University of Arizona Cancer Center Joins National Clinical Trials Network

November 10, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz.  The University of Arizona Cancer Center is increasing its clinical trials portfolio and translational research capabilities: the Center has been accepted into a national clinical trials research group spearheaded by the NRG Foundation.

The group, NRG Oncology, is a cooperative group recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and is a coordinated effort of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and the Gynecologic Oncology Group.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) established National Clinical Trials Networks in 2014 in response to the emerging prevalence of targeted therapies and precision medicine in cancer care. NRG Oncology is one of five cooperative groups in the United States to be awarded NCTN classification. This cooperative group brings together many investigators from hospitals and academic research centers throughout the United States and beyond to conduct early and late-stage clinical trials as part of the NCI.

NRG Oncology has an international roster of more than 200 members. Its primary mission is “to improve the lives of cancer patients by conducting practice-changing multi-institutional clinical and translational research with emphases on gender-specific malignancies including gynecologic, breast and prostate cancers and on localized or locally advanced cancers of all types.”

“In gaining NRG full membership, our physicians will have access to—and become a part of—many disease site committees. This will allow their input into the types of research studies that become available to patients. In addition, their own initiatives and ideas may be put into place as new research studies,” said Baldassarre Stea, MD, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson and one of the project’s principal investigators.

NRG Oncology currently has 22 open clinical trial protocols. Many of these studies are unique and only available through an NRG membership. These trials are on-going, and new studies are added on a regular basis.

The UA Cancer Center will be able to work with community physicians to add them as affiliate members through the UA’s institutional membership so that they may be able to offer NRG research studies to their own patients.

“The research studies that we will participate in will allow our patients to potentially participate in the newest and most advanced types of cancer treatment available,” said Dr. Stea.

“NRG Oncology at the University of Arizona Cancer Center will enhance even further the strong interdepartmental collaboration between oncologists and investigators at our center,” added gynecologic oncologist Setsuko Chambers, MD, director of Women’s Cancers and the Bobbi Olson Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research at the UA Cancer Center and the project’s co-principal investigator.