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Cancer Research Advocacy Group

Researchers + Patient Advocates

The Cancer Research Advocacy Group provides a vital perspective in the fight against cancer, offering input into fundamental research, clinical trials, outreach, and education and sharing information with cancer survivors, researchers, and clinicians. This work creates bench-to-bedside, bedside-to-bench feedback and means that patient perspectives are at the heart of everything we do.

CRAG Group at Coaches versus Cancer Basketball Game

The long-term goals of CRAG are to promote innovative, evidence-based, patient-centered, translational research, through the inclusion of cancer advocates.
Foster and expand opportunities for advocates in the UIUC research community and beyond.
We encourage participation from the following groups:

  • Cancer Advocates
  • Community Representatives
  • Research Scientists
  • Please contact Drs. Erik Nelson or Zeynep Madak-Erdogan for more information about CRAG.


Cancer Advocates Defined

  • Individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer or have a strong personal connection to cancer
  • Represent and share the collective cancer patient/survivor perspective (i.e., insights and experiences of cancer survivors)
  • Interact with researchers to help inform meaningful, patient-centric research with the greatest impact for patients
  • Advocate for research funding and cancer awareness


Cancer Advocate Training

An informed advocate can greatly impact the direction of research. Below is a list of groups that offer specific training for advocates:


Cancer Advocate Roles

  • Ensure research is patient-centered: “for patients, with patients”
  • Ensure research is innovative, evidence-based and accessible
  • Review and contribute to papers , abstracts and grant proposals (Patient Impact, Lay Summary, Lay Abstract)
  • Attend coordination meetings, conferences, seminars and presentations
  • Represent the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in cancer functions, media events and interviews
  • Spread the word about Illinois research.
  • Highlight bench to bedside research (blogs, meetings, social media, through direct interactions with other patients, survivors and advocates)
  • Serve on review panels for DOD, Komen, ACS and attend advisory panels for ASCO, etc
  • Provide a letter of support for grant applications, outlining their role in the process of research program development
  • Suggest patient recruitment strategies for clinical trials
  • Provide a patient perspective, especially considering quality of life issues, early in study design


If you are interested in participating as a cancer advocate, please contact Dr. Zeynep Madak-Erdogan or Dr. Erik Nelson.