UPDATE from the Canadian Cancer Trials Group Interim Director's Desk
I am writing from my old/new desk at Canadian Cancer Trials Group office at Queen's having now been two weeks in the role of "Interim Director" since Dr. Ralph Meyer's departure on July 29th.
Before starting this role, I of course had the benefit of knowing a LOT about CTG and held several transition meetings with Ralph around the active projects and files he was working on before he left. I would like to thank him for the huge amount of work he invested in CTG's success over the last few years -- under his leadership we continue, as a community of committed, innovative investigators, talented teams in all our member centres, superb leadership from across the country and within central office, to be a world class clinical research group.
I am writing to provide some information on the topics that have been top of mind since I came back to Canadian Cancer Trials Group:
New Trials - CTG-led and CTSU/NCI US group trials of interest:
At the CTC meeting in June, CTG-led trials in GYNE, LUNG, GU and BREAST cancer were approved - more information on those coming in weeks ahead.
In addition - the decision was taken that the CTSU trials brought forward by DSC chairs, need not undergo scientific review by our CTC (since that was a process well conducted through NCI US and its Steering Committees). So, pending a feasibility assessment all were tentatively approved.
Queen's/CCS Search for New Canadian Cancer Trials Group Director
As per the recent Bulletin from Central Office office, and the announcement on the Canadian Cancer Trials Group web page announcement, Queen's and CCS have launched the search for the new Director (see: www.ctg.queensu.ca for posting). The Faculty of Health Sciences under the leadership of Dean Richard Reznick, has been very supportive of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group in the last months as the transition to the Interim Director has taken place and have signaled strong commitment to the long term success of the CTG.
US NCI Grant and feedback
In January, the Canadian Cancer Trials Group submitted an application to become the Canadian Collaborating Clinical Trials Network of the NCI's newly-formed National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The NCTN will be comprised of four US cooperative groups and, if awarded, the Canadian Cancer Trials Group will be the only Canadian group to be part of the Network. Our application was given an overall score of 20 (Outstanding range). We hope that the grant will move quickly through the final stages of approval so that funding will flow March 1, 2014. In the meantime, we have been given an extension on our current NIH grant to the end of February, 2014 so that the transition to the new award will be seamless.
Initiatives to reduce work and increase support to member institutions
How do we reduce the burden of trial work while maintaining excellence in our work? A number of ideas for initiatives have started within the Central Office to address this. Stay tuned! In addition we are looking forward to the support that the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (CCCTN) will bring to CTG member centres for participation in academic clinical trials (such as those of CTG) once it is in place. This initiative, led by Dr. Janet Dancey, is in its formative stage (supported by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer). The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) will host the national coordinating centre and Canadian Cancer Trials Group and the Network of Networks (N2) are partnering. For updates see: http://3ctn.ca/.
We are also discussing how best to reach out and engage the leaders and collaborators across Canada that represent the foundational talent of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group. In this regard, we are exploring the possibility of a small, focused fall meeting to coincide with the Canadian Cancer Research Conference in some way (CCRC will be held Nov 3-6 in Toronto). We realize time is short to plan anything given people's busy schedule so will be trying to move quickly on this over next few weeks
Eisenhauer MD FRCPC
Canadian Cancer Trials Group