For any community practice, participation in a clinical trial can be a time-consuming, intense commitment. But this commitment is integral to the advancement of new methods and therapies, which is why the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups has exactly one mission: increasing clinical trial participation. Ten years ago, the Coalition partnered with the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and ASCO to support the Clinical Trials Participation Awards, which are presented to high-quality community-based practices participating in clinical trials. 2012 marked the 10th consecutive year that the Coalition has supported the awards.
Shared Commitment to Clinical Trials
The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups was established in 1997 to address its members’ shared goal of improving the cancer clinical trials system by improving patient awareness of cancer clinical trials, facilitating access, and promoting participation. Today, the Coalition comprises members from 10 National Cancer Institute–sponsored Cooperative Groups, the country’s leading patient advocacy organizations, and thousands of oncology and cancer research specialists.
Several years later, in 2001, ASCO formed the Clinical Trials Task Force as part of its strategic planning process to recommend initiatives to increase clinical trial awareness and participation by physicians. Establishing the Clinical Trials Participation Awards was one of the recommendations of this task force. The awards recognize the commitment of community practices who contribute to the growing body of clinical oncology data through participating in clinical trials. Since the first award was granted in 2003, over 100 awards have been presented to deserving community practices, and for all 10 years, this program has been generously supported by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups.
Each year, starting in January, ASCO solicits award nominees from each of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cooperative Groups, as well as from each of the following major community-based oncology research networks. All nominated practices are then invited to formally submit an application, which is then peer-reviewed by the Clinical Trials Participation Award Review and Selection Subcommittee of the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Winners are those practices determined to have high-quality, community-based research programs with investigators in good standing, and high accrual by site, by individual investigator, or of underserved populations. The awards are presented annually at the ASCO Annual Meeting.
A Tradition of Partnership
The Clinical Trial Participation Awards are not the only instance where the Coalition has partnered with the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Collectively, the Cooperative Groups treat more than half of all patients participating in clinical trials in the United States, and in 2007, Cancer Cooperative Groups became the first group to receive an American Society of Clinical Oncology Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Leadership, recognizing the “team science” achievements of the Cooperative Groups in designing and conducting cancer clinical trials. ASCO has also collaborated with the Coalition to present, along with the Oncology Nursing Society, a clinical trials workshop designed to help oncologists and their health-care and practice management teams evaluate, integrate, and conduct successful clinical trials in the community practice setting, and a Summit Series on Clinical Trials highlighting some of the major issues that relate to cancer clinical trials.
A nonprofit organization founded in 1997, the Coalition’s mission is to improve the quality of life and survival of cancer patients by increasing participation in cancer clinical trials. The Coalition has created and made available a suite of programs and services designed to increase the understanding of cancer clinical trials and boost participation. Since the Coalition’s founding, patient participation in Cooperative Group trials has gone up by about 30%.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups,” says Nancy R. Daly, MS, MPH, Executive Director of the Conquer Cancer Foundation. “Clinical trials are the cornerstone of oncology research. Our shared commitment to increased participation in clinical trials will one day deliver better, more well-executed trials that bring significant advances for patients and their caregivers. Together, we will all realize the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s ultimate vision: creating a world that’s free from the fear of cancer.”
Applications for the 2013 Clinical Trial Participation Awards will be available shortly. To learn more, please visit http://www.conquercancerfoundation.org/cancer-professionals/grants-awards/clinical-trials-participation-award.
To learn more about the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, visit http://www.cancertrialshelp.org. To learn more about the Conquer Cancer Foundation and to make a donation in support of our Grants and Awards Program, visit www.conquercancerfoundation.org. ■
© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.