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"Methods" workshop funded for five more years

Founded by TGen scientist to promote better cancer treatments

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Aug. 31, 2009 - A workshop, founded by a TGen scientist, that prepares clinicians to conduct clinical trials to fight cancer will continue for another five years as a result of a $1.5 million grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute.

The summer workshop was founded in 1996 by Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, TGen's Physician-In-Chief, and Chief Scientific Officer at TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare, which is a primary clinical trials site for TGen.

"We are honored and delighted that this important grant has been renewed," said Dr. Von Hoff, a regular faculty member at the workshop, and the Principal Investigator on the NCI grant. "The only way advances in science can make a difference for patients is through clinical trials. Doing these trials correctly are critical for the rapid introduction of new treatments.''

The workshop also is sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) - two of the nation's top cancer research support groups.

"The AACR is delighted that the Vail Methods Workshop grant has been renewed and fully funded for another five years,'' said AACR Chief Executive Officer Dr. Margaret Foti. "We owe so much to Dr. Von Hoff for his enormous contribution of time and leadership to achieve this milestone in the 14-year history of this outstanding educational offering."

Errors in the design and conduct of a clinical trial can make it impossible for the trial to provide definitive answers about the effectiveness of new approaches. Poor designs can lead to delays in the introduction of new treatments and to the abandonment of promising avenues of research, even those based on sound science.

The intensive, weeklong summer "Methods" workshop introduces oncology specialists - including those involved in radiation, radiology and surgery - to the principles of good clinical trial design.

Through lectures, small group discussions and daily mentored protocol-development group meetings, the faculty instruct and mentor the attendees in all aspects of crafting a protocol that can by approved by the National Cancer Institute and Institutional Review Boards (IRB) governing human subjects research.

AACR and ASCO have designed the Workshop to increase the reliability and effectiveness of clinical trials by:

• Introducing clinical fellows and junior faculty in any oncology subspecialty to the principles of good clinical trial design. This workshop gives them the tools they need to conduct clinical trials that will yield clear results that investigators can use to proceed to higher levels of research.
• Exposing clinical scientists to the full spectrum of challenges in clinical research, including surgery, radiotherapy, conventional and investigational antineoplastic agents and multidisciplinary treatment regimens, gene therapy, biologic therapy and multimodality and combination treatments. Workshop faculty members seek to inspire participants to devote all or a portion of their future careers to some aspect of clinical research.
• Developing a cadre of well trained, experienced clinical researchers whose expertise will foster better clinical trial design. Such expertise will thereby hasten the introduction of improved regimens for cancer therapy and prevention into everyday medical practice and patient care.

In July, the AACR - thanks to the efforts of Dr. Von Hoff - was awarded a five-year renewal of its NCI grant in the amount of $1,460,015, which will cover much of the workshop expenses for the years 2009-2013.

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About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, please visit: www.tgen.org.

Press Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
[email protected]

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