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VA links with National Cancer Institute

A recent move by the Department of Veterans Affairs will allow seriously ill veterans to access a wider range of cancer treatments. The VA has just hooked up with the National Cancer Institute.

The program is called NAVIGATE, standing for NCI and VA Interagency Group to Accelerate Trials Enrollment. Those trials will be held at 12 VA sites across the country, with the facility in Boston serving as the coordinating center.

Veterans can benefit by taking advantage of clinical trials run by the cancer institute. These trials often use experimental treatments, such as immunotherapies and precision medicine, which are individualized to the patient. Treatments often are cutting-edge and not offered elsewhere.

While the VA already has other types of research running at over 100 sites, it’s been difficult for it to start and complete trials, such as the ones run by NCI. With NAVIGATE at the helm, veterans with cancer will have much easier access as they work toward a cure.

One of the programs run by the VA’s Office of Research and Development is the Million Veteran Program (MVP), which seeks to collect a blood sample and health info from a million veterans. The goal is to study how genes affect health, especially with cancer, diabetes and PTSD, and to learn why some treatments work for certain veterans but not others. If you’d like to consider joining the program, read about it online at

The VA Technology Transfer Program seeks to speed up access of VA technology and patents, by both veterans and the civilian population. Currently the VA has hundreds of patents ranging from a collapsible wheelchair and an ankle-foot prosthesis to a method to screen skin for tissue damage.

If you want to consider signing up for one of the cancer trials, talk to your VA physician. 

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