Giving Metastatic GI Patients More Treatment Options Through Big Ten Clinical Trials

Sure, a certain team from the Chicago suburbs may have beaten the Badgers on the football field last month. But while Badger fans may be a little sore about the game, UW Carbone Cancer Center oncologists are still happy to work with their colleagues at Northwestern – and other schools across the Big Ten Conference – to bring better therapy options to patients.

The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (Big Ten CRC), established in 2013, seeks to improve patient outcomes by providing a formal framework for oncologists from the Big Ten universities to collaborate in clinical research endeavors across institutions. This has been tremendously helpful to UW Carbone Cancer Center researcher Nataliya Uboha, MD, PhD, a gastrointestinal (GI) oncologist whose primary research focus is in the development of clinical trials for the treatment of cancers of the esophagus, the gastroesophageal junction, and the stomach.

“Participating in the consortium allows me to open trials in multiple institutions at the same time, and it’s helpful because not only can we reach out to more patients, but we can also collect data much faster,” Uboha says.

Gastric and gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma have a poor prognosis for their patients. Most patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage, once their disease has already spread beyond the primary site to other parts of the body. At this stage, the disease is largely incurable. Uboha and her colleagues in the GI clinical working group of the Big Ten CRC are developing clinical trials with combination therapies that might provide better treatment outcomes for their patients.

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