Rogel Cancer Center support grant renewal submitted

August 30, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership, ,

The Rogel Cancer Center has submitted the 2022 grant renewal application for the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Center Support Grant. Every five years, the cancer center must submit a renewal application for continued funding under the CCSG. Earlier this summer, the Rogel Cancer Center team completed and submitted the most recent CCSG renewal application.

When Congress passed the National Cancer Act of 1971, it established the National Cancer Institute as a commitment to helping drive the nation’s cancer treatment and research efforts. Among other things, the act granted broad authority to the institute to provide funding to research centers through the NCI Cancer Centers Program. It is through this program that the Rogel Cancer Center receives funding under the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG).

“The CCSG represents a significant source of funding for the Rogel Cancer Center,” said Julie Brabbs, Rogel’s chief administrative officer. “This year is the 35th consecutive year of funding from the NCI, and we look forward to continuing this beneficial partnership.”

The current grant, awarded in 2018, will provide support through 2023.

The CCSG supports six research programs in basic science, clinical and translational research, and population sciences. It also provides funding for 13 shared resources, clinical trials oversight, educational programs, community outreach, and plans to enhance diversity in the research workforce efforts.

“But the grant is more than just the money,” said Brabbs. “The NCI has also designated U-M a comprehensive cancer center, which requires adherence to a very rigorous set of standards and practices. And it also carries a certain level of prestige and acknowledgment of national leadership in cancer treatment and research.”

The Rogel Cancer Center is one of two comprehensive cancer centers in Michigan, with 53 others throughout the U.S. Under NCI requirements, these centers must demonstrate expertise in laboratory, clinical, and behavioral and population-based research. Public outreach in the form of education, activities and events is also a requirement. And these centers must conduct early phase clinical trials, as well as provide leadership and recruit patients in cooperation with NCI research efforts.

The grant renewal application process begins 18 months before the deadline. Brabbs and the research administration team meet with Rogel leaders, researchers and faculty to begin the process of organizing the breadth and scope of the application. The document will closely follow the strategy outlined in the Rogel Cancer Center’s five-year plan and provide detailed examples of how the cancer center is utilizing NCI funds to meet those goals while adhering to the requirements and standards laid out in the CCSG.

“About a year into the process, the application document has taken shape,” said Brabbs. “But we still have a long way to go before it resembles the final version, so the pressure begins to increase. About six months out, our team really kicks into high gear.”

The most recent renewal application document contains 29 unique chapters and totals more than 2,300 pages in length. Over 60 faculty members were authors, while many others functioned as editors for the tome.

As part of the next steps in the application process, NCI reviewers will conduct a site visit sometime in October. Reviewers will perform a rigorous evaluation of the cancer center’s operations and hear presentations from the cancer center’s leadership. The final NCI report will come sometime during the winter.

In the 2018 report, NCI reviewers noted the center’s major strengths in applying genetics and genomics in clinical practice and called the Rogel Cancer Center a national leader in tumor gene sequencing. The report also cited major strengths in hematopoiesis, immunology and understanding the signaling pathways involved in cancer.

In addition, the report noted the cancer center’s achievements in cancer epidemiology, prevention, and health behavior and outcomes research.

The Rogel Cancer Center was recently named the No. 1 cancer program in Michigan, and among the best nationwide in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings for 2022-2023.

“I’m very proud of our work here at the cancer center,” said Brabbs.