Muhammad Furqan, MD, associate professor in Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation and leader of the Thoracic Multidisciplinary Oncology Group at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC), has received a 2020 Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award (CCITLA) from the National Cancer Institute. This two-year, $119,982 award recognizes Furqan’s passion, advocacy, and hard work in streamlining the cancer clinical trial operations at the University of Iowa and the HCCC.
Furqan specializes in treating lung cancer and has markedly strengthened the HCCC thoracic oncology program. He serves as the principal investigator on more than 15 trials including a few investigator-initiated studies, and actively collaborates at a regional and national level to develop innovative therapeutics trials to lung cancer and mesothelioma through the National Clinical Trial Network-Alliance respiratory committee and Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium thoracic working group.
“Immunotherapies and targeted therapies have remarkably improved the quantity and quality of life of lung cancer patients,” Furqan said. “Seeing a metastatic lung cancer patient living more than a few years from the diagnosis is not so unusual now, and often makes my day.”
Clinical trials bring new, often innovative, and potentially lifesaving treatment options to patients’ years before they can be widely available. Formulating, opening, and conducting a successful clinical trial requires long and painstaking efforts from several people associated with clinical research including regulatory associates, research nurses, data managers to passionate investigators, and inspired patients. The CCITLA will allow Furqan to dedicate more of his time to further improve the efficiency of opening and conducting clinical trials so that the HCCC’s patients can have more and perhaps better options managing their cancer.