May 2023

For almost everyone, the month of MAY

 brings many things:


Schools Out For Summer!


Mother's Day


The Kentucky Derby

But, for our NCORP Administrator, the month of MAY means only ONE thing...R.P.P.R.

What is RPPR? The Annual Research Progress Performance Report (RPPR) is a detailed description that must be submitted by NCORP awardees to report on their year's progress toward goals, accomplishments, accruals, money spent, as well as a request for and justification of the upcoming year's budget. Not only is there a great deal of information requested, but it must be formatted and submitted in a specific manner. Kamara is quoted as comparing it to, "writing another grant". Kudos to Kamara, Dr. Curtis, and the whole Central Office team for their hard work!

Newly Activated Studies

These studies have recently activated.

More information can be found on CTSU.

  • NRG-LU008: Phase III Prospective Randomized Trial of Primary Lung Tumor Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Followed by Concurrent Mediastinal Chemoradiation for Locally-Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • EA1211: Interim FDG-PET/CT for PreDIcting REsponse of HER2+ Breast Cancer to Neoadjuvant Therapy: DIRECT Trial
  • A012103: OptimICE-PCR: De-Escalation of Therapy in Early-Stage TNBC Patients Who Achieve pCR After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy with Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy
  • AHOD2131: A Randomized Phase 3 Interim Response Adapted Trial Comparing Standard Therapy with Immuno-oncology Therapy for Children and Adults with Newly Diagnosed Stage I and II Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma

Accruals, Biospecimens & Special Entries

Under-Represented Populations

AYA Update

CCDR Corner


CCDR Study Spotlight

S2108: A Cluster Randomized Trial Comparing An Educationally Enhanced Genomic Tumor Board (EGTB) Intervention to Usual Practice to Increase Evidence-Based Genome-Informed Therapy

In only 2 short months, 13 patients and 3 physicians have been enrolled onto the S2108CD protocol. Under the leadership of local PI, Dr. Michael Humeniuk, and Research Coordinators, Emily Collins and Mohsen Alqalam, the protocol is destined for success. Dr. Humeniuk was the perfect choice to lead S2108CD at SMC as he is Upstate Carolina's Precision Medicine Lead. I had the pleasure of attending last Friday's Enhanced Genomic Tumor Board, where four of Dr. Humeniuk' s patients were presented. The information presented and collaboration demonstrated are certain to benefit our patients. This protocol demonstrates the importance of CCDR to our practices and we are thrilled to be participating.

Dr. Humeniuk in action, presenting at Enhanced Genomic Tumor Board

Diving into Disparities

Brain Tumor Awareness Month

In the United States, Brain Tumor Awareness Month is May. Research indicates that about 25,000 people are diagnosed each year with primary central nervous system (CNS) cancer. However, with CNS cancer being rare, there is a lack of access to patient care and advanced treatment options. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) encourages everyone to help those living with rare brain cancers by sharing educational information about brain tumors and raising awareness about clinical studies that help advance care and treatment options to improve cancer health outcomes.

To highlight this initiative via social media platforms, the NCI-CONNECTions Blog uses Twitter to share inspiring messages from the brain tumor community. The "Why We Go Gray in May" initiative helps encourage those living with a brain tumor. Also, it provides doctors, nurses, patient care coordinators, researchers, scientists, and administrators the opportunity to share what inspires them to work in neuro-oncology.

Follow each link below to learn more

NCI - Brain Tumor Awareness Month 
NCI-CONNECT Infographic

Smiling Faces

Jessica Michael, Quality Coordinator, joined the team at SMC in May. With a Masters degree in Clinical Research Administration and over eight years of clinical research experience (including a stint at the National Institutes of Health), Jessica is sure to contribute to our quality initiatives. We are so happy to have you on the team, Jessica!

Do you have any staff you would like highlighted in The Connector?
Please submit it by the 15th of the month to Alaina:

Connect with us on LinkedIn!
Click here to visit our website


Kamara Mertz-Rivera, MA, CCRC


Phone: 864-560-6104

eRegulatory Systems

Laura Bailey, BS, CCRP


Phone: 864-560-6954


Josh Acuna, MPH


Phone: 864-530-6523

AYA Coordinator

Heather Schwartz, MPH, HTL


Phone: 864-603-6212

Grant Manager

Alex Akkary, MBA


Phone: 864-560-6967

Quality Assurance

Kristen Ford & Sahra Khan


Phone: 864-530-6510

CCDR Director

Melyssa Foust, MSN, RN, OCN


Phone: 864-560-1035

Community & Social Media 

Alaina Kennedy, BA


Phone: 864-560-6882

2759 Hwy 14 South • Greer • SC • 29651