CCOP Brings Clinical Trials to the Community

March 1, 1996
Melanie Patt-corner
Melanie Patt-corner

Volume 5, Issue 3

BETHESDA, Md--Cancer patients may be more likely to enter treatment trials if the medical centers are near their own homes. With this in mind, the National Cancer Institute and the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control developed the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP).

BETHESDA, Md--Cancer patients may be more likely to enter treatmenttrials if the medical centers are near their own homes. With thisin mind, the National Cancer Institute and the Division of CancerPrevention and Control developed the Community Clinical OncologyProgram (CCOP).

Begun in 1983, the program's purpose is to bring the benefitsof clinical research to cancer patients in their own communitiesby encouraging physicians to enter patients into treatment researchprotocols (see table for other program goals).

The first requests for applications (RFAs) in 1983 led to fundingfor 63 community programs in 34 states and brought 14,000 patientsinto NCI-approved treatment clinical trials. The second RFA wentout in 1986, at which time CCOP expanded its focus to includecancer prevention and control research.

By 1994 there were 50 programs in 29 states involving more than300 hospitals and 3,000 physicians. In 1994, about 3,800 patientswere entered into treatment trials, and 5,000 subjects were enteredinto cancer prevention and control trials. The most recent RFA(June, 1995) resulted in three new programs.

Managed Care Brings Problems

In an interview with Oncology News International, David K. King,MD, principal investigator of the Greater Phoenix CCOP, said that"the concepts of the Community Clinical Oncology Programare superb, and the impact on the community had been important.We've been with CCOP ever since the beginning, and it's an extremelyworthwhile program."

The fly in the ointment, according to Dr. King, is a growing inabilityto place patients in clinical trials because of the reimbursementrestrictions of managed care. "It is no secret that thereis a problem in the Phoenix area, that also has become mirroredin other areas," he said. "It has had a tremendous negativeimpact on the CCOP in Phoenix. Our managed care penetration isextremely high and is still growing."

He noted that managed care organizations have become sophisticatedin determining whether a patient has been placed on a trial. "Trialsusually require frequent testing at intervals not approved bythe managed care provider--that's how they figure out that it'sa trial."

For More Information

For centers interested in applying to be part of the CommunityClinical Oncology Program, requests for applications (RFAs) usuallyare published each year in May.

Information on applying to the program in 1996 can obtained bycalling 301-496-8541, or writing to:

Leslie G. Ford, MD, Chief, Community Oncology and RehabilitationBranch, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National CancerInstitute, Executive Plaza North, Room 300-D, 6130 Executive Blvd,MSC-7340, Bethesda, MD 20892.

Goals of the Community Clinical Oncology Program