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You are here: Home / News / 2011 News / Improving Clinical Trials, Speeding New Cancer Therapies Focus of New NIH Grant to Area Researchers

Improving Clinical Trials, Speeding New Cancer Therapies Focus of New NIH Grant to Area Researchers

by Susan Lucas last modified Apr 04, 2011 02:53 PM

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and N.C. State University have teamed up to find ways to design more powerful clinical trials for cancer treatments, effectively getting better and more personalized new therapies to cancer patients sooner.

The researchers have been awarded a $12.5 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop new methods for the design and analysis of cancer clinical trials.

“Statistical Methods for Cancer Clinical Trials,” is one of the largest grants of its kind to be awarded by the National Cancer Institute. The project is led by three principal investigators: Michael R. Kosorok, PhD, professor and chair of the biostatistics department of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health; Marie Davidian, PhD, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Statistics and director of the Center for Quantitative Sciences in Biomedicine at NC State; and Stephen L. George, PhD, professor of biostatistics at Duke.

The project will support a major collaborative, multidisciplinary effort that takes advantage of the unrivaled concentration of leading statistical and clinical experts at the three campuses, as well as the two highly-rated cancer centers at UNC and Duke. The leadership team also includes three co-principal investigators: Joseph G. Ibrahim, PhD, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Biostatistics and director of the Center for Innovative Clinical Trials at UNC; Sin-Ho Jung, PhD, professor of biostatistics at Duke; and Anastasios A. Tsiatis, PhD, Drexel Professor of Statistics at NC State. Kosorok and Ibrahim are members of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Clinical trials are controlled studies in humans that evaluate the value of prevention, diagnosis or treatment methods, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. The effectiveness of almost all advances in cancer treatment must be evaluated in clinical trials before being adopted in clinical practice.

Statisticians play an integral role in designing trials, analyzing and interpreting the results to determine if they are meaningful and developing new methods for design and analysis in settings where traditional methods are inappropriate. The project’s statistical researchers will work with its clinical investigators to apply state-of-the-art statistical techniques to address the challenges for trial design and analysis posed by complex clinical endpoints, diagnostic markers, personalized medicine, and sequential courses of treatment in melanoma, breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancer settings. The goal is to dramatically improve the efficiency of the cancer clinical trial process and ultimately to improve the health and longevity of cancer patients.

More than $2.5million from the National Cancer Institute will fund the first year of the project.

Note:

Kosorok can be reached at (919)966-8107 or by email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.
Davidian can be reached at (919)515-1940 or by email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.
George can be reached at (919)681-2224 orby email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact:

Ramona DuBose, (919)966-7467or by email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

NC State College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences contact:

Steve Townsend, (919) 513-0300 or by email  An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

Duke University School of Medicine contact:

Mary Jane Gore, (919) 660-1309 or by email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center contact:

Jill Boy,(919) 684-3560 or by email  An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

UNC News Services contact:

Mike McFarland (919) 962-8593 or by email  An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

NC State News Services contact:

Tracey Peake, (919)515-6142 or by email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.

Duke Medicine News and Communications contact:

Michelle Gailiun,(919) 660-1306 or by email An icon indicating that a link will launch an email program.