NEW YORK--Thirteen of the nation's leading cancer centers have
announced the creation of a national alliance that will develop
and institute standards of care and clinical guidelines for the
treatment of cancer and perform outcomes research.
The goal of the alliance, known as the National Comprehensive
Cancer Network (NCCN), is to ensure the delivery of high-quality,
cost-effective medical services to cancer patients across the
The NCCN will focus its long-term efforts on developing programs
for large employers and third-party payers for providing prevention
services and cancer care to individuals. Such national agreements
will ensure access to the latest in cancer treatment, as well
as cancer prevention and screening programs. Pricing would remain
within the control of individual member institutions.
"The NCCN represents an extraordinary commitment by the country's
foremost institutions dedicated to the treatment of cancer,"
said Joseph V. Simone, MD, medical director of the NCCN and physician-in-chief
at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. "We believe that
collaboration is essential if we are to guarantee availability
of high-quality services in a changing health-care environment,"
The participants have made an initial commitment to invest $135,000
a year for the next 4 years. The Network's office will be located
at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and Catherine Harvey, Dr.PH, an expert
in cancer program administration, has been named executive director.
Task forces responsible for developing state-of-the-art practice
standards, outcomes research, and marketing are already at work
at the various institutions. Standards of care currently under
development include such areas as bone marrow transplantation,
pediatric cancer, leukemia, and cancers of the breast and colon.
Martin D. Abeloff, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Oncology
Center and editor of Oncology News International, said that the
alliance brings together major cancer centers so that they can
deal with changes in health care in a way that preserves their
mission not only to provide patient services but also to do research