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Stimulus Funds Establish Seattle as Hub of Comparative-Effectiveness Research in Cancer
Date:10/9/2009

SEATTLE, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington schools of Public Health and Pharmacy have been selected to lead four projects backed by approximately $16 million in federal stimulus funding for comparative-effectiveness research in cancer. The grants establish Seattle as a national hub for conducting such research, which aims to objectively analyze cancer diagnostic tools, screening tests and treatments to determine the optimal choices based on balancing benefits - including effectiveness - and harms, such as cost. Most of these projects involve extensive collaboration between these local institutions.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has dedicated $1.1 billion to fund such research via the Grand Opportunities (GO) grants program of the National Institutes of Health, which supports high-impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term funding. The Seattle-led GO grants, each of which will fund two-year projects, account for approximately one-third of the National Cancer Institute's first investment in the burgeoning field of cancer-related comparative-effectiveness research.

"Cancer is one of the highest areas of health care spending," said Scott Ramsey, M.D., Ph.D., an internist and health care economist who is leading a Hutchinson Center-based project that will lay the foundation for research to evaluate how various cancer genetic tests influence cancer care, outcomes and costs. "We are spending multiple billions on cancer diagnostics and hundreds of millions on genetic tests, for example, but we're not certain what we're getting for all of that money. Are patients living longer? Are they living better quality lives? We just don't have that answer," he said.

The following Seattle-based comparative-effectiveness research projects aim to help provide some of those answers:

Cancer genomics - A $4 milli
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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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