NCI NCORP-designated LSU Health NO, ConcertAI Announce Collaboration Addressing Diversity in Clinical Trials

The National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program-designated Louisiana State University (LSU) Health New Orleans and ConcertAI, LLC (ConcertAI) announced a five-year partnership to improve the diversity of clinical trials and ensure broader clinical trial access throughout the Gulf South region.

The collaboration aligns to ConcertAI’s ERACE program. ERACE (Engaging Research to Achieve Cancer Care Equality) furthers equitable access, care, and outcomes for all patients using Real-world Data (RWD) and advanced technologies.

“This is urgent and vital work that will form the foundations of true equity in healthcare,” said Jeff Elton, PhD, CEO of ConcertAI. “LSU Health New Orleans and ConcertAI believe addressing disparities starts with a foundation of data and a diversity of clinical settings that explicitly assure the broadest representativeness and generalizability. This, combined with the latest real-world analytic and AI-enabled software assure insights progress to practice in weeks and months versus years.”

“The collaboration will identify current cancer care disparities in Louisiana and how they can be addressed,” said Augusto Ochoa, MD, and LSU Health New Orleans NCORP principal investigator. “Insights gleaned from the novel real-world data advanced by the partnership will lead to evidence-based strategies to reduce health inequities among populations with existing disparities, including the implementation of AI-based capabilities to improve patient screening, engagement and recruitment at clinical trial sites throughout the region.”

The collaboration is in line with the vision of NCI NCORP leadership. A $5.6 million grant from the NCI helped LSU Health New Orleans establish a clinical trials network throughout the Gulf South region. The NCI then awarded LSU Health New Orleans a $13.6 million grant to expand the network, emphasizing minority and underserved patients.

Together with LSU Health’s clinical trial sites and real-world data from ConcertAI’s nationwide cancer care settings and “system of evidence,” the collaboration will assess the impact of the Gulf South Minority Underserved NCORP program on minority enrollment in clinical trials, retention, and health outcomes. Joining the effort is LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Tumor Registry (LTR), one of 21 cancer registries comprising the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. Funded by the grants from the NCI and CDC, it collects complete, high-quality, and timely population-based data in Louisiana to support cancer research, control, and prevention.

“We are eager to participate in this partnership and continuing to reduce the state’s cancer burden and disparities and improve the survival and quality of life for all cancer patients,” said Xiaocheng Wu, MD, MPH, director of the TR at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.

“Gaining insights from related clinical trials and EMR data from LSU Health New Orleans and the LTR is unique, so we’re particularly excited about the important research questions we can answer with the combination of such data sources as they relate to improving diversity in clinical trials,” said Sudip Bhandari, PhD, lead ConcertAI data scientist for the partnership.