C3I Expands Consortium to Help Cancer Patients Quit Smoking

C3I Map - 3 cohorts

Dr. Betsy Rolland
Dr. Betsy Rolland

UW-CTRI staff and collaborators attended the virtual 2020 grantee meeting of the nationwide Cancer Center Cessation Initiative (C3I), part of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Cancer Moonshot Initiative, with the goal of helping cancer patients to quit tobacco use.

The meeting included representatives from NCI, UW-CTRI, C3I, and 52 C3I cancer centers. This included:

  • 10 new C3I funded centers.
  • 42 centers in the first two cohorts, 31 of whom no longer receive C3I funding.
  • 11 centers who have extended funding for one year.

Typically in healthcare, what gets paid for gets done, so the fact that so many centers have remained engaged in the project after C3I funding ceased shows the level of commitment to helping cancer patients quit tobacco use, and to working together.

“We continue to show value, to add value to their work,” said former UW-CCC Assistant Director and Principal Investigator of the C3I Coordinating Center Dr. Betsy Rolland. “They learn new things, discuss programs with their colleagues. It’s not limited to the cancer centers from the cohorts; anyone who is doing tobacco cessation with cancer patients can be part of this consortium. It’s an incredible network.”

Dr. Robert Croyle
Dr. Robert Croyle

The goal is to integrate tobacco treatment into oncology care in a sustainable way. NCI requests a commitment up front from the cancer centers to sustain this integration past funding timelines, and C3I helps them do so using electronic health records and other tools that can prompt tobacco intervention and facilitate it without burden or staff fatigue.

Among the speakers were Dr. Robert Croyle, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Science. Croyle discussed how President-elect Joe Biden brokered the bi-partisan deal for the Cancer Moonshot in 2016 to honor his late son Beau Biden, who died of cancer. The Cancer Moonshot is part of the 21st Century Cures Act passed in December 2016, which authorized $1.8 billion in funding for the Cancer Moonshot over 7 years. Croyle is eager to share with the President-elect an update on how C3I has put its part of that funding to good use to help cancer patients quit tobacco.

Dr. Ned Sharpless
Dr. Ned Sharpless

NCI Director Dr. Ned Sharpless also addressed C3I meeting attendees, calling C3I a model for a research consortium.

From September 2018-September 2020, there have been 54 total C3I publications and presentations—including 22 journal articles as well as 32 posters and presentations at 20 different conferences.

And they’re not done yet. The grantees have formed six working groups with cross-network activities. Co-chairs of the working groups presented at the grantee meeting.

“The groups host monthly meetings, open to anyone within C3I or other researchers who are interested in the topic,” Rolland said. For example, the Family Systems and Equity and Diversity groups are collaborating on educational materials for families of patients who smoke, with an emphasis on families of various disparity groups. It’s another sign of stability and commitment. “That’s really exciting,” Rolland said.

The University of Wisconsin C3I team includes Rolland, UW-CCC Coordinating Center Manager Danielle Pauk, UW-CTRI Director of Biostatistical Operations Dr. Stevens Smith, UW-CTRI Outreach Director Rob Adsit, UW-CTRI Director of Research Dr. Tim Baker, UW-CTRI Director Dr. Michael Fiore, and C3I Project Coordinator Mara Minion.

UW-CCC Members from UW-CTRI:

  • Dr. Tim Baker
  • Dr. Jessica Cook
  • Dr. Michael Fiore
  • Dr. Doug Jorenby
  • Dr. Jesse Kaye
  • Dr. Danielle McCarthy
  • Dr. Megan Piper
  • Dr. Adrienne Johnson