IOWA CITY — Hospitals across the state are partnering with the Iowa Cancer Consortium to create a new online clearinghouse for places in Iowa that offer clinical cancer trials.

Kelly Sittig, the consortium’s executive director, says clinical trials are research studies that identify the best ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer.

While there are many trials underway for a variety of cancer types and stages, Sittig says it can be challenging for a patient or their care team to find the right one.

“When a patient participates in a cancer clinical trial, they’re often getting access to treatment that may not be yet part of the standard of care,” Sittig says, “so there are lots of benefits to a patient in accessing a cancer clinical trial.”

When a person takes part in these trials, she says they’re contributing to knowledge about cancer that will benefit future generations. Other benefits may include closer monitoring by a healthcare team and potential cost savings.

“We hope that this will actually be a resource for patients and providers as well as caregivers, people who are loved ones of patients,” Sittig says. “We want the list to be comprehensive and one place that a patient or caregiver, a provider can go to find all of the cancer clinical trials that are available in the state.”

She says people with a family history of cancer, who haven’t been diagnosed with anything, may still benefit from such trials in terms of prevention. While the Iowa Cancer Consortium is based at the University of Iowa, cancer research is underway in multiple Iowa cities.

“People do better when they get treatment close to home, and it is important because of that to know that clinical trials can be available across the state,” Sittig says. “So it’s important for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis to ask their doctor about clinical trials that might be available as part of their treatment.”

Facilities involved with the project include: Genesis Cancer Center in the Quad Cities, Hall-Perrine Cancer Center in Cedar Rapids, Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, William R. Bliss Cancer Center in Ames, Mission Cancer + Blood statewide, and University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center in Iowa City.