The Clinical Research Division's Dr. Bart Scott has won a two-year $56,000 Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award from the National Cancer Institute.
The award recognizes outstanding investigators whose work promotes a culture of successful clinical research. Ten awards are given per year and awardees must be mid-level faculty at NCI-designated Cancer Centers.
A committee of leaders from the Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium nominated Scott for the award; he becomes its first recipient from Fred Hutch.
As director of hematology and hematologic malignancies at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Scott conducts clinical trials and sees patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myeloproliferative disorders, diseases in which the patient makes too little or too many blood cells due to problems with the bone marrow. These blood disorders can lead to anemia, bruising, bleeding or infections, and about one-third of MDS patients will develop leukemia if untreated.
Scott is particularly interested in improving patients' enrollment in clinical trials and smoothing administrative bumps that can impede progress of clinical trials. He has implemented procedures to reduce Institutional Review Board approval time and streamline requests for insurance coverage for trial participants' medical care.
As principal investigator of a large, multicenter randomized clinical trial to study stem cell transplants in patients with MDS or leukemia, he has developed educational materials for patients and clinicians to encourage more patients to enroll.
"We're trying to raise the awareness of the importance of randomized studies," Scott said. "In medicine, a randomized trial is one of the most powerful tools that we have available to us to try to decide which treatment option is the best."
Clinical trials can be critical for cancer patients, Scott said, because in many cases, cancer treatments that are already approved may not be very beneficial.
His program at SCCA enrolls approximately 60 percent of its patients in clinical trials, which is nearly double the enrollment rate of other disease programs. Scott is also currently pursuing a master's degree in epidemiology at the University of Washington, with the goal of improving how he designs clinical trials.
"Bart is a dedicated, empathetic physician and a talented clinical investigator," said Dr. Fred Appelbaum, Clinical Research Division director.
"What really distinguishes him is his willingness to assist in and promote the clinical research efforts of his colleagues. He richly deserves this award."