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$8.6 million grant to help UA Cancer Center lead clinical trial network
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$8.6 million grant to help UA Cancer Center lead clinical trial network

Old Main

Old Main on the University of Arizona campus.

The University of Arizona Cancer Center has received an $8.6 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to perform early phase clinical trials for cancer prevention.

The UA Cancer Prevention Clinical Trials Network is one of three throughout the country to be funded by the NCI. UA researchers will collaborate with 12 other organizations to design and conduct clinical trials that will assess the cancer preventative potential of a variety of treatments, including repurposed drugs already being used for other illnesses, food and dietary supplements believed to provide health benefits, topical drugs such as lotions and creams and immunoprevention approaches, such as cancer vaccines.

“The mission of the UA Cancer Center is to prevent and cure cancer,” said Sherry Chow, co-leader of the Cancer Center Prevention and Control Program. “Through these early phase clinical trials, we will be able to contribute to that mission. We hope to find something that will be safe and effective to use in cancer prevention.”

Chow, along with the UA Cancer Center’s Deputy Director Julie Bauman, will serve as co-principal investigators on the five-year grant.

Early phase clinical trials — phase 0, I or II — are the first steps in testing new or existing medicines on a particular disease or illness. The goal of the network is to conduct these trials to assess the safety, tolerability and cancer preventative potentials of the drugs or agents, and to identify effective treatments that can be advanced to larger phase III studies.

Through these trials, the network will help pave the way for new drugs and vaccines that could be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the future.

The UA’s network will be an extension of the UA Early Phase Chemoprevention Consortium, which conducts early phase clinical trials of chemopreventive agents. The consortium has been funded by over $20 million from the NCI since 2003.

“We’ve been very successful in conducting early phase clinical trials, testing different agents for prevention of lung and upper aerodigestive cancers, HPV-associated cancers, breast, prostate, skin, cervical and esophageal cancers,” Chow said. “We have completed 11 of those trials and six are still ongoing. We are very proud of the work we have done, and continue to do, to determine safety and clinical activity of promising agents identified in laboratory research. The new funding will allow us to focus on other prevention concepts, like immunoprevention.”

Related gallery: Historical photos of the UA

Contact reporter Jasmine Demers at jdemers@tucson.com

On Twitter: @JasmineADemers.

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Jasmine joined the Star in 2019. With a master’s degree in journalism, Jasmine served in a variety of leadership roles, including The Daily Wildcat's editor-in-chief. She was also named Outstanding Newsperson of the Year by the UA School of Journalism.

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