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Sanford Nurse Selected for Breast Cancer Research Program

Scientific Peer Review of Breast Cancer Research Proposals for the Department of Defense

(Sioux Falls, SD)—Breast cancer advocate and registered nurse Gloria Top recently participated in the evaluation of research proposals submitted to the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) sponsored by the Department of Defense. Top was nominated for participation in the program by Sanford Breast Health Institute. As a consumer reviewer, she was a full voting member, along with prominent scientists, at meetings to determine how the $150 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2010 will be spent on future breast cancer research.

Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of breast cancer survivors and patients, family members, and persons at risk for the disease when they prepare comments on the impact of the research on issues such as disease prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life after treatment. Top was one of 239 consumer advocates who participated in the May and June 2010 peer review meetings. She provided comments and scores for research proposals.

“This is the second year that I have participated in the DOD-CDMRP,” Top commented. “It is very rewarding to be able to participate in something of this magnitude in which advancement towards treating breast cancer occurs. Preparing the evaluation critiques takes quite a bit of time and is very challenging for me, but events such as this continue to give my own disease purpose. I considered it a privilege to be able to have the support from Sanford Breast Health Institute so I can participate in something that has become a passion of mine and that is fighting for a cure for breast cancer.”

Consumer advocates and scientists have worked together in this unique partnership to evaluate the scientific merit of breast cancer research proposals since 1995. To date, more than 700 consumer reviewers have served on breast cancer panels alongside scientists in the review process. Captain E. Melissa Kaime, MD, Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, expressed her appreciation for the consumer advocates’ perspective in the scientific review sessions.

“The Consumer Reviewers on each panel helped the scientists understand the patient’s perspective and provided valuable insight into the potential impact of the proposed project,” stated Kaime. “Likewise, these important members of the peer review panels have been enriched by learning more about the scientific process through discussing proposals with the other peer review panel members and seeing the future possibilities of successful research outcomes.”

More than 2,800 breast cancer research proposals will be reviewed for 2010 fiscal year funds. Scientists applying propose to conduct innovative breast cancer research aimed at the elimination of breast cancer. Proposals are solicited across all disciplines, including basic, clinical, social and psychosocial sciences, as well as public health, economics, quality of life alternative therapies, occupational health, nursing research, and environmental concerns.

More information about the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program is available at