Cancer Clinical Trials Cooperative Groups Undergo Restructuring

Posted By on September 19th, 2011 at 2:02 pm | 11 comments.

By: Barbara C. Good, Ph.D.    It is not only private citizens who are undergoing belt tightening in these difficult economic times.  The National Cancer Institute (NCI), which has for years funded clinical trials carried out by the 10 adult cancer cooperative trials groups, recently determined that there be only four such groups from this point forward into the foreseeable future.  At this time, the previous groups are coming to agreements among themselves about which groups will merge together to meet this mandate.

Government-funded clinical trials will continue, but the manner in which they are carried out, how exactly the different groups’ methods of operation will be melded, and issues such as the particulars of data analysis and sample storage are as of now under consideration by the group chairs.

Under the new system, it is critical that NCI-sponsored trials continue to attract patient participants.  The federal government, unlike private industry, can for the most part conduct these studies without the burden, real or perceived, of financial interest being a driving factor.  Government-sponsored clinical trials have led to many of the advances in cancer treatment made over the past 40 years, including, in breast cancer trials, the option of lumpectomy and radiation instead of mastectomy, the common use of chemotherapy for treatment, and the use of tamoxifen as a preventive agent for women at high risk. Click here for more information about the current state of the clinical trials cooperative groups. Or, for more information on clinical trials in general, click here.

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