(AP) — Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine is launching a new program to train doctors on how to care for patients with cancer and blood disorders, which officials hope will improve patient access to doctors and experimental treatments.

The State Journal-Register reports that the university’s oncology-hematology fellowship program is set to begin July 1 in Springfield.
The program will enroll two doctors a year. Doctors in the program will treat patients at Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital over a span of three years.

University oncologist Dr. Krishna Rao is the program’s director. He says fellows will help provide the manpower needed to expand clinical trials of new drugs and treatments in Springfield. Patients currently have to travel to St. Louis or Chicago for such options.

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