The Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program, supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), works to advance patient care and research through studies of new cancer treatments, methods of cancer prevention and early detection, and rehabilitation during and after treatment. According to the 2010 IOM report A National Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI Cooperative Group Program, the Cooperative Groups’ research has significantly improved cancer prevention and treatment measures. Currently, the Group involves more than 3,100 institutions and 14,000 investigators who enroll more than 25,000 patients in clinical trials each year. Despite such broad participation, the Cooperative Group Program’s ability to undertake medical practice-changing clinical trials is threatened by declining funding, inefficient processes, and extensive government oversight.
The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum and the American Society of Clinical Oncology held a workshop on March 21, 2011, in Washington, DC, to pursue ways to achieve the goals and implement the recommendations from the 2010 IOM report. Speakers discussed how to work toward the report’s goal of increasing the efficiency and productivity of the clinical trials system. The workshop included panels on a variety of topics, such as efforts to consolidate the existing Cooperative Groups, public-private collaboration, funding, and ensuring broad involvement of patients and healthcare providers in the clinical trials system. This document summarizes the workshop.