Community Research Forum Holds 2015 Annual Meeting, Explores Developments and Strategies in Conducting Clinical Research

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Howard A. Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, provides opening remarks at the 2015 ASCO CRF Annual Meeting.

ASCO’s Community Research Forum (CRF) held its 2015 Annual Meeting September 20–21 at ASCO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Over 75 physician investigators, program directors, and research staff attended the meeting, representing a wide range of community-based practices and research sites across the country.

The CRF was established in 2010 as part of ASCO’s efforts to support clinical investigators and community-based research sites. Each year, the Forum holds its Annual Meeting to give physician investigators and their research staff the unique opportunity to network and collaborate to propose solutions to common challenges community-based practices face in conducting research. 

Following opening remarks by ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, and CRF Council Chair Howard “Skip” A. Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, the meeting began with a keynote address by Edward S. Kim, MD, Chair of Solid Tumor Oncology and Investigational Therapeutics at the Levine Cancer Institute Carolinas HealthCare System, highlighting the importance of community-based research as oncology research evolves.

Presentations and panels covered a range of topics, including best practices, precision medicine, coverage analysis, patient engagement, and resources for community-based research programs.

James L. Wade III, MD, FACP, FASCO, of Cancer Care Specialists of Central Illinois, and Kathy Wilkinson, RN, BSN, OCN, of Billings Clinic—recipients of ASCO’s Clinical Trials Participation Award (CTPA), which recognizes high-quality clinical research sites—shared insights and perspectives from their practice in a panel led by Stephen S. Grubbs, MD, Senior Director of ASCO’s new Clinical Affairs Department.

Additionally, Chair-Elect of the CRF Council, Michael A. ­Thompson, MD, PhD, led a panel on precision medicine and implementing personalized care in community oncology, which ASCO’s Chief Medical Officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FASCO, participated on as well. The panel looked at the shift toward precision medicine in clinical trials, discussing trial designs and profiling patients for trials, as well as new clinical trial opportunities, such as ­ASCO’s Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study, the Society’s first-ever clinical trial.

The meeting also included breakout sessions, during which participants engaged with one another to discuss strategies for effectively managing difficult aspects of conducting research in a community setting. Attendees shared ideas and experiences on topics such as building clinical trial menus, education and awareness, contract negotiations, financial concerns, and assessing the quality of research programs.

Nearly 20 attendees at this year’s meeting received a travel stipend award from the ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation Mission Endowment Fund.

In addition to holding its Annual Meeting each year, the CRF has also released several online tools and resources to help community-based cancer research sites conduct and manage their research programs efficiently and effectively. These tools include the ASCO Research Program Quality Assessment Tool, the ASCO Clinical Trial Workload Assessment Tool, and an online repository of resources. Visit the CRF website at for more information about these resources, other CRF initiatives, and updates and registration information for the next CRF Annual Meeting, which will be held in the fall of 2016.  ■

© 2015. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.