Cancer Treatment and Clinical Research


Decatur Memorial Hospital Cancer Care Institute offers the latest cancer treatments to patients. The clinical research team works diligently to advance our mission to improve the health status and quality of life for cancer patients by providing a local access to state-of-the-art prevention and treatment trials.

Trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have been an integral part of the Cancer Care Institute (CCI) oncology program for the past 28 years. The research team collaborates with NCI research bases that include, SWOG, NRG Oncology, ECOG-ACRIN, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, and the University of Rochester Cancer Center. The team also works with University of Chicago Phase II Consortium and the Cancer Centers of Excellence. In order to have a full complement of clinical trials available for the patients treated in our community CCI research team works in partnership with numerous pharmaceutical companies that provide exciting new treatments for our patients.

In 2013 DMH CCI became a founding member of the Heartland Cancer Research NCI Community Oncology Research Program (Heartland NCORP). The Heartland NCORP was formed through the cooperative efforts of three Community Clinical Oncology Programs (CCOP’s); Heartland Cancer Research CCOP from St. Louis, Illinois Oncology Research CCOP from Peoria, and the Central Illinois CCOP from Decatur. These three nationally recognized community cancer programs each brought to the new Heartland NCORP a strong committed network of cancer doctors, nurses, and administrators. By working together, Heartland Cancer Research NCORP provides state of the art NCI supported clinical trials to 124 counties with a population of 7 million across portions of five states.

The NCI has awarded $2,520,862 each year over five years to the Heartland Cancer Heartland NCORP in August, 2014. The award for the Heartland NCORP comes at the end of a long competitive process which included submitting an application to the NCI early January, 2014. The Heartland NCORP application was one of more than 70 grants submitted. Each grant was then evaluated and graded by a peer review committee, and in May 2014, the Heartland NCORP application received an outstanding score of 20. The NCI subjected each successful grant to additional review, and the final award to Heartland was announced. The funding will be used to help pay for the costs of specialized research staff who will work side by side with cancer physicians and oncology nurses.

This work builds on our previous successful research programs that have brought to clinical use cutting edge targeted cancer treatments that have improved outcomes while reducing side effects. Examples of groundbreaking past research include our participation in clinical studies for Herceptin in breast cancer, Avastin in lung cancer, and Rituxan in non-hodgkin’s lymphoma. Heartland Cancer Research NCORP now looks forward to broader advances of targeted treatments that will increase cure rates, improve quality of life, and add new knowledge about the complex biology of cancer.

The DMH CCI team is not only focused on treatment clinical trials, but is dedicated in improving the lives of cancer patients by providing trials in symptom management and cancer prevention that will help support and improve the quality of their lives. The team looks at different opportunities for patients to participate in trials using exercise, acupuncture, and a variety of supplements that may help limit and reduce symptoms cause by cancer or the treatment.

DMH Center for Advanced Molecular Medicine has a 16MeV GE PETtrace cyclotron and tracer center with a generous hot cell space and will be working with the DMH CCI research team on investigating PET tracer agents.