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In 2001, a Clinical Trials Task Force was formed as part of The American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) strategic planning process to recommend initiatives to increase clinical trial awareness and participation by physicians. The Clinical Trial Participation Awards were one of the recommendations of this Task Force. From 2003 to 2008, a total of 63 awards have been conferred. These awards honor community oncology practices for their efforts to improve the care of people with cancer through participation in clinical trials. The program is supported by a grant from the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, which enables ASCO to provide award recipients with a travel grant to attend ASCO's Annual Meeting. “Virtually every cancer treatment available today is the direct result of clinical research,” said ASCO Past President, Nancy Davidson, MD. “The Clinical Trials Participation Awards honor practices' dedication to developing new ways to slow, halt, cure, and prevent cancer through clinical research.”
Nominations from across the country were submitted by National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cooperative Groups, the ASCO Clinical Practice Committee, the NCI Community Clinical Oncology Program, and community-based oncology research networks, including US Oncology, Minnie Pearl Cancer Research Network, UCLA Oncology Research Network, and Hoosier Oncology Group. All nominated practices were invited to submit an application for the award, and the applications were peer-reviewed by a subcommittee of ASCO's Cancer Research Committee. In 2006, a subcommittee of the ASCO Cancer Research Committee was developed to assess the process and criteria used to determine the recipients of this award, and to make recommendations for changes. The chair of this subcommittee was Charles McKay, MD. The other members of this subcommittee were C. Norman Coleman, MD, Robert Comis, MD, Ellen Feigal, MD, Michael Friedman, MD, Dean Gesme, MD, H. Kim Lyerly, MD, and Peter Paul Yu, MD.
Each of the nominated practices was invited to apply for this award by completing an online application. The online application requested both quantitative and qualitative information, including a description of innovative techniques employed by the practice to increase their overall accrual and accrual of minority populations, how the practice overcomes barriers to research, and methods to ensure and maintain the quality of research. The applications were peer reviewed and scored by members of the subcommittee, and each application was reviewed and scored by at least one subcommittee member who was also a community-based oncology researcher. Applicants with the highest scores were chosen to receive this award in 2008.
The award winners were selected based on the following criteria:
This year the ASCO Cancer Foundation, ASCO's philanthropic arm, honored 10 community oncology practices for their efforts to improve care of people with cancer through participation in clinical trials. The Clinical Trial Participation Awards were presented Sunday, June 1, 2008, at American Society of Clinical Oncology's 44th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
The 2008 honorees include Cancer Care Specialists of Central Illinois, Decatur, Illinois; Cancer Consultants of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada; Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology, Inc, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Hematology-Oncology Associates of Central New York, East Syracuse, New York; Kaiser Permanente, San Diego, San Diego, California; Medical Oncology-Hematology Consultants, PA, Wilmington, Delaware; MeritCare Roger Marris Cancer Center, Fargo, North Dakota; Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana; Texas Oncology-Baylor Sammons Cancer Center, Dallas, Texas; and William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan.
Between now and the next ASCO Annual Meeting, Journal of Oncology Practice will publish a series of articles focusing on the Clinical Trial Participation Award–winning practices. These articles will feature interviews with members of these groups who will discuss their innovative techniques for conducting clinical research. Previous articles have presented discussions of how award-winning practices conduct outreach programs, address funding issues, identify elements of an effective research team, minimize research delays, identify successful strategies to keep clinical trials moving forward, and select and identify clinical trials for their practice. An understanding of how these model sites conduct clinical research should be useful for other community-based practices that are striving to improve their clinical research programs.
The subcommittee plans to continually evaluate this process, and requests feedback and suggestions from ASCO members. Please direct all comments and suggestions to ASCO's Cancer Research Department at gro.ocsa@hcraeserrecnac.