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National Cancer Institute Grant Will Boost Cancer Clinical Studies

October 12, 2004

The University has received a six-year renewal grant of $2.9 million from the National Cancer Institute through the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). The grant will fund an extensive portfolio of cancer clinical studies and will be administered by The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

ECOG is a national network of cancer researchers, physicians and health care professionals at public and private institutions that is funded primarily by the NCI. ECOG members work toward the common goal of controlling, effectively treating and ultimately curing cancer.

Northwestern has been a funded member of ECOG since 1973.  In the past 13 years, the University has received almost $4 million in funding from ECOG.

Al B. Benson III, M.D., professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine, will continue as the principal investigator for the ECOG grant  at Northwestern. Benson also is a hematologist/oncologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Leo I. Gordon, M.D., Abby and John Friend Professor of Cancer Research, professor of medicine and chief of the division of hematology/oncology at the Feinberg School and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, will continue as co-principal investigator.

Benson and Gordon  maintain leadership roles within the Cancer Center, which has enhanced integration of ECOG and Cancer Center activity.

Other investigators on the ECOG grant, all of whom receive research funding from ECOG, include Athanassios Argiris, M.D.; William J. Gradishar, M.D.; Timothy M. Kuzel, M.D.; Mark S. Talamanti, M.D.; Martin S. Tallman, M.D.; Jamie H. Von Roenn, M.D.; and Jane N. Winter, M.D.

ECOG’s pathology coordinating office is located at Northwestern, and is directed by Michael R. Pins, M.D. The Cancer Center’s pathology core facility houses the bulk of all tissue collected for ECOG, involving thousands of patients in the United States.

A number of Cancer Center researchers also chair numerous ECOG clinical studies and hold key leadership positions within ECOG. Additional Cancer Center scientists, including faculty in hematology/oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology and preventive medicine, support the ECOG efforts.

The Cancer Center’s ECOG network includes additionally funded oncology practices throughout metropolitan Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Lakeland, Fla., and Israel. Evanston Northwestern Healthcare also is linked to the University’s ECOG efforts and is additionally funded through the NCI’s Community Clinical Oncology Program.

ECOG was established in 1955 as one of the first cooperative groups launched to perform multicenter cancer clinical studies. ECOG has evolved from a five-member consortium of East Coast organizations to one of the largest clinical cancer research organizations in the United States, with affiliations in Canada and South Africa.

Research results from ECOG cancer clinical studies are provided to the worldwide medical community through scientific publications and professional meetings.

Topics: University News, Research