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13 Major Cancer Centers Forge National Alliance

13 Major Cancer Centers Forge National Alliance

Thirteen of the leading cancer centers in the United States have
formed a national alliance, called the National Comprehensive
Cancer Network (NCCN), that will develop and institute standards
of care for the treatment of cancer and perform outcomes research.
The goal of the NCCN is to ensure the delivery of high-quality,
cost-effective services to cancer patients across the country.
Over the long term, the NCCN will focus efforts on developing
programs for large employers and third-party payors that will
provide prevention services and cancer care for individuals.

At present, the NCCN consists of 13 institutions, but plans call
for enlargement of the network to possibly 30 to 40 institutions
in the future. Charter members of the alliance are: City of Hope
National Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Fox Chase
Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, M.D. Anderson
Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center, Northwestern University/Lurie Cancer Center, Ohio
State University Comprehensive Cancer Center/Arthur G. James Cancer
Hospital and Research Institute, St. Jude Children's Research
Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center, University of Michigan
Comprehensive Cancer Center, and University of Nebraska Medical
Center.

Rationale for a National Network

Although the 13 institutions have collaborated in the past on
research projects, it is the first time that they have participated
in a joint business venture, noted Dr. Joseph Simone, Medical
Director of the NCCN, at a press conference held in New York on
January 31, 1995, to announce formation of the network. The member
institutions have come together to set national standards for
quality of and access to care, said Dr. Simone, who is Physician-in-Chief
at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "Also, we want to develop and
pool our resources so we can jointly learn about medical outcomes...not
just for the small population of patients who receive research-directed
interventions in our institutions, but for patients who receive
care across the entire spectrum of cancer," he added.

While asserting that the purpose of the alliance is not to tell
other centers how they should be treating cancer patients, Dr.
Simone did concede, in answer to a query from the floor, that
many people may well view the consensus standards of care formulated
by the alliance as the "gold standard" of cancer treatments.
These standards will, however, be constantly changing as new knowledge
and experience accrues, Dr. Simone said.

Each of the charter members has agreed to invest $135,000 annually
in the NCCN for the next 3 years. More important than this financial
commitment, according to Dr. Simone, however, is the "sweat
equity" these institutions will provide.

Reaching Into Local Communities

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