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March 9th, 2011

Three National Cancer Research Groups to Merge


We don't normally go the formal announcement route here, but given the importance of this one, I'd rather you get it word for word -- so here's the release:

Three National Cancer Clinical Research Cooperative Groups to Merge

The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG), Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), and North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG), which are National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded cancer cooperative groups, today announced plans to merge.

The three groups will create one integrated cooperative group that will develop and conduct more efficient clinical research studies, thus bringing clinical trial results to patients more quickly.

“This announcement reflects the call in April 2010 from the Institute of Medicine to strengthen and streamline operations among NCI clinical trials cooperative group programs,” says Jan Buckner, M.D., NCCTG group chair; professor of oncology; and chair of the Division of Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “We are excited to join with ACOSOG and CALGB to bring together outstanding, complementary scientific leadership, operations expertise and dedicated community and academic investigators to conduct high quality trials that will improve cancer care.”

In June 2010, ACOSOG, CALGB and NCCTG integrated their statistical, data management and information technology functions. In November 2010, NCI announced plans to transform the clinical trials system by reducing the number of adult cooperative groups from nine to four. Having already merged some functions, the three groups began evaluating the possibility of full integration to further streamline operations, expand their scientific research opportunities and apply for funding as a new, larger cooperative group.

“This merger creates a partnership between oncologists in all fields of cancer research that is supported by a network of strong community and academic institutions,” says Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., CALGB group chair; professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School; and chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The merger greatly expands our opportunities to conduct research that reaches all aspects of the health care system to benefit cancer patients nationwide.”

Heidi Nelson, M.D., ACOSOG group co-chair, and professor of surgery in the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, adds, “Each of our individual groups has scientific and organizational strengths. We are optimistic that when we join together, the sum will be greater than the individual parts, and the new scientific opportunities will advance cancer patient care.”

As part of the integration process, the groups plan to apply for the following grants:

  • A U24 grant for a combined biospecimen and tissue bank
  • A U10 grant for a new cooperative group with integrated scientific, operations, governance and membership functionsThe three groups will work out details of this merger, and anticipate it will be completed by 2014.

The three groups will work out details of this merger, and anticipate it will be completed by 2014.

For media contacts:

ACOSOG        Beth Martinez 919-668-8451

CALGB      Kevin Myron 617-534-1605

NCCTG  Nicole Engler 507-284-5005

Tags: About, ACOSOG, CALGB, Cancer Research, clinical research, Innovations, NCCTG, oncology


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