April 18, 2008

Cancer advocate helps feds review proposals

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(photo by Anne Rayner)

Cancer advocate helps feds review proposals

Patricia Lee, a breast cancer survivor and research advocate with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has just completed an evaluation of research proposals submitted to the Breast Cancer Research Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lee, who is assistant director and clinical librarian with the Eskind Biomedical Library, was one of six consumer advocates who participated in the March peer review meetings. Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of breast cancer survivors, family members and those at risk for the disease by discussing how the proposed research will impact disease prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life after treatment.

“This was a fabulous opportunity for me to learn about the most revolutionary ideas that may lead to a cure for breast cancer and offer my insider perspective as a survivor to the scientists on the review panel,” Lee explained. “Writing summaries of the proposals and describing the impact of each project on cancer patients was important preparation for the panel meeting. I think research advocates can help scientists understand the significance of their work.”

Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together to evaluate the scientific merit of breast cancer research proposals since 1995. To date, more than 500 consumer reviewers have served on breast cancer panels.