Ralph Zinner and Amy Leader Awarded ACT Research Grant from Free to Breathe



The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson is pleased to announce that Ralph Zinner, MD, and Amy Leader, DrPH, MPH, are the winners of the second Accelerate Clinical Trials (ACT) Research Grant Award from Free to Breathe, an organization devoted to improving the treatment and survival of lung cancer patients.  The ACT grant is a funding opportunity launched by Free to Breathe to investigate strategies to increase patient enrollment in therapeutic lung cancer clinical trials. The intent of this grant program is to fund projects that will be reproducible and implementable within clinical practice. An overall goal is to improve rates of patient accrual to lung cancer clinical trials by at least 50% within a defined healthcare facility, system, or community.

Zinner is a Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology , and Leader is an Associate Professor in the Division of Population Science in the Department of Medical Oncology. Their project, entitled “Increasing Shared Decision Making and Patient Participation in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials,” is designed to address commonly encountered obstacles to clinical trial enrollment. Patients and their caregivers are often overwhelmed when making decisions about treatment, and they may also have misconceptions about clinical trials. Decision aids can help educate patients about their available options and reduce decisional anxiety.

Decision aides are intended to provide patients with information and help clarify their values and preferences regarding important health decisions. Several decision aids have been developed to promote participation in clinical trials; however, few have directly targeted enrollment into lung cancer clinical trials. In Zinner and Leader’s study, a trained nurse educator will use a decision counseling program before the patient’s visit with an oncologist. This program is designed to educate the patient about clinical trials in general and guide them through values and personal preference clarification exercises related to options for their lung cancer treatment plan.

For questions about the Free to Breathe Research Grant competition, please contact Mary F. Henningfield, PhD: mhenningfield@freetobreathe.org.