Baylor University has received a to study the potential of chloroquine to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The study is funded by a grant from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Projects and administered by the U.S. Department of Defense. (Corrected: July 21, 2015) Chloroquine was taken to guard against malaria. Aralen is the name I knew for the the drug. This study group at Baylor has partnered with the National Peace Corps Association to locate women who served in the Peace Corps between 1961 and 1990. This is not an official study of the United States Peace Corps. Here are the important links to learn more about the study.”
This link also explains the unusual funding of the project. It was evidently approved by the Congressional Research Office and funded by a grant from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Projects and administered by the U.S. Department of Defense. ( Funding source corrected: July 21, 2015)The Award Amount was $736,866.68. Baylor’s performance start date was May 1, 2012 and the end date is April 30, 2015. Here are the links to the NPCA articles:
On June 1, 2015, in response to my many and unaswered queries about the status of this study, I received the following email from a spokesman for the study,
|From||McArthur, Kara K firstname.lastname@example.org details|
|Cc||Dacso, Clifford C email@example.com|
Dear Ms Roll,
Thank you to you and the entire Peace Corps community for your support of the study, A TRANSLATIONAL APPROACH TO VALIDATE IN-VIVO ANTI-TUMOR EFFECTS OF CHLOROQUINE ON BREAST CANCER RISK. Based on our interim analysis, we have decided to revise our methodology. Therefore, we are ending this phase of the study. Although we are not continuing this survey, we have learned a great deal that we will incorporate into future research, which we will continue to share with the RPCV community. We look forward to communicating our results to you as soon as our analysis is complete.
I have reported on this study. But I do not think that constituted support. I have had many questions and concerns about how this study was conducted. Most went unanswered. There was a report about the study at the 2014 NPCA Gathering at Nashville.
There is a technical report that describes this study and illustrates some of the problems I have had with it. The best way to read this technical report is to copy and paste this URL in your browser URL box. The report, Year 1 Report-Defense Technical Information Center, in Adobe format, should download to your computer.
From the report:
Year 1 milestones. We created a database of eligible potential volunteers who have expressed interest in participating in BCM research from an IRB-approved study “CREATING A DATABASE OF POTENTIAL PARTICIPANTS,” in which RPCVs were recruited at the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary conference in Washington DC in September 2012 and a gathering of returned volunteers in June 2013 in Minneapolis, MN.
BUT, we all know that the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary conference in Washington DC was in September 2011, not September 2012. I also believe that the gathering of returned volunteers in Minneapolis was in June of 2012, not June 2013. How and why are these dates so wrong?
In the report, the following sources for contacting RPCV women was described:
“Simultaneously, we launched an informational campaign in concert with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA). This campaign includes: websites and blogs, including PeaceCorpsConnect.org, PeaceCorpsWorldwide.org, and the websites of independent and NPCA-affiliated RPCV member groups; NPCA’s monthly e-newsletter with 35,008 subscribers; mass emails or listserv posts to membership of NPCA, Peace Corps Worldwide, and independent and NPCA-affiliated RPCV member groups; and social media tools including Facebook.”
Please Note: Peace Corps World Wide reported the NPCA announcement and descriptions. Peace Corps World Wide DID NOT partner with Baylor or the NPCA.
A newsletter was also proposed but as Kara McArthur, the person at Baylor who has recently corresponded with me, emailed, on November 10, 2014.
"We have not put out a newsletter.I'm afraid that it is something that we
just haven’t gotten around to and we need to do.The study is still
ongoing, but we don't have any results to report yet."
I do continue to have questions about what will happen next. This include:
1) What will be the topic of future research?
2) How will the personal medical information contributed by RPCV women be incorporated into this future research? Will a new consent form be requested?
3) How will this future research be funded?
4) Will there be any final report on the original study? If so where will it be published?
5) Will women learn anything useful from the research to date?
I choose not to participate in this study. However, I am a RPCV woman who was in the targeted demographic group and I did take Arlen or chloroquine. I also have had breast cancer, as have many of my friends, including those who served with me in the Peace Corps. For my female relatives and those of my friends, a competent study of any risks or reduced risks for this awful disease is very important.