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

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VA Integration Awards: New Application Deadline (August 1)

Jun 19, 2015 - We have worked hard over the past two years to make it possible for institutions that are part of the Veterans' Affairs healthcare system to offer SWOG clinical trials and other NCTN studies to their patients with cancer. We've already started to see real success along the way: the MAVERIC consortium and a number of other VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) have joined or rejoined SWOG, we've been approached by many more to discuss membership, we've helped ensure that VAs will soon be able to use the NCI's Central Institutional Review Board for monitoring the SWOG clinical trials they open, and we have a new information security agreement template to speed negotiations with potential VA members.

We wanted to start by simply helping lower barriers for VA institutions, and now we want to provide some of them with the additional resources that will make the critical difference in allowing them to become part of the NCTN. This leads us to our VA Integration Support Program awards, for which we are now accepting applications.

Awards will help fund VAMC's efforts to start or to significantly improve their participation in oncology clinical trials within the NCTN, including their entry or re-entry into SWOG (or into a consortium that works with SWOG), their enrollment to the NCI Central IRB, or their hiring of an on-site coordinator dedicated to supporting participation in NCTN studies. VAMCs may apply for individual awards of $25,000 that may be spent over a one-year award period. The number of awards is contingent on available funding; we expect to make up to six such grants in 2015.

Successful institutions must demonstrate that they have a sufficient patient population, committed investigators and staff, support from ancillary services and from institutional leadership, and the ability to overcome barriers to current participation in NCTN trials.

To ensure all interested and eligible VAMCs hear about this program and have time to apply we've extended the application deadline to August 1. An application form and full details are available on The Hope Foundation website. While these awards are not designed to aid VA institutions already affiliated with SWOG, SWOG VAs are not prohibited from applying if they can clearly show a significant gap in their program or that they have recently lost infrastructure support.

Our hope is that these VA Integration Support Program funds will make it easier for VAMCs to join the NCTN and, in turn, will allow more veterans to take part in life-changing therapies through clinical research.


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