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Winship, partners work to expand lung cancer services for veterans in the Southeast

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With new funding from the Veterans Affairs VA Lung Precision Oncology Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University (Winship) will provide thoracic oncology expertise to help three VA medical centers expand access to high quality, disease altering lung cancer clinical trials to veterans in the Southeast.

This five-year project is supported by $5 million in funding. It involves six investigators from three VA medical centers and their cancer centers partners. They are: Charleston/MUSC Hollings Cancer Center (Nichole Tanner, MD, MSCR; John Wrangle, MD), Birmingham/O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center (Devika Das, MD; Mark Dransfield, MD), and Atlanta/Winship (Nicholas Maurice MD; Badi El Osta, MD).

The aim of the initiative is to help develop a sustainable program that promotes and provides access to screening, molecular testing and clinical trials for lung cancer in VA Southeast Network (VISN7). In the future, it will also create a national network of sites so that veterans at smaller VA facilities will have access to the same level of care.

The project allows Winship to build on its successful partnership with the Altanta VA. That relationship has led to the largest clinical trial portfolio in VISN7 to fight lung cancer, the first cause of cancer-related death and the second most common type diagnosed in veterans. 

“We serve a diverse population of veterans with lung cancer. I look forward to working on this project with my colleagues, our VA leadership, and our cancer centers directors to lessen the burden of lung cancer on our veterans,” says El Osta, assistant professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine, thoracic medical oncologist and clinical investigator at the Atlanta VA Healthcare System and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

The cancer center directors of Hollings, O’Neal, and Winship have said they will participate in the external advisory committee of the Southeastern VA Lung Cancer and Precision Oncology Consortium. They have also committed to support the investigators as they advance the clinical and research cores of this high priority national initiative and fight lung cancer disparity. 

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