Patients in Mankato and other communities across the state soon will have better access to new cancer treatments and care, thanks to a new state-funded partnership involving the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, the Hormel Institute and several of the state’s large health care providers.

The University of Minnesota is launching the Minnesota Cancer Clinical Trials Network with multiple locations across the state.

The regional medical director of Oncology for Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato Stephan Thome said that patients, “Facing a cancer diagnosis often travel long distances to gain access to clinical trials. This program and partnership allows Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato to help reduce some of the extra burden of travel on our patients and offer new opportunities for hope and healing locally.”

Nearly half of all Minnesotans will receive a potentially life-threatening cancer diagnosis, but Mayo Clinic officials say 56 percent of them currently have fewer options for treatment because they live more than 30 miles from a hospital or clinic that offers access to clinical trials.