Newswise — Yale Cancer Center is pleased to announce collaborative funding to support and increase access to early phase clinical trials for patients at community sites for cancer care in Connecticut. Led by Patricia M. LoRusso, DO, PhD, FASCO, the Yale Cancer Center Consortium to Advance Equity in Early-Phase Clinical Trials addresses cancer disparities in clinical trial participation. Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Loxo@Lilly, Gilead Sciences, and Boehringer Ingelheim have each provided funding and additional support for the Consortium and will collaborate with Yale Cancer Center to help increase access to phase I clinical trials. The intent of the new Consortium is to help increase access to early phase cancer clinical trials for patients who would otherwise not have the ability to be treated with novel investigational therapeutic interventions.

The new project will expand Yale Cancer Center’s Early Phase Clinical Trials Program to select community locations providing cancer treatments, affording underserved patients in these areas greater access to new drug therapies and, at the same time, allowing the research community to gain a better understanding of potential biologic and exposure differences of investigational drugs that underrepresented populations may have.

“We strongly believe that by bringing these trials closer to where our patients live and work, and helping them overcome social and structural barriers that negatively impact both accessibility and the treatment of their cancer, the likelihood of research participation by these patient populations will increase, which could significantly improve both their treatment options and quality of life,” explained Dr. LoRusso.

An expert on drug development, Dr. LoRusso is a Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology) and Associate Cancer Center Director for Experimental Therapeutics at Yale Cancer Center; she leads the Early Phase Clinical Trials Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital.

“Our project addresses the lack of representation of underrepresented and minoritized populations in early phase cancer clinical trials resulting from a lack of accessibility. Black patients account for 13 percent and Hispanic patients represent 18 percent of the U.S. population, yet each population accounts for less than four percent of all patients enrolled onto cancer clinical trials; representation is even less on early phase trials. One of the largest representation barriers is not having availability of trials close to where the patients live and work,” said Dr. LoRusso.

“We are very fortunate that multiple pharmaceutical companies believe in this mission and have joined forces with us as members of the Yale Cancer Center Consortium to Advance Equity in Early-Phase Clinical Trials to help carry out our goals. Together, we realize the need to unite to increase trial accessibility to underrepresented and minoritized populations by addressing the participation barriers identified, such as food insecurity and lack of transportation.”

Dr. LoRusso and her team have recently begun seeing patients in the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center locations in Trumbull/Fairfield/Bridgeport and plan to expand to additional Network locations in late 2023.


Yale Cancer Center combines a tradition of innovative cancer treatment and quality care for patients with cancer and their families. A National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center, Yale Cancer Center is one of only 54 Centers in the nation. Yale Cancer Center is a collaboration between nationally and internationally renowned scientists and physicians at Yale School of Medicine and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. This partnership enables the Center to provide the best approaches for prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment for cancer.