Christiana Care ranks among top 10 National Community Cancer Centers enrolling patients into cancer clinical trials

Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute has earned distinction as a top accruing member of the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The Graham Cancer Center ranks 8th among NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) sites enrolling the highest numbers of patients into network clinical trials led by NRG Oncology research group, one of five U.S. research groups now participating in the NCTN.

In 2007, the Graham Cancer Center was one of 16 original sites selected by NCI to establish the Community Cancer Center Program. Since then, the Graham Cancer Center’s overall clinical trial accrual rate has soared upwards of 20 percent, far above the national average of about 4 percent for similar programs.

“Congratulations to our physicians and research team for this phenomenal accomplishment,” said Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. “Their vision and commitment broadens opportunities for eligible patients to access the very latest and most promising cancer treatments without leaving Delaware.”

The NRG Oncology clinical trials group brings together the internationally recognized research leadership of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), and the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG). Collectively, these groups represent 150 years of cumulative research experience in conducting practice-defining, multi-institutional clinical trials to improve survival and quality of life for patients with cancer.

“Gaining a top-accrual spot in the NRG Oncology research group at this time is particularly noteworthy, considering that we have all been working through first year growing pains of a newly transitioned National Clinical Trials Network,” said Christiana Care Cancer Research Director Kandie Dempsey, DBA, MS, RN, OCN. “Our success is a bold step toward extending clinical trial participation to even greater numbers of patients in small towns and local communities throughout Delaware and the entire country.”

It was just last March that the NCI completed transformation of its longstanding Cooperative Group Program to form the new NCTN. Several Graham Cancer Center physician investigators and research nurses held leadership positions on NCI cooperative group committees that helped guide the transformation of NCI’s clinical trials program to expand scientific research opportunities across all aspects of the health care system to benefit cancer patients.

During the NCTN’s inaugural year, NRG Oncology is credited with 32 percent of the total trial enrollment among the five participating U.S. research groups, which also include the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, the SWOG Cancer Research Cooperative and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG).

Members of the Graham Cancer  Center research team continue to serve in leadership roles among these participating research groups.

In addition to the Christiana Careresearch team, the short list of top-accruing NCORP members recognized by NRG Oncology includes Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Georgia Regents University Cancer Center; the Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium; the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora; Metro-Minnesota Community Oncology Research Consortium; the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium; Catholic Health Initiatives; Pacific Cancer Research Consortium; and Cancer Research for the Ozarks.