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Rachel Darwin, Senior Manager, Public Relations, 267-622-6624

NCCN Announces Projects Funded for Metastatic Breast Cancer Grant Program, in Collaboration with Pfizer

The NCCN Oncology Research Program will oversee academic/community projects that explore how different health systems can work together to enhance treatment quality for advanced breast cancer patients.

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [December 10, 2019] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) today announced the proposals that were selected to receive funding, in collaboration with Pfizer Global Medical Grants, to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Up to $1.4 million in funding will be provided by NCCN through a grant from Pfizer for a period of three years. The NCCN ORP oversaw project application and selection and will provide administrative oversight for the life of the projects.

This project builds on the success of a program that began at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, called EMBRACE (Ending Metastatic Breast Cancer for Everyone), which was first funded in 2015 under a previous NCCN and Pfizer collaboration. The EMBRACE program developed a consistent intake process, multifaceted engagement, coordination, and follow-up approach for MBC patients that has made a tangible improvement in care.

“The EMBRACE program at Dana-Farber enabled us to build a comprehensive, multi-pronged initiative designed to meet the needs of patients, community-based physicians, and Dana-Farber-based care teams, and to deliver cutting-edge care that leverages the strength of collaboration,” said Nancy U. Lin, MD, Director of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Since 2015, we have reached over 2,500 patients with metastatic breast cancer and interacted directly with over 500 referring physicians through the EMBRACE program. I’m thrilled that other institutions will now have the opportunity to develop their own initiatives, and look forward to their success.”

“We’re glad to expand on this program to find new ways to harness the combined strengths of academic cancer centers and community hospitals in order to provide coordinated care that improves outcomes for patients with metastatic breast cancer,” said Wui-Jin Koh, MD, Chief Medical Officer, NCCN. “We hope these projects will transform the delivery of care to people with this disease, and perhaps other cancer types as well. By encouraging collaboration between community-based physicians and their academic counterparts, we also hope to increase clinical trial enrollment, which could lead us to the cures of tomorrow.”

The chosen initiatives will explore ways to leverage existing academic-community partnerships to develop and implement ways for improving radiation treatment delivery, create a personalized care delivery model for MBC patients with central nervous system metastases, launch a multidisciplinary clinic for treatment recommendations, supportive care, and clinical trial screening, and increase access to genomic testing through a virtual molecular clinic. All projects will highlight the importance of patient education and the necessity of a coordinator to support patient navigation throughout the complex treatment landscape. These efforts are also expected to promote evidence-based care, be sustainable after the funding period, collect data and report outcomes, be adaptable to patient variability, and promote system-wide efficiency.

The following investigators and initiatives have been selected for funding:

“We believe true advancements in cancer care come from listening to people living with the disease,” said Dany Habr, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Oncology. “Our continued collaboration with NCCN is founded on metastatic breast cancer patient education and encourages the oncology community to work together to optimize patient care. We look forward to seeing the impact of these projects as they are implemented.”

The NCCN ORP fosters innovation and knowledge discovery to improve the lives of patients with cancer. Visit to learn more about these projects, and other ways the NCCN ORP is developing insights into cancer care delivery outcomes and quality and identifying solutions to barriers affecting optimal cancer management.

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