Opponents on the football field, a group of eleven schools from the Big Ten athletic conference have come together to launch an ambitious new effort against a common foe: cancer.
“By uniting to transform cancer research through collaborative oncology trials, we will be able to leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of the Big Ten universities,” said Steven Rosen, MD, Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine and director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. “The consortium will benefit patients because researchers will work together to turn ideas into potential new treatments. I view this as the beginning of a broad spectrum of potential research, training, and care initiatives that will benefit our patients and society.”
Launched in Chicago earlier this month, the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is meant to transform cancer research through collaborative oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of each university.
“This is a rare opportunity for the universities to work together as part of a regional team science initiative to advance cancer research,” said Patrick J. Loehrer Sr., MD, director of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. “The advantage of this, particularly during a time of austerity for research, is that we can build upon the strengths of the institutions and fortify some of the shortcomings.”
Newly developed clinical trials will be linked to molecular diagnostics, enabling researchers to understand what drives the cancers to grow and what might be done to stop them from growing.
The consortium will also leverage geographical locations and existing relationships among cancer centers.
“For research to be truly impactful, we must work together,” said Maha Hussain, MD, associate director of clinical research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The synergy, the collaboration, the implementation all are aimed at one ultimate goal – making a real difference for patients.”
The consortium is meant to create a unique team-research culture in which senior faculty work with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow. The consortium will provide junior faculty and fellows the opportunity to write, conduct and complete trials, which would not normally be done at a single institution or on a national level for young investigators.
The 11 schools that comprise the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium are: Indiana University, Northwestern University, Penn State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, the University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, and University of Wisconsin.
Indianapolis-based Hoosier Oncology Group will serve as the administrative headquarters for the consortium.