Cancer Center Directors Report on Accelerating Successes Against Cancer
At the September 7 meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board, the working group of directors of the NCI-designated Cancer Centers presented its recommendations for "Accelerating Successes Against Cancer."
"Never has there been such opportunity and promise for improving outcomes for patients with cancer," said Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and chair of the group. "Most of the nation's NCI-designated Cancer Centers are imbedded in academic medical centers. Thus, the nation's Cancer Centers are uniquely positioned to both lead in cancer research and lead in the dissemination process."
The recommendations are the result of a November 2005 meeting of NCI's director and the Cancer Center directors. At a follow-up meeting last May, the group presented its preliminary recommendations, which are subdivided into six goal areas for the Cancer Centers to pursue:
Prevention: The recommendations of the National Cancer Policy Board on cancer prevention and early detection, focusing on evidence-based interventions in lifestyle and behavior, should be implemented, as well as scientifically established medical strategies. Research in personalized medicine and behavioral sciences should be increased.
Early detection: Large-scale, collaborative clinical trials should be designed to identify potential markers, followed by clinical trials validating these markers' capacity to predict cancer. Partnerships between cancer centers, government, health care agencies, and advocacy groups should be forged to expand the use of validated screening methods, extend access, and disseminate information.
Treatment: The recommendations of the Clinical Trials Working Group to improve NCI's capacity to coordinate and support innovative clinical research should be implemented, making support of clinical investigators and infrastructure a top priority. Collaborations between cancer centers to design and perform trials and share specialized core services should be increased.
Survivorship: Cancer Centers should collaborate with NCI's Office of Cancer Survivorship to establish a data warehouse of clinical information, research protocols, educational materials, and outreach activities. Centers should also collaborate with the American Society of Clinical Oncology to develop clinical practice guidelines for survivors.
Collaborations: Collaboration between companies and academic institutions should be facilitated by developing shared licensing agreements to speed contract negotiations. Expertise and resources of Cancer Centers should be brought together for collaborative chemoprevention trials.
Dissemination: The medical and financial benefits of cancer control best practices should be demonstrated by establishing projects in regions served by Cancer Centers, funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and led by the Cancer Centers. Cancer care and control guidelines should be disseminated in collaboration with other agencies.
NCI Acting Director and former Cancer Center Director Dr. John Niederhuber thanked the working group for developing the recommendations. "I applaud the Cancer Center directors for taking the time and putting in the effort to produce this thoughtful report. It now falls on NCI to carefully consider its recommendations and turn them into a plan for action," he noted.