May 9, 2005

Contact: Jennifer Riordan 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell; Bridgid Isworth 463-6044

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will be honoring the UNM Pediatric Oncology Program with an award to recognize its important contributions to clinical cancer research. The Clinical Trial Participation Award will be presented to Jami D. Frost, M.D., at the 41st Annual Meeting, May 15 in Orlando , FL.

The UNM Pediatric Oncology Program was the only pediatric oncology program to be chosen in the nation the rest were adult programs.

The Pediatric Oncology Program at UNM currently has seven pediatric oncologists who enroll patients in state-of-the-art clinical research trials supported by the Children's Oncology Group and the National Cancer Institute. Frost is the Principle Investigator for these studies at UNM, and has more than 40 trials available for children with cancer.

Eighty to ninety children in New Mexico will be diagnosed with cancer this year. With current progress in clinical and basic research, close to 80 percent of childhood cancers can be cured with current treatments. By continuing to study cancer in clinical trials, UNM's Pediatric Oncology Program hopes to improve this cure rate even more.

The award recognizes practices' efforts to expand the demographic range of clinical trial participants, said ASCO President David Johnson, M.D. "Increasing diversity among patients in the clinical trial setting will allow doctors to better understand and treat cancers across various populations," Johnson said. "With the Clinical Trial Participation Awards, we are honoring practices for their exceptional dedication to improving the quality of cancer care in underrepresented communities."

Selection for the award was based on nominations by each of the National Cancer Institute Cooperative Groups and the ASCO Clinical Practice Committee, which identified those practices that enrolled the highest number of patients to Phase III trials over a three-year period with a special focus on practices that had a high accrual of underrepresented populations.

This awards program is supported by a grant from the Coalition of National Cancer Cooperative Groups and enables ASCO to provide award recipients with travel grants to attend ASCO's Annual Meeting.

The UNM Pediatric Oncology Program was nominated by the Children's Oncology Group.

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center provides added health care through leadership in providing innovative, collaborative education; advancing frontiers of science through research critical to the future of health care; delivering health care services that are at the forefront of science; and facilitating partnerships with public and private biomedical and health enterprise. For more information on the UNM Health Sciences Center , visit