UNC Lineberger Secures Three Major NCI Grants to Advance the Nation’s Clinical Trials Program

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Ned Sharpless, MD

Lisa Carey, MD

At the national level, clinical trials are seeing a lot of change. In an effort to increase efficiency and keep up with national changes in the types of clinical trials offered to cancer patients, the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) is undergoing a major reorganization. The new structure is meant to improve treatment for the more than 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year and UNC Lineberger will be playing a major role in this transition.

Leadership, Research in Drug Delivery, Genetic Sequencing

The NCI awarded grants related to the new clinical trials infrastructure in the spring of 2014, and University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger secured three major new grants as a part of this initiative. “Receiving one of these awards is an important accomplishment,” said UNC Lineberger Director Ned Sharpless, MD. “Receiving all three is truly remarkable.” Through these grants, UNC Lineberger will be providing scientific leadership into the development of the new network, will be working to accelerate drug delivery in early phase I trials, and will also be providing genetic sequencing in support of NCTN.

As a part of the first grant, UNC Lineberger will serve as one of 30 NCI Lead Academic Participating Sites (LAPS) from across the country. Under the guidance of Lisa Carey, MD, UNC Lineberger will provide NCI with scientific leadership in the development and implementation of clinical trials.

The cancer center also secured entry into a network focused on experimental clinical trials, the NCI’s Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network. Led by Claire Dees, MD, teaming with trialists at Duke and Washington University, UNC Lineberger will conduct early-phase cancer clinical trials sponsored by the NCI to help speed the drug development process.

UNC Lineberger is one of five institutions across the country receiving a new grant to measure biomarkers within the NCTN as an Integrated Translational Science Center (ITSC). The UNC ITSC will be spearheaded by Chuck Perou, MD, and Neil Hayes, MD. ■





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