Measures of Success for Cooperative Group Reorganization

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ASCO in ActionASCO continues to work with the NCI and others to transform the Cooperative Group Program through implementation of recommendations of the 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the Cooperative Group Program.”

Five Goals

ASCO believes it is essential that NCI define specific metrics for determining the success of the reorganization. An ASCO letter to NCI outlined five broad goals that could be used as the basis for reorganizing the Cooperative Group Program:

  • Enhance inclusion of innovative and clinically meaningful science and decrease duplication across all NCI-supported clinical trials.
  • Improve timeliness of concept development and scientific review.
  • Promote efficiency across the network.
  • Increase funding for NCI-supported clinical trials.
  • Ensure continuation of a national infrastructure to enable physician participation.

ASCO’s recommendations were highlighted in a presentation by Jeff Abrams, MD, Associate Director of the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, to the NCI Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee in July 2010. Dr. Abrams and CTAC members discussed ASCO’s letter and ways to help ensure that the reorganized system is best equipped to promote scientific innovation and efficiently administer clinical trials.

More on Group Consolidation

Also in July, the IOM issued a summary of a March 21st workshop on this issue sponsored by the IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum and ASCO. The report summarizes how to increase efficiency and productivity, including efforts to consolidate the Cooperative Groups, public-private collaboration, funding, and ensuring broad involvement of patients and health-care providers.

Other Developments

The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, and North Central Cancer Treatment Group formed the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Monica Bertagnolli, MD, was elected Group Chair.

The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group are developing plans to consolidate some activities, and the Gynecologic Oncology Group announced negotiations with these two groups. Also, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network are discussing an alliance.

ASCO has developed a report tracking progress of all stakeholders in implementing the IOM report’s recommendations. ■

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