Evaluating emerging technologies for cancer screening

Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences this week was named to the National Institutes of Health clinical trials network to evaluate emerging technologies for cancer screening, with the goal of reducing cancer-related illnesses and deaths.

The Cancer Screening Research Network will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative by investigating how to identify cancers earlier, when they may be easier to treat. Henry Ford + MSU is one of eight organizations that received funding from the National Cancer Institute, or NCI, to carry out the initial activities of the network.

“Effective cancer screening tests are essential for early detection. Unfortunately, there are still many types of cancer that are detected in advanced stages and are very difficult to cure,” said Adnan Munkarah, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Henry Ford + MSU Board and President, Care Delivery System and Chief Clinical Officer, Henry Ford Health. “We’re pleased to join the elite network of researchers studying emerging technologies that could transform cancer screening and ultimately help save many lives.”

In 2024, the network will launch a pilot study, known as the Vanguard Study on Multi-Cancer Detection, to address the feasibility of using multi-cancer detection tests in future randomized controlled trials. MCDs are blood tests that can screen for several types of cancers. The study will enroll up to 24,000 people to inform the design of a much larger randomized controlled trial. This larger trial will evaluate whether the benefits of using MCD tests to screen for cancer outweigh the harms, and whether they can detect cancer early in a way that reduces deaths.

“NCI has launched CSRN to evaluate a variety of different technologies for the purpose of cancer screening,” said Lori M. Minasian, M.D., deputy director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention. “Detecting cancer early is not enough to improve people’s lives. Through CSRN, we’re going to study whether using these new technologies will make a difference in people’s lives.”

In its studies, the network aims to reach diverse populations that are receiving routine care in a variety of healthcare settings. Study sites are geographically diverse and include underserved populations. Study investigators will come from a variety of disciplines that are actively engaged in cancer screening.

“Here in Detroit, we are uniquely positioned to recruit from populations historically underrepresented in clinical trials, and focusing on improving health equity is at the core of our partnership’s 30-year mission,” said Steven Kalkanis, M.D., President, Henry Ford + MSU and Executive Vice President of Henry Ford Health. “We have an important role to play in making sure these new technologies benefit all Americans.”

“Our scientists are committed to developing and bringing the most promising cancer screening technologies to our patients,” said Christine Neslund-Dudas, PhD, Henry Ford + MSU Associate Scientist and the organization’s principal investigator. “An advisory board of patients, basic and population scientists, clinicians, and administrators will help guide the study which we see as giant step forward in efforts to reducing cancer and improving outcome for patients.”

Initial funding will provide resources for study coordination, communication activities, statistics and data management, and accrual and enrollment onto clinical trials and studies. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle will serve as the network’s coordinating and communications center and the statistics and data management center.

Henry Ford + MSU is one of seven funded sites that will lead efforts to enroll participants in their geographic and coverage areas. The other organizations are:

  • Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, and Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
  • OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences in Oklahoma City
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora
  • University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chapel Hill
  • Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Inova, and Sentara Health
  • Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
  • The Department of Defense Uniformed Services University and the Department of Veterans Affairs will also participate as sites funded by their respective agencies.

This story was published by the Henry Ford Health + Michigan State University Health Sciences website.

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