THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Oncology Research, one of the largest community-based oncology research programs in the United States, enrolled more than 2,900 subjects into clinical trials during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. The participation of these patients in leading-edge oncology trials for a wide range of cancer types contributed to eight cancer therapies receiving FDA approvals, making promising new treatments available to cancer patients across the nation. Contributing to so many FDA approvals in one fiscal year is unprecedented for US Oncology Research and demonstrates the organization’s strong ongoing commitment to play a vital role in understanding cancer and identifying effective therapies. In total, US Oncology Research has enrolled more than 66,000 patients into clinical trials since its inception in 1992.
“Accruing such a large number of patients in these novel clinical trials is a significant achievement for US Oncology Research, as finding appropriate patients, enrolling them into trials, and managing their complex care is very challenging,” said Michael Seiden, MD, PhD, chief medical officer, US Oncology Research. “These groundbreaking studies lay the foundation for the advancement of cancer care and are crucial to finding new and more effective ways to treat cancer. I am extremely proud of the world-class work done by our research team. Due to their dedication and commitment, patients in communities across the country now have access to some of the most encouraging therapies we have seen in years.”
According to the Cancer Research Institute, only three to six percent of cancer patients who are eligible for clinical trials take part in a study due to a variety of reasons, such as lack of awareness of the trial, difficulty with insurance, misinformation about the care provided during the study, or other concerns. US Oncology Research overcomes these recruitment barriers by employing a proven strategy that utilizes comprehensive models for the large-scale deployment of trials across select cities through affiliated community-based cancer centers.
One recruitment model the organization successfully uses is its Selected Trials for Accelerated Rollout (STAR) method, which contributed greatly to reaching last fiscal year’s 2,900 patient accrual milestone. This program opens and activates clinical trials quickly across all cancer centers affiliated with US Oncology Research. When a potential STAR trial patient is identified at a facility, the practice is trained in the details of the trial, and the study is opened within a two-week timeframe at the location where the patient will be treated.
Another factor that contributed to last year’s record accrual number was the organization’s ability to provide access to a vast number of immuno-oncology (I-O) trials, which comprise approximately one-third of the studies offered through US Oncology Research. Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to help fight cancer. Today’s new I-O therapies have shown high efficacy rates, great tolerability and manageable toxicities. Additionally, some I-O trials have demonstrated durable responses even when therapy stops, suggesting the immune system may still be fighting the cancer even after treatment concludes. These dramatic trial results are generating significant excitement in the general media as well as the cancer community, and consequently, cutting-edge I-O trials―especially those in a community setting―are highly sought after by many patients.
The impact of the work done by US Oncology Research is far reaching, affecting many aspects of cancer care. Drug manufacturers rely on the organization to enroll patients in clinical trials to help bring new therapies to market. Promising new treatments can only become broadly available when safety and efficacy are demonstrated in clinical trials and presented as evidence for FDA approval. These approvals rely upon adequate patient participation in trials. Additionally, US Oncology Research-affiliated practices were able to offer 2,900 patients early access to exciting new therapies. Trial participation also helped these practices gain familiarity and achieve a comfort level with these investigational drugs prior to FDA approval, making post-approval prescribing easier.
“Clinical trials play a vital role in our commitment to provide the world's most advanced cancer treatments to patients,” said David Smith, MD, director of Research for Compass Oncology and associate chair of the US Oncology Research Lung and Advanced Therapeutics Committees. “Patients being treated at a US Oncology Research-affiliated practice have convenient access to novel, investigational therapies in state-of-the-art cancer centers in communities close to home with their own oncologist directing their care. This supports an optimal outcome while providing a better patient and family experience.”
US Oncology Research recently released a video that highlights the contributions made to the advancement of cancer care.
About US Oncology Research
Supported by McKesson Specialty Health and The US Oncology Network, US Oncology Research draws from a network of experienced investigators and dedicated clinical staff who specialize in oncology clinical trials. US Oncology Research serves 60 research sites and approximately 170 locations managing about 300 active trials at any given time. Physicians in the research network have enrolled more than 66,000 patients in over 1,500 trials since inception in 1992 and have played a role in nearly 70 FDA-approved cancer therapies, approximately one-third of all cancer therapies approved by the FDA to date. For more information visit https://www.usoncology.com/physicians/clinical-trials.