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Huntsman Cancer Institute receives NIH grant to establish national clinical trials site

SALT LAKE CITY A team of physician-researchers from Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) has received nearly $3.6 million over the next five years in a cooperative agreement with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a Network Lead Academic Participating Site (NLAPS). The award places HCI in an elite group of only 30 to 40 NLAPS locations nationwide; these sites are part of the NIH effort to create a new National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN).

"We're confident that HCI can be a significant asset in helping to update the NIH national clinical trials program," said David Gaffney, MD, PhD, principal investigator. Gaffney is vice-chair, medical director, and professor of radiation oncology at the U of U School of Medicine and an HCI investigator. "HCI will provide scientific leadership in developing and conducting clinical trials, as well as access to clinical trials for more patients throughout our five-state service area of the Intermountain West.

"HCI strives to provide a wide array of important clinical trials for our patients. We give our patients world-class care now, and we are working to improve cancer care in the future," Gaffney said.

The NCTN will transform, consolidate, and integrate efforts of the previous National Cancer Institute (NCI) Clinical Trials Cooperative Group. The new network's goals include developing multi-institutional clinical trials to evaluate new cancer therapies across a broad range of populations and cancer types.

HCI, an NCI-Designated Cancer Center, will be a key partner to the NCTN in cooperative group research, according to Gaffney. "We have an effective clinical trials infrastructure already established, and we have unique research assets including an NCI Center for Quantitative Imaging Excellence and the Utah Population Database," said Gaffney.

"In addition, we have multiple experts in all fields of cancer medicine, and our physicians and scientists take a team approach to improving cancer care," Gaffney added.

HCI's Center for Quantitative Cancer Imaging provides researchers, clinicians, and patients with the most advanced cancer imaging technologies, which enables the highest quality research, disease diagnosis, and therapy monitoring. The Utah Population Database is a powerful resource of population-based genealogical data that in many cases extends 15 generations, linked with statewide cancer and medical records.

"HCI is proud to direct these resources to the success of NTCN's cooperative efforts to eradicate cancer," said Gaffney.

Other key personnel on the award are executive team leaders Howard Colman, MD; Wallace Akerley, MD; John Ward, MD; and Theresa Werner, MD. All are HCI investigators.


Contact: Linda Aagard
University of Utah Health Sciences

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