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Medical News & Perspectives
February 23, 2011

National Cancer Institute Begins Revamp of Clinical Trials Cooperative Program

JAMA. 2011;305(8):767-768. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.173

With tighter deadlines for the launch of new trials, new technology to increase transparency and streamline data management, and plans to consolidate the number of groups in its Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has moved swiftly to implement some of the changes recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in April 2010. But questions remain about whether recommended funding increases and other changes will occur.

The Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program plays a key role in conducting trials unlikely to be undertaken by industry. In a report commissioned by the NCI, the IOM cautioned that the 55-year-old program was reaching “a state of crisis.” The report (http://www.iom.edu/ncicancertrials) outlined how a cumbersome structure, poor reimbursement for those conducting the trials, and other problems were making it difficult for the program to adapt to changes in cancer research.