Welcome to the National Cancer Institute’s Minority and Underserved Community Oncology Research Program (MU-NCORP) at The Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) in Washington Heights.

The purpose of the program is to offer local residents state-of-the-art cancer prevention and access to the latest clinical trials at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in uptown Manhattan.

The NCI’s NCORP is part of a $93 million initiative launched in August 2014 by the National Institutes of Health to ensure that all population groups are represented in cancer research.

In March 2019, the National Cancer Institute designated the HICCC 1 of only 12 NCI NCORP sites in the nation to study a new tissue procurement protocol that will help advance precision oncology research for patients with advanced malignancies. With HICCC’s existing strengths in precision oncology, researchers have already conducted exciting work at Columbia advancing the field of tissue sample collection for molecular testing and investigating novel personalized therapies. Selection for this new protocol study means HICCC researchers will be able to further investigate the feasibility of tissue acquisition and continue to explore molecularly targeted treatments. The study also will inform the Cancer Moonshot Biobank, an NCI initiative to collect tumor biopsy, blood samples and associated data to help answer pressing questions in cancer research.

The NCORP network includes many urban and rural hospitals; however, Columbia University Irving Medical Center is one of only 12 Minority and Underserved NCORPs.

What does this mean for patients?

Columbia University Medical Center has long been committed to improving healthcare access for area residents. Our neighborhood is 71 percent Hispanic and 14 percent black, with nearly one-third living below the poverty level. Cancer is the leading cause of reduced lifespan for members of this community.

Our clinical trials allow patients to take advantage of the latest and most advanced cancer treatments while staying close to family, friends, support systems, local physicians and health organizations.

Those who participate in high quality clinical studies receive ongoing monitoring and better healthcare. Our patients benefit from the combined expertise of a national network of cancer researchers throughout the US and in Puerto Rico, and from internationally known physicians at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center—one of the nation’s most prestigious cancer institutes.