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Posted on Wed, Apr 7, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

University of Michigan Medical School to be awarded its largest grant ever

By Tina Reed

The University of Michigan Medical School is receiving its largest grant ever, administrators plan to announce Friday.

Details on the amount of the grant from the National Institutes of Health aren't being released until Friday, but the full amount of the grant will be spread over six years.

The funding is meant for the U-M headquartered network of cancer research institutions called the Southwest Oncology Group, or SWOG. The network helps to facilitate partnerships between cancer researchers around the world and organizes large-scale clinical trials between participating institutions.

With 500 partner institutions around the world, it is one of the largest cancer clinical trial organizations.

Among the projects being led by U-M faculty and completed through SWOG is a phase three clinical trial examining the typical treatment of women with breast cancer that's spread. 

Led by U-M oncology researcher Jeffrey Smerage, the study is examining whether physicians should recommend women switch to an alternative therapy immediately after learning chemotherapy isn't controlling their cancer. Traditionally, patients undergoing chemotherapy would be watched for further signs of clinical progression.

A total of 176 SWOG institutions are participating in the trial. "We believe that identifying elevated circulating tumor cells will help us detect which patients are on ineffective therapy," Smerage said in a release.

Just last year, the medical school had a record year for earning funds from the NIH. In fiscal year 2009, U-M researchers earned more than 800 awards totaling more than $366 million in funding from the NIH. In total, they earned more than $435 million from all sources.

That places U-M's medical school among the 10 medical schools in NIH grants awarded in 2009. Johns Hopkins was the top recipient of NIH awards, with 968 awards totaling more than $505 million in funding.

U.S. Rep. John Dingell will help announce the award at 3 p.m. Friday at U-M's East Medical Campus in the Rachel Upjohn Building Auditorium, 4250 Plymouth Road, in Ann Arbor.

To get information about a local health event or announcement mentioned in the Monday health briefs, contact reporter Tina Reed at, call her at 734-623-2535 or find her on Twitter @TreedinAA.



Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 7:51 p.m.

"Voiceofreason", let's try reading the title of the article one more time, "University of Michigan Medical School to be awarded its largest Grant Ever". I've read this over and over, I can't see how any reasonably educated mind could conclude anything other than the University of Michigan Medical School has received its largest grant ever.


Wed, Apr 7, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

The title is a bit misleading. It seems like you are referring to the largest grant in the history of grants, when in reality you are only talking about the University of Michigan Med. School.