In an effort to find volunteers for hard to fill studies, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) now allows credentialed physicians to enroll patients in any of 30 phase 3 clinical trials. Interested physicians can apply for credentials through the NCI, which will review the application and make a site visit to ensure the physician's ability to meet clinical trials regulations and to fulfill data collecting requirements.
The program, run by the institute's Clinical Trials Support Unit, buttresses the cooperative group system, the cornerstone of government-funded clinical cancer research. Established in 1955, cooperative groups enroll some 20 000 patients annually in hundreds of NCI-supported clinical trials. However, because most studies are run at large academic research centers, patients in small towns and rural areas rarely have a chance to participate.
Vastag B. Expanded Cancer Trials Access. JAMA. 2002;287(23):3070. doi:10.1001/jama.287.23.3070-JHA20006-2-1