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Siteman Cancer Center awarded grant from Tommy Thompson

Jason Merrill

Sept. 5, 2003 – Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson awarded the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine a grant in partnership with five other U.S. cancer centers involved in a unique public-private partnership Overcoming Barriers to Early Phase Clinical Trials. Friends of Cancer Research initiated this groundbreaking collaborative effort between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in partnership with five pharmaceutical companies.

The grant's purpose is to improve participation in and access to early phase clinical trials. Siteman Cancer Center oncologist Paula M. Fracasso, MD, PhD, is principal investigator of the grant awarded to Washington University School of Medicine that will address improving participation by minority patients.

Despite the widespread importance of clinical trials, research estimates that less then 5 percent of cancer patients are enrolled in these studies, Fracasso says. "Our study will support a peer 'coach' intervention for promoting minority accrual to clinical trials in patients with advanced breast, colorectal, lung or prostate carcinoma."

The trained peer coaches will be of the same race and ethnicity of the patient to facilitate treatment, enhance quality of life and encourage participation in clinical trials. These activities will be part of a randomized trial, with some participants receiving the peer coaches and others receiving usual care.

Other key investigators include Mark S. Walker, PhD; Nancy L. Bartlett, MD; Katherine Jahnige, MD; Edwin B. Fisher, PhD; and biostatistician J. Philip Miller.

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