NCI awards $7.5 million for new cancer screening statistical coordination center

Public Health Sciences Division’s Ziding Feng, Bill Barlow co-lead nationwide PROSPR program to reduce deaths, health care costs for breast, colon, cervical cancers
Dr. Ziding Feng
Dr. Ziding Feng will co-lead the new PROSPR statistical coordination center. Image courtesy Dr. Ziding Feng

The National Cancer Institute recently awarded $7.5 million to the Hutchinson Center for statistical coordination of a new population-based research program to evaluate and improve the cancer screening process from recruitment through treatment referral for breast, colon and cervical cancers.

The Public Health Sciences Division's Drs. Ziding Feng and Bill Barlow (whose primary appointment is at the University of Washington) will co-lead the five-year effort for the Population-based Research Optimizing Screening through Personalized Regimens study.

The PROSPR statistical coordination center will support the seven U.S. study sites, each following thousands of patients through the cancer screening, diagnostic workup and treatment process. The coordination center will:

  • Establish and operate a central data repository to combine cancer screening data (and associated clinical data) from all the PROSPR research centers and enable data sharing
  • Lead efforts to optimize and standardize terminology, data collection, processing, and exchange across all three cancers
  • Function as a scientific hub for integrating multidisciplinary efforts across the research centers studying a single cancer and for reaching a comprehensive understanding of the screening process by comparing the screening processes across cancers
  • Establish and operate an outreach/dissemination arm to provide appropriate access to PROSPR data and procedures.

Feng said the study population would enable research of:

  • Optimal screening strategies
  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Overdiagnosis
  • Benefits and harm
  • Cost of screening and diagnostic modalities
  • Risk factors for and early detection of cancer
  • Prognosis of precancerous lesions in breast, colon and cervix.

"These are all potential areas for Center investigators to collaborate with us, especially since we usually do not have access to such populations," Feng said. "We are very excited about this opportunity."

Other Center co-investigators include Drs. Mark Thornquist, Yingye Zheng, Chris Li, Connie Lehman, Bill Brady and Polly Newcomb.

"This project is a good example of cross-division, multidisciplinary collaboration among statisticians, clinicians and epidemiologists," Feng said.

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