Oncology Clinical Trials

For Mercy Research’s oncology team, caring for cancer patients is not just a career—it’s a calling.  We’re honored to help people who are at their most vulnerable.  And we’re inspired by our patients’ courage and resilience.  Mercy Research has hundreds of adult and pediatric cancer specialists who care for almost every kind of cancer.  These nationally known experts engage in clinical research to bring you leading-edge cancer treatments, delivered with the most innovative technologies available.

We’re working to find smarter ways to fight cancer by harnessing the power of genetic testing, gene targeting therapies and activating your body’s immune system to fight cancer. 

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Blood cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer and other genitourinary cancers
  • Sarcomas
  • Skin cancer

Cancer Research for the Ozarks

Cancer Research for the Ozarks (Ozarks NCORP)  is one of 46 NCI Community Oncology Research Programs—a national network of cancer researchers, providers and other institutions that care for diverse patient populations in health systems. Established in the spirit of collaboration between Mercy and CoxHealth, CRO brings access to the latest federally funded clinical trials to the communities we serve.

Featured Research

Shooting for the Moon to Cure Cancer - Cancer Moonshot Biobank Research Protocol 

On the 54th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s historic “moon” speech at Rice University, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched a new moonshot challenge: accelerating cancer research. Cancer Research for the Ozarks (CRO) is part of this program, which is supported by funding through the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative (named in honor of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, who passed away from brain cancer). The goal is to advance our understanding of cancer progression—and find new treatments faster.

CRO is one of 20 NCI Community Oncology Research Programs in the nation selected to participate in the Cancer MoonshotSM Biobank Research Protocol.Through this five-year effort, patients with advanced cancers who are being treated with molecularly targeted therapies will be asked to donate biospecimens (blood and tumor tissues) and health data throughout their cancer treatment (longitudinally) to a central repository called the Moonshot Biobank. Studying these Biobank samples can help researchers learn how genes affect a person’s response to cancer treatment.

“It can take an individual researcher years to collect longitudinal biospecimens from cancer patients in diverse populations,” says Kristina Gardner, director of Cancer Research for the Ozarks. “The Moonshot Biobank accelerates the pace, so researchers can spend more time in the laboratory developing new treatments,” she says.

Biospecimens are being collected from diverse racial, cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic groups at multiple institutions so that cancer patients from all populations can potentially benefit. Patients who donate them have advanced cancers that are no longer responding to treatment.

Gardner says many patients are grateful for the opportunity to do something good with a difficult diagnosis. “For these patients, it’s an opportunity to leave a legacy by participating in research that will benefit future generations,” she says.

For additional study information, visit clinicaltrials.gov and search NCT number 03707574.

Advancing Urologic Cancer Treatment

Urologic cancers affect the bladder, kidneys and male reproductive organs. Mercy Research is participating in studies designed to make diagnosing and treating urologic cancer even better for patients.

Different Strains of BCG With or Without Vaccine in High-Grade, Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of any cancer (as high as 80%). Mercy Research is studying a treatment using a tuberculosis vaccine to help prevent bladder cancer from returning.

Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is a noninfectious bacteria that can stimulate the immune system to fight bladder cancer. The study compares two strains of BCG to measure their effectiveness at preventing bladder cancer recurrence. On a third arm of the study, participants are “primed” with an injectable BCG vaccine three weeks before receiving in-bladder BCG therapy through a catheter.

Clinical Research Nurse Monica Cross says access to BCG therapy has been a major draw due to limited supplies of the drug. “For patients, the study not only gives them access to BCG but to the highest standard of care for invasive bladder cancer.”

For additional trial information, visit clinicaltrials.gov using NCT number 03091660.