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Cancer Research Advocacy Group

Promoting interaction between cancer survivors, researchers, and clinicians.

Facilitating discussions among cancer survivors, cancer researchers, and clinicians treating cancer will, we believe, lead to better outcomes for all three groups. Survivor/advocate and clinician feedback can inform research, which in turn will produce new clinical trials, where more feedback from patients and clinicians can be produced to generate another iteration of the process. The ‘bench to bedside’, and ‘bedside to bench’ flow of information is what CRAG seeks promote in order to advance the fight against cancer.

crag_ group

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.