NCCN Announced Funding for Bladder Cancer Research Projects, in Collaboration With Pfizer and EMD Serono

On November 10, 2022, the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) announced awards and funding for projects focused on improving quality of patient care and outcomes for locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. Funding and oversight are provided through support from Pfizer and EMD Serono.

Surgically unresectable metastatic bladder cancer remains largely incurable, with few patients surviving more than 2 years. Real-world studies suggest that only approximately half of patients with bladder cancer receive appropriate frontline therapy, and of those, many are not offered second-line or subsequent therapies despite the benefits of survival with these treatments. The goal of these projects is to address barriers, challenges, and opportunities for improving care, through navigation, expert care review, shared decision-making, care planning workflows, and patient-reported outcomes.

“NCCN Guidelines already contain evidence-based recommendations for improving outcomes in bladder cancer; now we need to address the many factors that keep patients from receiving optimal treatment. These quality improvement projects will explore potential methods to address some of the barriers, including patient age, socioeconomic status, and location,” said Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer, NCCN. “Congratulations to all of these inspiring investigators. We hope their work can supply real-world insights and answers, to guide improvement in the quality of patient care.”

The selected projects are:

  • • Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    • - Management of Cisplatin-Ineligible Patients With Metastatic Bladder Cancer and the Role of Geriatric Assessments

  • • Adam Gadzinski, MD, Beaumont Health

    • - Metastatic Bladder Cancer ECHO

  • • Dharmesh Gopalakrishnan, MD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

    • - A Comprehensive Education and Navigational Support Program for Advanced Bladder Cancer

  • • Sumati Gupta, MD, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

    • - Integrating Geriatric and Oncology Care Principles in Advanced Urothelial Cancer Care

  • • Anoop Meraney, MD, Hartford HealthCare

    • - Use of Patient-Provided Data to Improve Care for Advanced Bladder Cancer Patients

  • • Nihal Mohamed, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

    • - Assessment of Supportive Care and Educational Needs to Guide Quality Care Improvements for Patients With Locally Advanced and Metastatic Bladder Cancer (ACCESS)

Proposals were peer-reviewed by a scientific review committee, which consisted of leading expert oncologists from NCCN Member Institutions. The selected projects are set to be completed within 2 years. Approximately $1.2 million in funding will be provided across all grants.

The NCCN ORP fosters innovation and knowledge discovery that improve the lives of people with cancer and supports preclinical, translational, and clinical research and quality improvement projects in oncology at NCCN Member Institutions. In an effort to improve collaboration in cancer research, the NCCN ORP also maintains a shared resources website, an informed consent database, and points to consider on the best practices for biorepositories, registries, and databases. For more information, visit

SLACOM and NCCN Launch International Project to Improve Breast Cancer Care in Argentina

NCCN launched a collaborative project with the Latin American and Caribbean Society of Medical Oncology (SLACOM) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 16, 2022. The joint initiative brought together patients, healthcare providers, government officials, and other thought leaders to analyze barriers that prevent the delivery of optimal breast cancer care throughout the region. The group will also develop recommendations to ensure cancer treatment can be provided according to the latest evidence-based expert consensus NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines).

In the Latin America and Caribbean region, an estimated 2.5 million cases of cancer are projected to be diagnosed annually by 2040 (an increase of 78% from 2018 incidence rates), leading to more than 1.3 million cancer deaths per year (an increase of 93% over 2018 mortality rates).1 The burden of cancer in low- and middle-resource countries is particularly significant, currently accounting for approximately 75% percent of all cancer deaths worldwide, and is expected to continue to increase.2

“Healthcare delivery systems in Latin America are grappling with how to deliver equitable access to cancer care while facing rising cancer incidence rates and corresponding health infrastructure challenges and treatment costs,” said Eduardo L. Cazap, MD, PhD, founder and first president of SLACOM. “We need to establish pragmatic approaches for providing high-quality cancer care right now, while also promoting sustainable, long-term improvements to our healthcare systems throughout Latin America. Our work with NCCN will help us tailor clinical practice guidelines for our region to increase access, reduce inequality, and protect financial stability.”

“We are honored to work alongside SLACOM and others in the Latin America region to share our expertise in improving cancer care, and also learn from them,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “We look forward to jointly determining innovative ways to ensure more people with breast cancer are treated according to evidence-based expert consensus guidelines. Past successes have shown us that it is easier to predict and meet cancer care needs when we can provide care that is both standardized on an international scale and adjusted for regional or local variations.”

The workshop in Buenos Aires included a rigorous analysis of the current landscape, with a focus on any obstacles and system disruptions that prevent the most appropriate delivery of care according to the latest research-backed recommendations.

The next phase of the project will include a broader regional summit for Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, and Peru in 2023 to present the workshop findings and solicit additional feedback. The summit will also include presentations from patients and advocates sharing their perspectives on challenges, barriers, and potential solutions for improving access to guideline-concordant breast cancer care.

NCCN is part of several collaborations to advance global cancer care. The organization publishes free resource-stratified versions of NCCN Guidelines, regional guidelines adaptations, translations, framework, and harmonizations working with local providers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the Caribbean, and other countries in Asia, Europe, and South America. Learn more at and join the conversation with #NCCNGlobal.


  • 1.

    GLOBOCAN. Cancer tomorrow. Accessed October 10, 2019. Available at:

  • 2.

    Prager GW, Braga S, Bystricky B, et al. Global cancer control: responding to the growing burden, rising costs and inequalities in access. ESMO Open 2018;3:e000285.

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  • 1.

    GLOBOCAN. Cancer tomorrow. Accessed October 10, 2019. Available at:

  • 2.

    Prager GW, Braga S, Bystricky B, et al. Global cancer control: responding to the growing burden, rising costs and inequalities in access. ESMO Open 2018;3:e000285.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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