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Foundation Grants, Awards Support Significant Clinical Research

May 19, 2010

May 2010: The ASCO Cancer Foundation continues its tradition of supporting the best and most innovative clinical cancer research. The following grants and awards will be presented to meritorious researchers at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting.

Advanced Clinical Research Award (ACRA)
Advanced Clinical Research Awards (ACRAs) are three-year, $450,000 grants that support clinical and translational research conducted by oncologists who are five to 10 years past their subspecialty training. ACRAs are awarded for original research not currently funded in specific disease sites; three were presented at the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting.

ACRA in Sarcoma
David Kirsch, MD, PhD, of Duke University Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2010 ACRA in Sarcoma. He hopes that a molecular imaging device he helped develop will one day be used to identify patients with microscopic residual cancer to help guide the use of adjuvant radiation therapy, and will use the grant funding to take his newly developed technology from the laboratory to the operating room through clinical trials. The 2010 ACRA in Sarcoma is supported by the Sarcoma Foundation of America and the Capon Family.

ACRA in Breast Cancer
Isabelle Bedrosian, MD, of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, is the recipient of the 2010 ACRA in Breast Cancer. Over the next three years, Dr. Bedrosian and her team will pursue her award-supported project, “Oncogene Activation of DNA Damage Response as a Biomarker of Breast Cancer Risk and Possible Target for Prevention.” The 2010 ACRA in Breast Cancer is supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

ACRA in Colorectal Cancer
Sanjay Goel, MD, MS, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, is the recipient of the first ACRA in Colorectal Cancer. The award will support Dr. Goel and his research team as they embark on his project, “A Novel Pharmacogenomic-based Therapeutic Approach for Patients with K-ras–mutant Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC) Using an Oncolytic Reovirus.” The 2010 ASCO in Colorectal Cancer is supported by Genentech BioOncology™.

Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship (CERP) in Breast Cancer
Patricia A. Ganz, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, is the recipient of the first Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship (CERP) in Breast Cancer. This award will support her proposed research project, “Improving Outcomes for Breast Cancer Survivors: Measuring the Comparative Effectiveness of Survivorship Care Programs within the UCLA–LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center for Excellence.”

The five-year, $500,000 grant provides funding to outstanding researchers who have made, and are continuing to make, significant contributions that have changed the direction of breast cancer research, and who will provide mentorship to junior researchers. Comparative effectiveness research compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care, in order to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policymakers in making informed decisions that will improve health care. The 2010 CERP in Breast Cancer is supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe)
The inaugural Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe) in memory of Lina Cassol, MD, is awarded to Cesar Sánchez, MD, of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Cancer Center, Santiago, Chile. Dr. Sánchez is currently participating in a fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, where he will conduct his LIFe fellowship research under the tutelage of Matthew Ellis, MD. A breast cancer specialist, Dr. Sánchez will be involved with the Breast Cancer Research Program at Washington University, where he will gain experience with all aspects of clinical and translational research.

The LIFe award enables an early-career oncologist from a developing country to gain valuable experience and training at a U.S. or Canadian institution in order to effect change in cancer care in his or her home country. Recipients must return to their home institutions after completing their fellowship and are expected to disseminate the knowledge they have gained. The 2010 LIFe award is supported by Amgen.

Improving Cancer Care Grant (ICCG)
Two research teams received Improving Cancer Care Grants (ICCGs) to develop and implement new solutions to existing challenges in cancer care. Each ICCG totals $1.35 million, disbursed over three years.

Ann Hart Partridge, MD, MPH, supported by Karen M. Emmons, PhD; Mary L. Greany, PhD; Kathryn J. Ruddy, MD, MPH; and Julie S. Najita, PhD, will address the issues and concerns facing young women who are receiving breast cancer treatment—in particular, concerns about fertility following treatment. Researchers will implement a program in community care settings to provide additional care, support, and education for young women with breast cancer, and additional education and clinical tools to assist providers in caring for them; the program will be evaluated in comparison to another intervention through a randomized controlled trial. The project will be conducted at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Patricia Harrigan Hardenbergh, MD, of Shaw Regional Cancer Center, Edwards, Colorado, supported by co-investigator Carol A. Hahn, MD, of Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, will develop a program that uses a web-based radiation oncology treatment-planning review program in an effort to help bridge the gap between small radiation oncology rural practices and the rapidly advancing technology used in larger group practices. Through this program, rural-based radiation oncologists will virtually collaborate with some of the top breast radiation oncologists in the world, mimicking traditional patient chart reviews.

These grants are supported by Susan G. Komen for the Cure® as part of the Komen for the Cure/ASCO Cancer Foundation Research Initiative.

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