Faculty Susan Halabi and Research Partners receive a 2021 SPAIG Award for Collaborations

Recent Updates

Susan Halabi, PhD
Aug. 25, 2021

The Statistical Partnerships Among Academe, Industry, and Government (SPAIG) Award is awarded annually to recognize outstanding partnerships among academe, industry, and government organizations and to promote new cross-sector collaborations. This award is distinct from other ASA awards in that it emphasizes recognition of outstanding collaborations between organizations, while also recognizing key individual contributors.  The SPAIG awards were announced as part of the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) 2021. One of the SPAIG Award honors the collaboration between Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Duke University, International Drug Development Institute, and multiple other institutions representing all three sectors that contributed to the Intermediate Clinical Endpoints of Prostate Cancer (ICECaP) initiative. The ICECaP working group has been awarded the ASA SPAIG award and is recognized “for building a statistically sound and solid foundation for speeding therapies for men with prostate cancer, and partnering globally with academia, industry, and government.”  It comprises more than 50 investigators globally including statisticians, medical oncologists, urologists, radiation oncologists, and health economists from several institutions, industry, and government.

My team and I are deeply honored to receive the ASA SPAIG award, says Dr. Halabi. “Statisticians are integral to advancing science and building partnerships with investigators from different disciplines. The partnership between statisticians and clinicians is synergistic and bridges gaps in scientific knowledge. Our experience has shown that this partnership has long range impacts on clinical trial design and informs regulatory agencies. Moreover, statisticians contribute unique expertise and play a critical role in answering key and innovative questions. To sum, the whole collaborative team is much more effective than would be expected when individual scientists work in silos.”

Prostate cancer (PC) is the first cause of death worldwide, ½ of the deaths from PC happen in men with high localized PC, and despite this, there are not enough therapies available for these men. The main barriers have been the long period of time it takes to readout results from randomized clinical trials and the lack of validated surrogate endpoints of mortality. At its outset, ICECaP’s goal was to assemble data from all available clinical trials for early-stage prostate cancer to determine if an intermediate clinical endpoint - an early measure of therapeutic efficacy - could provide an early read-out of a therapy’s ability to reduce mortality from prostate cancer. Over the years, the partnership has been extended to identify intermediate endpoints in men with advanced prostate cancer and has also been examining the health economic implications of accelerating therapeutic advances and to increase harmonization of clinical investigations in prostate cancer. Dr. Halabi was awarded in 2018 a Prostate Cancer Foundation Challenge grant to identify surrogate endpoints of overall survival and to develop prognostic models of clinical outcomes in men with metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer

The SPAIG award recognizes the statistical team of the ICECaP working group. In addition to Susan Halabi, PhD, the award named Chris Sweeney, MD, Meredith Regan, Ph.D and Wanling Xie, MS  of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Marc Buyse, PhD, and Laurence Collette PhD, MSc of International Drug Development Institute, Inc. (IDDI); Catherine Tangen, PhD, of SWOG Cancer Research Network; Matt Sydes, PhD, MSc, Max Parmar, PhD, and Jayne Tierney, PhD, of the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit; Boris Freidlin, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute; and James Dignam, PhD, of NRG Oncology.