Newswise — PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [November 10, 2022] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) today 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 will be provided through support from Pfizer and EMD Serono.

Surgically unresectable metastatic bladder cancer remains largely incurable, with few patients surviving more than two years. Real-world studies suggest that only about half of bladder cancer patients receive appropriate front-line 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, FACP, 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 two 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

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and research collaboration and publication in oncology. Visit for more information and follow NCCN on Facebook @NCCNorg, Instagram @NCCNorg, and Twitter @NCCN.