Every year, 20,000 patients participate in the NCI-sponsored clinical trials, the best method for advancing cancer care. But it still takes too long to answer important treatment questions.
That's why a fundamental change is under way in how the National Cancer Institute (NCI) develops, reviews, conducts, and supports clinical trials. The revitalized system is more flexible and more inclusive, inviting input from basic and clinical researchers, community and research oncologists, patients and families, and every group with a commitment to improving cancer care. Several pilot projects are happening, and several more are approaching reality.
The oncology community and anyone else with an interest in clinical trials can explore a Web feature describing the new system at http://cancertrials.nci.nih.gov/system.
The new initiatives are divided into five categories:
- Broadening Access. Opening clinical trials to more physicians and patients will mean quicker answers to vital cancer research questions.
- Generating New Ideas. Canvassing a broad range of basic and applied scientists from both academia and industry will cast a wide net for the most promising new therapies.
- Educating and Communicating. Reaching out to physicians and patients will bring more people into the clinical trials system and reinforce the message that clinical trials are critical.
- Streamlining Procedures. Reducing paperwork and consolidating procedures will ease clinical trials participation for physicians while maintaining safety and quality.
- Automating Data Systems. Virtually every component of the new system will be online.
CancerTrials (http://cancertrials.nci.nih.gov), run by the NCI, provides educational information and news about ongoing and completed cancer clinical trials. The goal of the site: help people make informed decisions about joining clinical trials.