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Foundation Medicine Awards Grant to Moffitt Cancer Center and LUNGevity to Help Remove Barriers to Information About Personalized Oncology for Black Patients

Grant funds will support Moffitt and LUNGevity’s COMPASS initiative, which aims to gauge precision medicine awareness, identify clinical trial barriers and develop educational materials to improve Black patients’ access to precision cancer care

Foundation Medicine, Inc., a pioneer in molecular profiling for cancer, today announced a grant to Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffitt) and LUNGevity Foundation to help fund their COMPASS initiative. COMPASS, which stands for Community Outreach to Empower Black Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) to Improve Engagement and Awareness, is a patient education program that will operate within a clinical trial designed to assess circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) dynamics in Black patients with NSCLC.

Compared to white patients, Black patients are more likely to present with NSCLC and have a lower 5-year relative survival rate compared to white patients (20% vs 22%).1 This is likely due to multiple barriers that contribute to notable disparities in treatment for Black patients. The COMPASS initiative plans to use the grant funds to conduct a nested quantitative study to understand awareness of precision medicine in Black patients, their level of engagement and activation in healthcare decision-making and barriers to accessing clinical trials. COMPASS will make a unique contribution to the literature by identifying knowledge gaps, perceived barriers and opportunities to engage this population of patients with NSCLC in precision medicine research.

“Whether these barriers result from racial, ethnic or other sociodemographic group disparities or lack of access to screening or novel drugs, there is a critical need for effective strategies to achieve and sustain health equity and eliminate disparities for patients with cancer,” said Jhanelle Gray, MD, the study’s principal investigator and chair of the Department of Thoracic Oncology at Moffitt. “If we don’t accrue diverse populations to trials, the results are in turn less diverse.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Dr. Jhanelle Grey and her team on COMPASS,” said Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of Research at LUNGevity Foundation. “LUNGevity is committed to ensuring that every patient has access to the best care possible, no matter their race and ethnicity, geography, or income level. The Black community has been left behind in clinical advances. Through COMPASS, we hope to uncover barriers to fundamental pillars of lung cancer care, such as access to biomarker testing and access to clinical trials by directly engaging and asking the community. The learnings will be helpful for us as a community to develop more inclusive healthcare delivery models.”

In December 2022, Foundation Medicine issued a call for grants seeking submissions from paired organizations with proposed initiatives aimed at increasing biomarker testing education, awareness, and access among underserved populations in the United States. Foundation Medicine requested applications that included collaboration between two separate organizations, recognizing that addressing disparities in oncology care requires multi-stakeholder partnerships.

“As we continue making scientific advancements in precision cancer care, there is also an inadvertent risk of increasing the gaps in access to these treatment advancements,” says Mia Levy, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer at Foundation Medicine. “We believe all patients living with advanced cancer should have access to biomarker testing and are committed to working across the oncology community to close existing disparities in care. ​We are proud to support Moffitt and LUNGevity with their work on the COMPASS initiative to remove more barriers to Black patients’ access to personalized oncology care.”

About Foundation Medicine: Your Essential Partner in Cancer Care
Foundation Medicine is a pioneer in molecular profiling for cancer, working to shape the future of clinical care and research. We collaborate with a broad range of partners across the cancer community and strive to set the standard for quality, scientific excellence, and regulatory leadership. Our deep understanding of cancer biology helps physicians make informed treatment decisions for their patients and empowers researchers to develop new medicines. Every day, we are driven to help our partners find answers and take action, enabling more people around the world to benefit from precision cancer care. For more information, please visit us on and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Foundation Medicine® is a registered trademark of Foundation Medicine, Inc.

Source: Foundation Medicine

1 Giaquinto AN et al. Cancer Statistics for African American/Black People 2022. CA Cancer J Clin 2022;72:202-229. PMID: 35143040

Abigail Linehan, 781-534-3210

Source: Foundation Medicine
August 1, 2023