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The Department of Urology is pleased to announce that a multidisciplinary research team led by Principal Investigator Dr. Hung-Jui (Ray) Tan has been awarded a Department of Defense “Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) Patient Well-Being and Survivorship Award – Pilot Clinical Trial” grant. This innovative initiative aims to address important survivorship issues, focusing specifically on the well-being and quality of life for men aged 18-39 who have battled testicular cancer.

About The Project

While testicular cancer boasts a high cure rate, its treatment often leaves survivors grappling with various challenges, including nerve pain, hearing loss, and psychological impacts. Recognizing the need for effective and personalized support, the research team is embarking on a mission to develop a virtual support platform tailored to the unique needs of testicular cancer survivors.

The research team is comprised of experts in testicular cancer, cancer survivorship, and patient-reported outcomes. Partnering with patient advocates and the Raleigh Testicular Cancer Foundation, they plan to create and test a virtual support platform built on direct patient input. The approach involves building a prototype, pilot testing in North Carolina, and analyzing participation patterns to ensure widespread adoption across diverse populations.

This pioneering approach will hopefully not only support community building and patient engagement but also generate crucial preliminary data needed to pursue larger-scale initiatives. The goal is to improve the quality of life and survivorship for testicular cancer patients in North Carolina and then, potentially, beyond.

About The Project Team:

The Principal Investigator for the project is Dr. Hung-Jui (Ray) Tan, an Associate Professor of Urology and Director of Urologic Oncology. He is also a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Co-Director of the LCCC Urologic Oncology Program. Dr. Tan has a strong background in cancer-related health services research and team-based science, and is currently leading various projects, including an American Cancer Society grant on visual tools for cancer surgeon decision-making and a Department of Defense Idea Development Award on personalizing kidney cancer communication.

The Co-Investigators are Antonia Bennett, PhD, Megan Roberts, PhD, and Matt Milowsky, MD, FASCO. Dr. Bennett is a Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) methodologist and health services researcher. Dr. Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy specializing in implementation science and is the Director of Implementation Science in Precision Health and Society at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Her research focuses on evaluating and improving the implementation of genomic medicine, largely focusing on the intersection between genomic medicine, health equity and implementation science. Dr. Milowsky is a practicing medical oncologist and clinical/translational researcher with expertise in genitourinary oncology and clinical trials. At UNC, he is the Section Chief of Genitourinary Oncology and the Co-Director of the LCCC Urologic Oncology Program. He also co-chairs the ASCO Genitourinary Cancer Guideline Advisory Group, serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, and has been site PI for testis cancer clinical trials.

The team also includes Biostatistician and Methodologist Ramsankar Basak, PhD, Project Manager Deborah Usinger, and Research Assistant Taylor Greene. Most importantly, the team will partner with stakeholders through a Stakeholder Panel comprised of patients recruited from the local community and an Advisory Board featuring patient advocates, a nurse practitioner specializing in testis cancer survivorship, and an expert in health communication. The team will also work with UNC LCCC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program to identify and train peer navigators from volunteers within the patient stakeholder panel and community partner.