The Jefferson Cancer Network of Thomas Jefferson Universitys Kimmel Cancer Center recently established a cooperative program known as the Jefferson Oncology Group among its members. The purpose of this new cooperative program is to enhance clinical and translational cancer research and, in particular, the development of clinical trials. In establishing this program, the Jefferson Cancer Network "created an infrastructure that will expand both clinical and translational research."
"We want the best opportunity to create a mechanism in which clinical trials can be conducted as a true partnership among network members," said Walter Curran, Jr., MD, professor and chair of radiation oncology and clinical director of the Kimmel Cancer Center and the Jefferson Oncology Group.
Linking Clinical and Translational Research
Several multi-institution, national cooperative groups currently exist to conduct clinical trials, and "most people feel that research must be national to be conclusive." "We think we now have the capability to conduct conclusive trials on our own," Dr. Curran said. "The research centers at Kimmel Cancer Center and at Lankanau Medical Research Center can link the 20,000 patients diagnosed with cancer in our network with the basic science at these sites for translational research. We also have the appropriate infrastructure and technology in place to compete for funding for clinical trials from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society."
"Previously, each Jefferson Cancer Network member had to independently participate in a trial. Now, we can go collectively with an idea, say for treating metastatic breast cancer, and obtain support to conduct trials collectively," explained Dr. Curran. In addition, the establishment of the Jefferson Oncology Group will enhance communication among member institutions and community physicians. Trials will be overseen by a single, centralized institutional review board.