Roger Byhardt, MD, professor of radiation oncology and member of the
Cancer Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin, has been named
principal investigator of a $355,700 grant to help improve the access
of veterans and other military personnel who have cancer to the most
current treatments available.
The supplemental, 3-year grant from the National Cancer Institute
(NCI), via the American College of Radiology (ACR), is intended to
improve the access of veterans and military personnel to clinical
studies of new cancer therapies. This grant specifically supports
their participation in radiation oncology studies being conducted by
the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) under the auspices of the
American College of Radiology and funded by two major NCI grants.
Last year, the NCI offered the ACR funding for NCI-supported clinical
cooperative research groups, such as the RTOG, to enroll patients
from veterans hospitals and military treatment facilities in
clinical studies. The goals were to increase access of veterans and
military personnel to its sponsored clinical research trials and to
increase enrollment for clinical studies in general.
"This marks the first time in history that the National Cancer
Institute is recognizing the research contribution of the
nations Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and military
care facilities," Dr. Byhardt said. "It is a somewhat
symbolic start, but a start nonetheless."
Looking to the Future
The supplemental grant will provide the RTOG with approximately $600
to $800 in funding for each VA hospital or military care facility
patient enrolled in one of its clinical trials. It will also provide
VA and military facilities that are already members of the RTOG with
additional funds to enable their investigators to travel to the
RTOGs semiannual meeting. The grant will also waive the
RTOGs $3,000 membership application fee for any of these
facilities that are not currently affiliate members, and they will be
encouraged to join.
As principal investigator of the grant, Dr. Byhardt will devise a
formula for the distribution of the supplemental funding to the VA
hospitals and military care facilities and serve as a liaison between
them and the NCI for the program.