The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) has been chosen to set up the co-ordinating centre for a new pan-Canadian clinical-trial network in oncology.

The rationale for the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (CCCTN) is to improve the efficiency and quality of clinical trials in oncology by providing co-ordination and support – including ethics and regulatory expertise, biospecimen collection and analyses, and knowledge transfer – for clinical-trial teams at cancer treatment centres and hospitals nationwide.

The need for a pan-Canadian cooperative programme to facilitate the initiation and conduct of academic clinical trials in Canada was a key recommendation in the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance’s October 2011 Report on the State of Cancer Clinical Trials in Canada.

The co-ordinating centre will serve as the administrative hub for the CCCTN, providing leadership to the network and programme as well as managing the flow of funds from partners in the initiative to the trial centres.

CPAC lead

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC), an independent organisation funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control, issued a request for applications for a co-ordinating centre and leader to develop the CCCTN in November 2012.

Dr Janet Dancey, director of the High Impact Clinical Trials Program at the OICR, will head up the CCCTN coordinating centre as its scientific director.

Collaborative partners in the initiative are:

•    the NCIC Clinical Trials Group, an academic co-operative group conducting clinical trials in oncology therapy, supportive care and prevention across Canada and internationally, as well as being one of the national programmes and networks run by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI);  and                                   

•    N2 (Network of Networks), a not-for-profit group that brings together Canadian research networks and organiations in an effort to enhance national clinical-research capability and capacity across therapeutic categories.

Existing strengths

The CCCTN will build on the strengths of Canada’s existing clinical-trial groups in cancer, boosting the capacity of cancer centres to conduct effective clinical trials sponsored by academic institutions or cooperative clinical-trial groups, CPAC said.

“The benefits for cancer patients and Canadians at risk for cancer will be enhanced treatment options and access to the most innovative therapies,” Dancey commented.

“The Network will improve the cancer treatment environment by helping move new approaches into the clinic sooner and allowing patients to play a more active role in setting research priorities for clinical cancer research.”