take place at academic medical centers like KU Cancer Center, and KU Cancer Center often serves as the region’s sole site for pharmaceutical-led trials. At any given time, KU Cancer Center is actively enrolling participants in at least 130 clinical trials.

Super-Specialized Experts

Behind every clinical trial is a flurry of activity. Teams of specialists, many housed at the state-of-the-art KU Clinical Research Center, which receives JCERT funding, manage major components of the clinical trial. Teams include:

  • Correlative Laboratory Team: Develops, standardizes and performs proper acquisition, processing and either short-term storage or shipping of research samples from clinical trials;
  • Investigator-Initiated Trials Team: Opens trials developed by physician-scientists;
  • Regulatory Affairs Team: Manages all regulatory activities required to activate clinical trials;
  • Finance Team: Negotiates trial budgets, designating how costs are to be billed, paying hospital bills for patients and billing the trial sponsors;
  • Early Phase Team: Supports the administrative and clinical execution of early-phase oncology trials;
  • Clinical Research Coordinators: Supports each patient throughout their trial experience; and
  • Clinical Data Coordinators: Ensures data generated by the patient is reported correctly.

Finally, invaluable members of clinical trial teams are the research participants – like Corina. Clinical trials are the only way researchers can continue to develop new cancer treatments, and when patients volunteer for clinical trials, they are offering hope and opportunity for future patients.

Through the early-phase immunotherapy study, Corina received a combination of two drugs that boosted her immune system. As a result of the treatment, her tumors have shrunk and she says immunotherapy has dramatically improved her quality of life.

“Because of the clinical trial, I have a life with my children,” Corina said.

For the hundreds of people who support clinical trials at KU Cancer Center, stories like Corina’s motivate and inspire their work each day.

Learn more about clinical trials at KU Cancer Center.