"The National Cancer Institute is launching a new clinical trials research network intended to improve treatment for the more than 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year. The new system, NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), will facilitate the rapid initiation and completion of cancer clinical trials based on improvements in data management infrastructure, the development of a standardized process for prioritization of new studies, consolidation of its component research groups to improve efficiency, and the implementation of a unified system of research subject protection at over 3,000 clinical trials sites. Grants to fund the program will be awarded early in the spring of 2014.
Despite its solid record of accomplishment, the individual components of the NCI’s previous national clinical trials program (the Cooperative Groups) had become less efficient, necessitating changes to several of its operating procedures over the past decade. A 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine (see http://iom.edu/Reports/2010/A-National-Cancer-Clinical-Trials-System-for-the-21st-Century-Reinvigorating-the-NCI-Cooperative.aspx ) validated and refined the nature of the changes that needed to be undertaken. The Institute of Medicine suggested four overarching goals to guide improvement efforts:
- Improving the speed and efficiency of the design, launch, and conduct of clinical trials
- Making optimal use of scientific innovations
- Improving selection, prioritization, support, and completion of clinical trials
- Fostering expanded participation of both patients and physicians.
In particular, recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and others stressed that it was important for NCI to consolidate its late-phase clinical trials program into a smaller number of groups, each with greater capabilities and appropriate incentives to promote better overall system integration and cooperation. Those recommendations led NCI to develop the new NCTN, focusing on four overarching goals that will guide the new system: integration, prioritization, efficiency, and innovation."