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The Front Line
The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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Supplemental Funding For SWOG Trials – Always Seeking, Often Getting

June 3, 2016 - The NCI has long granted supplemental awards through its Biomarker, Imaging, and Quality of Life Studies Funding Program (BIQSFP) to support trials launched in the National Clinical Trial Network (NCTN) and its Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

Here at SWOG, we’ve invested quite a bit of effort over the past year to go after this funding. That work is truly paying off for the group and our members.

We just got word that we’ve received four BIQSFP awards totaling more than $1.5 million. All cover biomarker analysis. One is for S1513, a pancreatic cancer trial run by Dr. Elena Chiorean of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Another is for S1602, a bladder cancer trial run by Dr. Robert Svatek at UT Health Science Center. The kidney cancer trial S1500, led by Dr. Monty Pal of City of Hope, received an award. And an approval letter just arrived this week for S1613, led by Dr. Kanwal Raghav of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, for biomarker testing for this colorectal cancer trial.

Meanwhile, SWOG has one more BIQSFP request pending. If successful, these five applications would bring in about $1.7 million from the NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis and Division of Cancer Prevention, which oversee the BIQSFP.

This supplemental funding is critical to today’s cancer trials. BIQSFP covers the costs of running and reading medical scans, shipping and analyzing tissue, and conducting certain specimen tests. BIQSFP not only covers the treatment side, but cancer prevention and control, too. The program supports some of the costs associated with evaluating quality of life impacts on patients, and including patient-reported outcomes in trials. Recently, BIQSFP started covering expenses associated with cost-effectiveness analysis – an increasingly hot topic in cancer research, given the debate over value in cancer medicine.

Our grants manager, Amber Roberts, helped us substantially boost the number of submissions to BIQSFP starting last year and, in February, we brought in Sarah Gothard as a new hire to the group chair’s office. Most of Sarah’s work is devoted to BIQSFP applications, and she is working on several proposals. So I not only encourage you to consider this funding for new trials, but assure you that you’ll have help putting your submission together.

I extend a big thanks to Amber and Sarah for their work. Contact either of them with questions about the BIQSFP program at roberamb@ohsu.edu and gothard@ohsu.edu or by visiting the BIQSFP website. If you want to get an application going, another important early connection to make is with your protocol coordinator at our operations office. BIQSFP makes trials better, and possibly faster, and we are grateful for that.


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