Masonic Cancer Center Professor Elected Chair of the Big Ten CRC Steering Committee

December 23, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (December 23, 2016) – The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium (Big Ten CRC) elected Robert Kratzke, M.D., lung cancer researcher, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and associate professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School's Department of Medicine, as its inaugural Steering Committee Chair. Kratzke will lead the initiative to transform cancer research through collaboration across Big Ten universities.

 Kratzke has served as the University of Minnesota steering committee representative since 2014.

The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium brings together cancer researchers from across the conference to use team science to identify new compounds or treatments for cancer and create clinical trials. The Big 10 CRC Steering Committee determines the criteria for approving concepts for development which will eventually become early phase clinical trials opened at multiple Big Ten cancer centers.

 “This is an exciting announcement for Dr. Kratzke and the Masonic Cancer Center,” said Douglas Yee, M.D., director of the Masonic Cancer Center. “Dr. Kratzke’s expertise in conducting complex, multi-center cancer clinical trials, as well as his track record for mentoring junior researchers, made him a natural choice for the leadership of the Big Ten CRC Steering Committee. This role further highlights his leadership of the 22 Masonic Cancer Center investigators participating in the 12 Big Ten CRC clinical trials working groups.”

 As part of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota has opened Big Ten clinical trials at M Health locations, offering cutting edge treatment options to Minnesotans based on research which originated in the laboratories of other Big Ten universities.

On November 19, 2016, Dr. Yee and Gopher Athletics Director Mark Coyle co-hosted the Masonic Cancer Center Tailgate and Open House prior to the Gophers’ home football game against the Northwestern Wildcats to showcase the partnership between the two Big Ten entities in support of cancer research.

 “Dr. Yee and I have plans to work together to leverage the Big Ten brand to highlight the world-class research at the University of Minnesota in cancer – a topic close to my family as a son and brother to doctors, as well as so many of our student athletes whose families have been touched by cancer,” said Coyle during the Tailgate and Open House event.

UMN student athletes have supported cancer causes at the University of Minnesota with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Climb for Kidney Cancer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, and HopeKids, to name a few, and these athlete scholars are also students of Masonic Cancer Center research faculty and interns in cancer center laboratories.

The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

Together, the cancer centers of the Big Ten support the work of 2,600 cancer researchers, care for more than 50,000 new cancer patients each year, and enroll 20,000 patient volunteers on cancer clinical trials. The Big Ten CRC opened its first multi-institutional clinical in the spring of 2015, and is currently offering four clinical trials for patients with breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, urothelial cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

For more details and information about the Big Ten CRC, visit

Contact: Caroline Marin, 612-624-5680,

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota is a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute. For more than 25 years, researchers, educators, and care providers have worked to discover the causes, prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer and cancer-related disease. Learn more about the Masonic Cancer Center