Federal Panel Recommends Changes in Cancer Research and Delivery Enterprises; More Emphasis on Collaborative Work, Community Outreach
WASHINGTON, June 10 -- Looking across the continuum of how a scientific discovery evolves into new methods for detecting and treating cancer, a federal advisory panel recommends changes that its members hope will accelerate improvements in cancer care.
The President’s Cancer Panel released its 2005 report, Translating Research into Cancer Care: Delivering on the Promise, with 20 recommendations for overcoming existing barriers. The Panel also suggested the stakeholders with primary responsibility for acting on the recommendations, which were divided into five categories:
-- Team science and the culture of research
-- Infrastructure required for research translation (turning discoveries into new or improved treatment methods)
-- Regulatory issues affecting translation
-- Dissemination, education and communication issues affecting translation
-- Impact of public trust and community participation
“While we recognize that progress against some forms of cancer has been achieved, still others remain intractable,” said LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel. “With an aging population, we have greater numbers of people reaching the ages when cancer risk rises. We need to know that our public and private research entities are not unnecessarily slowed in determining how best to prevent, detect and treat more cancers.”
As required by law, the Panel submitted its report to the White House and then to Congressional leaders, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Cancer Institute. Its cover letter, addressed to President Bush, declares the “culture, focus, and infrastructure of the research and health care delivery enterprises are the root of many existing barriers to translation. These obstacles ... must be surmounted to deliver on the promise made to the American people in 1971 – to prevent, control, and cure cancers. Doing so, however, will require support at the highest levels of government, academia, and industry.”
The report is based on testimony the Panel heard during a series of four meetings held between August 2004 and last January. Eighty-four speakers included academic, industry, and public sector researchers and administrators; community-based cancer care providers; specialists in drug and medical device development and commercialization; regulatory experts; public and private health care payors; statisticians; sociologists, professional and industry association representatives; media representatives, and patient advocates.
Among the Panel’s recommendations:
Team Science and the Culture of Research:
NIH and other research sponsors should facilitate collaboration in large research projects by requiring team approaches to the extent appropriate to the science and designating a percentage of project funding for such efforts.
Infrastructure Required for Research Translation:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should explore the possibility of collecting cancer stage data, at least at the time of diagnosis, to better inform treatment decision making, ensure appropriate payments, enrich the body of information about provider practice patterns, and support treatment research.
Regulatory Issues Affecting Translation:
Current barriers to research translation due to intellectual property and patent issues should be considered by a task force of private, nonprofit, academic, and government stakeholders to develop and agree on standard language for patent exemptions for research purposes; standard clauses for contracts governing collaborative research; and other agreements as needed to resolve intellectual property and data-sharing issues.
Dissemination, Education, and Communication Issues Affecting Translation:
The National Cancer Institute should increase significantly funding for research and implementation activities to improve dissemination and adoption of cancer research advances. As part of this effort, Comprehensive Cancer Centers should be required and funded to take an active role in disseminating new cancer-related interventions into their communities/regions and facilitating their adoption by community cancer care providers, including non-physician personnel.
The Impact of Public Trust and Community Participation:
Research results must be shared with the individuals and communities that participate in clinical trials and other studies.
The President’s Cancer Panel is a three-member panel appointed by the President of the United States to oversee the Nation’s cancer program and report any obstacles to its rapid execution to the President. For further information, see: http://pcp.cancer.gov.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For copies of the report, write: The President’s Cancer Panel, 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 212, Rockville, MD 20892, or call: 301-451-9399.
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