Of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 30,000 members, only 10 sit on the cancer Research Forum Committee; Teresa Stewart is now among those few. Ms. Stewart is the Director of the Clinical Research Office at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center and the Executive Director of the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance. This committee has been in existence for three years and primarily focuses on supporting investigators and increasing their participation in cancer clinical trials
As a member of this ASCO Committee, she will help to identify the challenges of conducting research and help develop solutions to address these challenges. ASCO hosts an annual research forum, which serves as an outlet for members to give their feedback and input. They previously identified workload and quality assurance as the biggest issues. ASCO then developed a pilot study, “which is evaluating the value of an online tool to allow community investigators to assess the workload of their research coordinators based upon the complexity of each trial they have open,” said Ms. Stewart. The New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance, including the UNM Cancer Center, is currently one of only 50 sites that are participating in the pilot study.
In addition to helping better staff workloads and quality assurance, the Cancer Research Forum Committee hopes to increase the number of available clinical trials, as well as the amount of patients participating in these trials. By identifying and removing barriers, Ms. Stewart and the Committee hope to make clinical trials more available to community researchers and their patients. Because of Ms. Stewart’s position on a national committee, researchers at the UNM Cancer Center will have the opportunity to network with national colleagues, possibly leading to greater awareness and efficiency.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the UNM Cancer Center and New Mexico to have one of ten people on a national committee,” said Ms. Stewart.
About the UNM Cancer Center
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research, the delivery of high quality, state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment to all New Mexicans, and its community outreach programs statewide. Annual federal and private funding of over $71 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 60 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico and it is developing new collaborative programs in Alamogordo and in Roswell/Carlsbad. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at www.cancer.unm.edu.