ST. HELENA – The Martin-O'Neil Cancer Center at St. Helena Hospital has earned government approval to enroll patients in national clinical trials designed to improve outcomes and reduce side effects. According to center Medical Director Gregory Smith, the center now has access to large national clinical trials covering most types of cancer and can enroll a patient for treatment in as little as 24 hours. The trials are National Cancer Institutes approved, which means Medicare and most insurance companies cover them.

Dr. Smith said oversight for the clinical trials for local patients is rigorous.

"UCSF, our clinical trial affiliate, and the National Cancer Institutes Review Board will be looking over our shoulder at every patient enrolled," he said.

The center's recent affiliation with UCSF, initially set for five years, enhances the services by providing coordinated access to treatment options at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.