Apr 22, 2021
By Jeannine Salamone, ASCO Communications
GRASP: Guiding Researchers and Advocates to Scientific Partnerships is a patient-led program aimed at bringing patient advocates and researchers together to learn from one another and share unique perspectives and experiences as they work toward progress in cancer research. GRASP was established by Christine Hodgdon and Julia Maués, two women living with metastatic breast cancer who made it their life’s mission to drive more impactful research and make faster progress to end cancer.
“We firmly believe that bidirectional learning engagements between patients and researchers can lead to research that is more impactful and fundable,” Ms. Hodgdon said.
GRASP creates learning opportunities that connect patient advocates, patients, and researchers in ways that acknowledge members of each party as experts. Oncologists are experts in treating cancer, researchers are experts in the science of cancer, and patients are experts in living with cancer.
Phillipe Aftimos, MD, a medical oncologist at Institut Jules Bordet in Brussels, Belgium, has participated in GRASP multiple times, and intends to continue lending his time and expertise to the effort. “It’s enriching for everybody; an educational experience for the patient advocates and the scientists,” he said.
Ms. Hodgdon and Ms. Maués have built on the program’s success over the last 2 years, most notably through partnerships they’ve facilitated at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in 2019 and 2020, and the 2020 ASCO Annual Meeting.
During the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting, GRASP will take place virtually. Advocates and researchers will discuss scientific posters presented at the conference across various cancer types and areas of research. GRASP sessions will take place following the ASCO Annual Meeting, on June 9 and 10, at three different times each day to accommodate for different time zones. A key aspect of the GRASP model is to keep groups small to allow for an exchange of ideas as well as contributions from all participants. To learn more and get involved, please visit the GRASP website.