PA [March 18, 2011]: The American College of Radiology’s Imaging
Network (ACRIN) and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), National
Cancer Institute (NCI) Clinical Trials Cooperative Group members, today
announced their intent to merge their clinical cancer research programs.
groups plan to form an alliance that combines their complementary strengths.
The new organization will include three areas of research emphasis: early
detection and diagnosis of cancer; biomarker-driven Phase II and Phase III
therapeutic studies for multiple cancer types and stages; and genetic,
molecular and imaging marker research to predict and monitor treatment
leading research organizations, ECOG and ACRIN’s individual programs have
significantly contributed to improved clinical care. The new alliance will
bring together the organizations’ unique capabilities to build a program with
expanded scientific scope and depth of expertise. ECOG has strengths in
performing large-scale trials with molecular endpoints in major diseases; the
results of these studies have changed the treatment of cancer patients, and
helped to individualize that therapy. ACRIN’s clinical trials encompass the
full range of medical imaging research: from landmark cancer screening trials
to early phase trials evaluating imaging biomarkers and novel imaging
technologies. While maintaining these areas of separate expertise, the alliance
will press the tailoring of therapy to the individual patient’s tumor, and
accelerate the integration of biological advances into clinical practice.
partnership offers the research community a new sphere of engagement,” says
Robert L. Comis, MD, Chair of ECOG. “It will greatly enhance our position in
the public and private sectors to perform biomarker-driven studies and develop
more innovative clinical trial designs. ACRIN has an exceptional imaging
research program and IT infrastructure which can be applied to compile and
store not only radiologic images, but also, relevant laboratory based images.
Our modality and disease committees will have the opportunity to become
involved in the development of cutting edge early detection and diagnostic
studies, and ACRIN investigators will benefit from being fully integrated into
our therapeutically oriented programs.”
are excited by the ECOG partnership opportunity to develop a unique
multidisciplinary organization positioned to study the entire cancer care path
from early detection through management of advanced disease,” says Mitchell D.
Schnall, MD, PhD, ACRIN Network Chair. “We will leverage the complementary
scientific expertise of each group to develop multidisciplinary scientific
committees to address each of the three emphasis areas for which there will be
immediate opportunities for interaction and collaboration. The integration of
ECOG and ACRIN patient advocacy and clinical research associate committees will
bring together an impressive knowledge base representing the patient
perspective and participant recruitment best practices – a significant support
for getting the research done.”
research has been an important component of the American College of Radiology
(ACR) for over 40 years, comments Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, the ACR’s chief
executive officer. “I commend the decision to bring together the extensive
resources of ACRIN and ECOG to carry out clinical research that combined has
even greater potential to bring forth new scientific discoveries to detect
cancer earlier and to improve the care and quality of life of cancer patients.”
planning is underway, and group leaders are developing the business,
administrative and scientific structures. The new organization will sustain its
research portfolio with public and private support. Relative to public funding,
the NCI announced last November that it will reorganize its Cooperative Group
program to support up to four adult cooperative groups, and will issue a new
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in Spring 2012; the new organization
will respond on behalf of ECOG and ACRIN..
ACRIN network is made up of investigators from over 100 academic and
community-based facilities in the United States and abroad. ACRIN’s oncology
mission is to develop information through clinical trials of medical imaging
that increase the length and quality of life of cancer patients. ACRIN also
carries out research through its cardiovascular and neuroscience committees.
Its imaging core laboratory supports the imaging operations of the ACRIN
enterprise as well as other organizations carrying out imaging research.
was established in 1955 as one of the first cooperative groups to perform
multi-center cancer clinical trials. Today ECOG has evolved from a five member
consortium of institutions on the East Coast to one of the largest clinical
cancer research organizations in the United States with almost 6000 physicians,
nurses, pharmacists, statisticians, and clinical research associates from the
U.S., Canada, Peru, Israel, South Africa, and Ireland. Institutional members
include universities, medical centers, Community Clinical Oncology Programs,
and Cooperative Group Outreach Programs. All of these members contribute to
ECOG’s strong track record of designing and completing cancer clinical trials
that change or improve cancer treatment methods, including the two largest
biomarker-based trials ever performed in the US, TailorRx and E 5202.