Cancer teamwork in the Big 10

I spent time during my education and training at The Ohio State and the University of Michigan before arriving in Iowa City 25 years ago. I have close family members with ties to essentially all the other Big 10 schools. This time of year, we discuss the past season and bowl games, and argue about whose football team is overrated or underrated. When you are connected with a Big 10 school, you hear a lot about football.  Collaborative cancer research is generally not part of the Big 10 discussion. However, we are working to change that.

About two years ago, cancer center directors from the Big 10 schools decided there was an opportunity to work together in our research. We agreed that we could accelerate cancer research by partnering on clinical cancer trials and promoting cancer prevention awareness with our athletics programs. We realized the sum of all our efforts would be greater than our individual contributions, and that competitors on the field could be collaborators in cancer research. With that, the Big 10 Cancer Research Consortium was born. In the past two years, the Consortium has hired an executive director, developed the necessary boards and committees, created a website, filed for tax exempt status and is currently launching its first clinical trials.

This month, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is highlighted as the Big 10 Cancer Research Consortium featured cancer center on its web site. You can learn more about what the consortium does and how we see our efforts fit into the big picture of cancer research at the Big 10 universities.

My well-worn Hawkeye, Buckeye and Wolverine T-shirts have been known to make an appearance during bowl games (some of the other Big 10 paraphernalia I have been given by family members who attended other schools – not so much). However, when it comes to cancer research, it doesn’t matter who is in the big game. We are all on the same Big 10 team.