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Three ACS researchers to receive Real-World Data Impact Award

The three $75,000 grants will fund the study of quality and equity in cancer care and outcomes

Three ACS-funded researchers will receive additional funding to advance patient-centric research and, as an added benefit, will be allowed access to Flatiron Health's national de-identified oncology datasets curated from electronic health records. 

ACS and Flatiron designed the grant-making program in 2019 to advance patient-centric research among currently funded ACS investigators with experience in health services or outcomes research. ACS oversaw the selection process, while Flatiron provides the funding - all with a goal to accelerate cancer research and improve treatment and outcomes for patients.

Using Flatiron Health’s de-identified real-world datasets, the researchers will study immunotherapy effectiveness in frail patients with non-small cell lung cancer; equitable access to genomic testing and personalized treatments in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer; and racial disparities in the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer.

The recipients of the 2020 awards are:

  • Minal Kale, MD is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She will conduct a comparative effectiveness study of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in individuals with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and poor performance status. Dr. Kale will study a longitudinal, demographically and geographically diverse sample of individuals with advanced NSCLC to learn more about the benefits of immunotherapy in individuals with poor performance status. These findings will provide key insights into the treatment of patients who are typically excluded from clinical trials. 
  • Siran M. Koroukian-Hajinazarian, PhD, is an associate professor of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. Dr. Koroukian-Hajinazarian will conduct a retrospective cohort study to evaluate patterns of genomic testing and targeted therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer to assess the impact of patient and practice characteristics on receipt of these services. These findings will help identify new opportunities to improve the quality and equity of cancer care in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
  • Ying Liu, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She will conduct a retrospective cohort study to examine the differences between African American and European American patients with metastatic breast cancer in the treatment patterns and adherence to therapy. Dr. Liu will also assess the roles of sociodemographic and clinical factors in observed differences in treatment patterns, as well as patient survival and disease progression. These findings will enhance our understanding of underlying reasons for previously reported racial disparities in patients with metastatic breast cancer. 

“Particularly in the current environment, ACS is grateful for the potential of these grants to use real-world data to help expand the scope of questions our researchers are able to answer,” said Bill Phelps, PhD, senior vice president for Extramural Research. “We look forward to seeing how Flatiron’s additional funding and access to this data may help these investigators in their quest to improve patient outcomes in cancer.”

Headquartered in New York City, Flatiron Health is a healthcare technology and services company focused on accelerating cancer research and improving patient care. Its platform enables cancer researchers and care providers to learn from the experience of every patient. Currently, Flatiron partners with more than 280 community cancer practices, seven major academic research centers, and over 15 of the top therapeutic oncology companies. 

Its website says: "At Flatiron, we believe that learning from the experience of every cancer patient is an imperative — it is the key to accelerating research and continuing to improve the quality of care. What stands in the way is an overwhelming technology challenge: Much of the available, real-world clinical data is unstructured and stored across thousands of disconnected community clinics, medical centers and hospitals. It is a problem that we believe we can solve."

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