Erin Bantum

UH Cancer Center researcher provides a voice for Hawai‘i residents in cancer clinical trials

July 11, 2023

University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center researcher, Erin Bantum, PhD, has been re-elected to serve another three-year term on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Symptom Management and Quality of Life Steering Committee (SxQOLSC). This committee addresses the design, prioritization, and evaluation of concepts for phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials to control cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. In addition, the SxQOLSC decides on the types of symptom management and quality-of-life clinical trials that are offered at the 72 NCI-Designated cancer centers across the Nation. As the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) representative on this committee, Bantum works to ensure that the proposed clinical trials are inclusive for the people of Hawaiʻi.

The NCORP is a national network that brings cancer clinical trials and care delivery studies to people in their communities. Nationwide, minority populations are often underrepresented in clinical trials. The UH Cancer Center is dedicated to finding relevant cancer clinical trials for Hawaiʻi’s diverse population, especially for those with a disproportionate burden of cancer compared to others. Bantum’s membership on this committee provides a voice for residents of Hawaiʻi on a national panel to emphasize the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity in these trials.

"I see my role on the committee as one where I want to think about how trials that are designed are relevant, inclusive, and considerate for people from Hawaiʻi,” said Bantum. “I think it’s important for me to continue learning from our community here and taking that back to this national committee, as designing trials that are relevant and impactful for all is a goal that needs to continue to be fulfilled."

Outcomes from Bantum’s participation may lead to access to more culturally-appropriate cancer clinical trials for Hawaiʻi’s multiethnic population, resulting in a better quality of life for cancer survivors.