Dr. Heather Cheng at Fred Hutch Secures NCI Grant to Help Patients ‘Crack the Code’

Jun 12, 2020 | Cancer, Clinical Trials, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Oncology, Seattle

Dr. Heather Cheng at Fred Hutch Secures NCI Grant to Help Patients ‘Crack the Code’

Clinical trial transparency, accessibility and availability represents a trend TrialSite News was formed to promote and contribute towards, and recently a prestigious research center in the Pacific Northwest, Fred Hutch, will seek to contribute in powerful ways to make this a reality as well. Dr. Heather Cheng of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center secured a Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award from the National Cancer Institute to make complex cancer research information more approachable. Dr. Cheng hopes that this effort will help make the process of clinical research participation simpler and more straightforward, leading to more robust cancer patient participation in clinical trials.

Need for a New Language

Tom Cruise, the protagonist in the movie Vanilla Sky drove home the point when declaring “Doctors. Their power is in jargon, so  you study up. Is that the procedure for allbilateral periorbital hematomas…” Cameron Crowe wasn’t off the mark, and neither is Dr. Cheng when she comments, “What we do is fairly complicated…the steps it takes for the referring provider to recognize, to remember, to then quickly be able to digest the gist of the study, recognize that somebody is eligible and then direct them to the next steps to enroll is much harder than you might otherwise think.” She continued, “I think we can do better in terms of awareness and education—and simplifying complex trial eligibility lists may really help everyone.”

Dr. Cheng’s project is certainly in alignment with TrialSite News‘ commitment towards accessibility. The more initiatives there are like this one, the more research is going to become easier for the rest of us to understand.

About Fred Hutchinson

Truly a special place, Fred Hutch is at anytime conducting about 700 clinical trials, involving research in 60 countries with three Nobel Prize winners on the faculty. The Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center grew out of the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, founded in 1956 by Dr. William B. Hutchinson (1909-1997). Early on, the center was dedicated to the study of heart surgery, cancer and diseases of the endocrine system. Hutchinson’s younger brother Fred (1919-1964) was a major league pitcher and manager who died of lung cancer at 45. Dr. Hutchinson established the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a division back then of the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation.

By 1972, thanks to the support of Senator Warren G. Magnuson, PNRF received federal funding under the National Cancer Act of 1971 to create in Seattle one of the 15 new NCI-designated Cancer Centers aimed at conducting basic research. The center became independent in 1972. By 1976, Fred Hutch became an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. By 1998, the center formed the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), a separate nonprofit corporation with UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. This solidified the center’s reach into clinical care and was essential for it retaining NCI comprehensive center designation. This designation was expanded to the center’s consortium, including the SCCA in 2003.

Lead Research/Investigator

Heather H. Cheng, MD, PhD

Call to Action: Interested in connecting with Dr. Cheng? See her profile at Fred Hutchinson

Source: Fred Hutch

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