NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
June 13, 2006 • Volume 3 / Number 24 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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CCOP ProfileCCOP Profile

San Juan Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MBCCOP)
Principal Investigator: Dr. Luis Baez; Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. William Cáceres • Administrator: Doris Cuadrado • PMB #54 P.O. Box 70344, San Juan, PR 00936-8344 • Phone: 787-763-1296 or 787-758-7348 • Email:

Staff members of the San Juan MBCCOP Background
The San Juan MBCCOP received its initial funding from NCI in July 1990. The program comprises four main hospitals: San Juan VA Hospital (VA Caribbean Health Care System), San Juan Hospital, San Juan Oncology Hospital (also known as I. Gonzalez Martinez Hospital), and Ponce Oncology Hospital (also known as Andres Grillasca Hospital). It also includes four satellite private clinics across the island: Doctors Cancer Center in Manatí, Hato Rey Hematology Oncology Group in Hato Rey, Hematology Oncology Group in Bayamón, and the Primary Care Physicians Group.

Staff affiliated with the program include 23 oncologists, 7 surgeons, 2 pathologists, 5 radiation oncologists, 3 primary care physicians, 8 hematology-oncology fellows, 2 research fellows, 3 research nurses, and 9 study coordinators who have completed training on the protection of research subjects and good clinical practices.

At this time, the San Juan MBCCOP is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG).

Community Characteristics
Since 1990, the San Juan MBCCOP has served approximately 2,000 patients in the context of treatment trials and cancer control trials. The local patient base is 99 percent minority based, 40 percent of whom have a health care plan through government benefits. According to the program staff, these patients are very reliable and highly committed to research protocols.

The San Juan MBCCOP has facilitated the participation of primary care physicians in the SWOG SELECT Trial, subsequently enrolling 1,456 patients in the study. It also participates in the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, the STAR Trial, and NSABP adjuvant treatment trials, as well as pain management protocols that have highlighted the challenges associated with pain management among Hispanics who receive treatment for cancer. During this year, the program has exceeded the expected enrollment of patients in treatment trials by 40 percent.

Outreach Activities
To educate people about the opportunity of cancer clinical trials, the San Juan MBCCOP participates in health fairs at shopping malls, health care conferences, and physician education programs, as well as prevention clinics at hospitals and industrial manufacturing facilities. These activities have helped the program sites to recruit more patients to the trials in which they participate.

Other Key Facts
The San Juan MBCCOP works very closely with the San Juan Hospital and San Juan VA Hospital fellows, who evaluate inpatient and outpatient subjects for clinical trial eligibility and randomization. This activity is done under close supervision during five clinics per week held at the participating hospitals.

On March 15, 2006, Principal Investigator Dr. Luis Baez received the Association of Community Cancer Centers' Community Clinical Scientist Award, presented to him by former NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach.