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NCI News Note

NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Gets Underway

  • Posted: August 1, 2014

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded 53 new 5-year grants to researchers across the country to conduct multi-site cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery research studies in their communities. The grants are being awarded under the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions, and other organizations that provide care to diverse populations in community-based healthcare practices across the United States. The program funding is $93 million a year for 5 years.

NCORP will design and conduct trials to improve cancer prevention, cancer control, screening, and post-treatment management. The new program will have an expanded portfolio of clinical trials and other studies, including an emphasis on cancer care delivery research. Cancer care delivery research within NCORP focuses on diverse and multi-level factors (e.g. social, financing systems, process, technology, and others) that affect access to and quality of care in the community. According to Worta McCaskill-Stevens, M.D., director of NCORP, the creation of NCORP allows NCI to take advantage of recent advances in the understanding of cancer and bring this new knowledge into clinical trials conducted in the community, where most patients receive their care. The NCORP network, she explains, will identify and evaluate the critically needed interventions that reduce cancer risk and incidence, enhance cancer patients’ quality of life, and increase access to clinical trials and cancer care delivery research for minority, rural, and other underserved patient populations.

The 53 awards fall into one of three categories:

  • 7 Research Bases function as hubs for the network, designing and conducting multi-center cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery research and providing overall administration, data management, scientific leadership, and regulatory compliance.
  • 34 Community Sites accrue participants to clinical trials conducted by NCORP Research Bases, NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) treatment and imaging trials, quality of life studies, and cancer care delivery research involving patients, practitioners, and/or healthcare organizations.
  • 12 Minority/Underserved Community Sites accrue participants in the same way as the Community Sites but have a patient population comprising at least 30% racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents.

NCORP replaces two previous NCI community-based clinical research programs: the NCI Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP, made up of the Community Clinical Oncology Programs, Minority-Based Clinical Oncology Programs, and Research Bases) and the NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP). The new program builds on the strengths of the previous programs and aims to better address the most pressing issues affecting the conduct and delivery of care in communities across the nation. Ongoing clinical trials will be seamlessly incorporated into NCORP and continue to completion to achieve continuity of care for patients. Former CCOP sites that did not become NCORP sites will receive support to allow patients to complete their studies and receive appropriate follow up care. In addition, NCORP will align with the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), NCI’s nationwide program for large treatment and imaging trials. The alignment between the two programs seeks to reduce operational redundancies, streamline reporting requirements, and leverage cross-institutional data systems in order to create a more efficient clinical trials network.