Cancer clinical research is changing, and a large part of the transformation is being spearheaded by the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD), an extramural component of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with the responsibility of overseeing much of NCI’s infrastructure for clinical trials and drug development. I am pleased to provide you with this summary of accomplishments made possible by the many talented and dedicated staff members in programs throughout the division.
Advances in molecular medicine have created new challenges for the design and conduct of cancer clinical trials. The National Cancer Advisory Board’s Clinical Trials Working Group (CTWG) examined these challenges and, last year, issued 22 strategic initiatives to restructure the conduct of NCI-supported clinical trials so that new treatments reach patients with cancer more quickly. The CTWG endorsed team science in the broadest sense. This included the development of mechanisms to enhance the coordination of clinical, basic, and translational scientists in their efforts to improve molecular diagnostic and imaging techniques, as well as to increase the utility of novel targeted therapies. The success of the CTWG initiatives will require a significant commitment by all stakeholders in the clinical trials process to assist NCI in setting new policies, procedures, and standards and in guiding prioritization and decision-making.
DCTD will play a leading role in the implementation of the CTWG initiatives, with the goal of producing an integrated,responsive, efficient, and innovative clinical trials enterprise. The division will also assist the newly created NCI Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials as it assumes the day-to-day responsibilities for project management of the CTWG initiatives.