September 2023

Issue Highlights

  • Site Investigator Award 2023

  • Newly Activated Studies

  • Accruals, Biospecimens & Special Entries

  • Diving into Disparities

  • Smiling Faces

Site and Investigator Awards 2023

  • Upstate Carolina was awarded the Platinum Certificate of Excellence for Exceptional Achievement in Patient Enrollments in NCI Trials! (>200 Accruals)

  • Awarded the Platinum Certificate of Excellence for Cancer Control, Prevention, and Screening Trials >40 Accruals
  • Amy Curtis, MD (SMC)
  • Michael Humeniuk, MD (SMC)

  • Awarded the Gold Certificate of Excellence for 10-39 Accruals
  • John Doster, MD (AnMed)
  • Jeremy Kilburn, MD (SMC)
  • Jay Nayak, MD (AnMed)
  • James McClain, MD (AnMed)

  • Awarded the Silver Certificate of Excellence for 5-9 Accruals
  • Stephen H. Dyar, Jr., MD (BSSF)
  • Jeffrey S. DeLo, MD (AnMed)
  • Alex X. Yang, MD (BSSF)
  • Howland E. Crosswell, MD (BSSF)
  • Vikas Dembla, MD (SMC)
  • Isaac Alwine, MD (SMC)
  • Jennifer Vogel, MD (BSSF)
  • Jennifer Huggins, NP (BSSF)

Newly Activated Studies

These studies have recently activated.

More information can be found on CTSU.

  • EAQ211: Social Genomic Mechanisms of Health Disparities among Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Survivors of Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • NRG-BR009: A Phase III Adjuvant Trial Evaluating the Addition of Adjuvant Chemotherapy to Ovarian Function Suppression Plus Endocrine Therapy in Premenopausal Patients with pN0-1, ER-Positive/HER2-Negative Breast Cancer and an Oncotype Recurrence Score
  • EA8211: Phase III Randomized Trial of Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SAbR) for Oligometastatic Advanced Renal Carcinoma (SOAR)
  • A052101: A Randomized Phase 3 Trial of Continuous vs. Intermittent Maintenance Therapy with Zanubrutinib as Upfront Treatment in Older Patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • EA2212: A Randomized Phase II Study of Perioperative Atezolizumab +/- Chemotherapy in Resectable MSI-H/dMMR Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction (GEJ) Cancer
  • A092105:Randomized Phase 2 Study of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab with or Without Cabozantinib in Patients with Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma That Have Progressed After Platinum Treatment and Immunotherapy

Monthly Coordinator Call

Monthly Coordinator Meeting

Thursday, September 28, 2023

The meeting will be held from

2:00PM - 3:00PM

on Microsoft Teams.

If you did not receive a recurring Teams calendar invite for these meetings please reach out to Sahra Khan,

The link for this Thursday's meeting is below.

Coordinator Call

Accruals, Biospecimens & Special Entries

Grant Year 4 Wrap Up

Grant Year 5

CCDR Corner

All About AYAs

Diving into Disparities

Blood Cancer Awareness Month

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and through the "Turn It Red" campaign, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) utilizes the month for advocates and supporters to raise awareness locally and nationally about efforts to fight blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.

Research indicates that more than 1.3 million Americans are living with or in remission from blood cancer, and minority groups experience differences across different blood cancer diseases, including having higher incidence rates, leading to higher death rates and financial toxicity concerning treatment costs. For example, lymphoid malignancies are lower in racial minority groups. However, studies suggest that the incidence of lymphoma usually presents at younger ages among racial minority groups and with more advanced disease, likely due to complex associations between socioeconomic and patient-centered factors (Phillips et al., 2018). Additionally, the racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes for Black and Hispanic children with acute leukemia have demonstrated that these populations have more than a 50% increased risk of death compared to White populations with acute leukemia. Research suggests that it is correlated to barriers and facilitators to a timely diagnosis for pediatric patients with acute leukemia (Ding et al., 2022). With myeloma, research indicates that clinical trials, the initiation of novel therapies, and access to autologous stem cell transplants provide the same survival benefits for most patients. However, the mortality rates remain higher for Black patients due to socioeconomic and access to care barriers that impact the extended time from diagnosis to the initiation of treatment (Nishat et al., 2022).

Through community engagement and patient support programs, Upstate Carolina NCORP actively promotes the participation of underrepresented groups, addresses the barriers to research participation, and accrues patients to trials that improve cancer-related health and survivorship. The SRHS marketing and media team interviewed Clinical Research Coordinators Audrianna Carrington and Wendy Taylor to promote Gibbs Cancer Center and advocate for the importance of clinical trials for Leukemia and Lymphoma awareness.

Way to go, Audrianna and Wendy! 😊

Smiling Faces

2023 URCC Annual Meeting

UC-NCORP Attending Members Pictured (left to right): Kamara Mertz-Rivera, Alaina Kennedy, Emily Collins, Melyssa Foust, Rhonda Dean, Malinda Soileau, Cindy Haguewood. Not Pictured: Dr. James Bearden III, Heather Rich, and Ashley Coates

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

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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

Sahra Khan & Jessica Michael


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