To say I grew up in a household filled with medical professionals would be about as accurate as the Red Sox need Pedro to suit up his number 45 and pitch us out of this slump. Both of my parents were active in medicine for close to 40 years and have provided me with countless volumes of their hands-on medical knowledge. To say that cancer has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember would, sadly, be equally as accurate. I lost my nanny to cancer, have lost high school friends to cancer, and currently do public relations work for a 2-time cancer survivor. As a registered nurse, my mother has seen the devastating effects of cancer first hand – both personally and professionally. As a medical technologist, my father has been involved in the biology and science of how cancer works its evil ways in the body’s various organs and systems. Both parents have also lost friends, loved ones, and co-workers to this disease, which continues to plague millions of people each year. The work of the medical research group is critical to finding positive results in the fight against the many, many forms of cancer. But, all this comes with a steep cost – to run the tests, pay the doctors and staff of technicians in the lab, and fund the programs associated with battling the disease. It is truly a shame when a program is gaining momentum in a trial run of tests, only to be told they do not have the funds to continue their important work.
There is an event happening this August locally at the Quidnessett Golf Club here in North Kingstown. It is the “Basta Charity Classic” sponsored by Basta Restaurant, www.bastaonbroad.com. The event is to raise money and awareness for the Brown University Oncology Research Group or BrUOG and is entitled “Benefiting Men’s Cancer Research.” This event is being held Monday, August 3rd and you can find out more information below on the flyer, designed by Basta Restaurant. Kayla Rosati, EdM, CCRP is the Director of BrUOG and sent me this incredible description of their work. Please read more about their work and how you can support them on their website by clicking here.
Who we are:
The Brown University Oncology Research Group (BrUOG) was created in 1994 to coordinate clinical cancer research for Brown’s partner hospitals and Alpert Medical School faculty. BrUOG’s main mission is to improve cancer care through the implementation of innovative, multidisciplinary cancer clinical trials. BrUOG provides the infrastructure for the efficient development and implementation of these trials, which are created by Brown University faculty. Before BrUOG was founded, there was no unifying body for such research and no infrastructure through which Brown’s myriad scientists and physicians could share, advance, and garner support for their ideas on the treatment of cancer.
We are a very small office made up of 2 full time employees (including myself), a Medical Director, Dr. Safran, and an Executive Committee. Howard Safran, MD, is the Medical Director of BrUOG, I am the Director and Kristen Mitchell is the Clinical Research Coordinator. The BrUOG Executive Committee is composed of a representative from each of the BrUOG member institutions and the BrUOG Medical Director. The role of the Executive Committee is to act as the governing body of the Group, helping to define policies and manage the work of the Group in pursuit of its mission. We have 6 member hospitals.
What we do:
The trials sponsored by BrUOG investigate novel, cutting-edge applications of chemotherapy, biologic agents and other cancer treatments. They study anticancer agents in early development, and as such are Phase I trials (which determine the optimally tolerated dose of an anticancer treatment regimen) or Phase II trials (which assesses the potential therapeutic effectiveness). These trials provide essential preliminary data for definitive Phase III trials, often conducted under the auspices of the National Cancer Institute.
BrUOG, is the engine: its administrators and physicians provide support for the initial study concept and validation of trial design, and are responsible for trial administration, safety monitoring, data analysis, and the presentation and publication of findings. Individual cancer patients are treated on a BrUOG study at their respective hospital. This occurs once the trial is opened and approved through the hospital’s research review committee. It is very important to us, that RI residents can remain in RI for their cancer care so they do not have to travel while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation and without compromising their access to excellent trials.
BrUOG’s trials are unique because they are investigator-initiated—conceptualized by practicing physicians, not by pharmaceutical companies. As such, these trials represent an incredibly important sector of cancer research. Because medical, radiation and surgical oncologists are deeply familiar with both the latest research and stark realities of cancer, they are an unrivaled source of ideas for novel approaches to treatments. Our trials are also often used as the platform for larger national studies.
BrUOG is one of the foremost clinical oncology research groups in the country. BrUOG’s accomplishments include:
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): BrUOG performed the sentinel Phase I and Phase II studies of paclitaxel/carboplatin/radiation therapy in NSCLC, which has formed the basis for the standard of care throughout the world for treatment of Stage 3 lung cancer. BrUOG is the leader in developing stereotactic radiation, a highly focused form of radiation for lung cancer.
- Esophageal Cancer: BrUOG has led the development of targeted agents in adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Two current Phase III studies of the National Cancer Institute—investigating trastuzumab and cetuximab—were each based on BrUOG Phase I/II trials.
- Rectal Cancer: BrUOG is leading the development of chemotherapy and radiation before surgery to prevent local recurrence and to reduce the need for colostomy.
- Breast Cancer: BrUOG has concentrated on two important areas in breast cancer. For patients with metastatic breast cancer, BrUOG is developing more effective, less toxic and more convenient regimens. BrUOG has also been a leader in the development of neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatment given prior to definitive breast surgery to reduce recurrence and the need for mastectomy.
- Pancreatic Cancer: BrUOG has developed more influential Phase I and II pancreatic cancer studies leading directly to Phase II and III cooperative group trials than any other cancer group in the world.
- Brain tumors: BrUOG is leading the development of new radiation sensitizers to treat glioblastoma, the most lethal primary brain tumor.
- Education: BrUOG teaches the fundamental of clinical cancer research and provides outstanding research opportunities for physicians in training.
Why support is needed:
Although we have made considerable progress with limited resources, philanthropic support is greatly needed to bring new research ideas to the reality of clinical testing. Even with our efficient and streamlined financial approach, the costs associated with clinical trials are considerable. Funding for these needs is a challenge: early phase trials—though absolutely necessary to the development of new treatments—are not readily supported by pharmaceutical companies or national institutes. Therefore, BrUOG is also dependent on the generosity of donors to bring to cancer patients the latest and most innovative treatments and the best possible hope for health and life.
All support we receive will remain exclusively within our group to support cutting-edge clinical studies that promise to transform cancer treatments, starting with Rhode Island’s patients. With additional funds, we hope to offer all patients in Rhode Island the opportunity to participate in clinical trials with the very physicians who are creating, writing, and setting the benchmark for cancer treatment in the state and nationwide.
BrUOG is a non-profit 501c3. We are always appreciative of any donation, large or small, as all support is used to fund current and new initiatives. Interested parties may visit our website and click on the “How to Give” tab: http://www.brown.edu/academics/medical/about-us/research/centers-institutes-and-programs/oncology/how-you-can-give
August 3rd: Golf Tournament: This fundraising event is being run and organized by people whose families have benefited from the work being done. Both BrUOG and the University Urological Associates will be the Recipients of the Tournament proceeds and we are greatly appreciative. The Tournament is being held on August 3rd at Quidnessett Country Club and it is the Basta Charity Classic. Information on the tournament can be found on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/bruog
For donations to the Tournament please email Charity@BastaonBroad.com
The Tournament begins at 11:30 am with a lunch, Shotgun is at 1 pm , cocktails are at 6 pm followed by a dinner at 7 pm.