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NCI, VA Partner to Increase Cancer Clinical Trial Access

The partnership will expand veterans’ ability to participate in clinical trials for cancer research by addressing barriers to enrollment.

NCI and VA partner to increase cancer clinical trial access

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) have partnered to increase veterans’ access to clinical trials of novel cancer treatments.

The NCI and VA Interagency Group to Accelerate Trials Enrollment (NAVIGATE) will launch at 12 VA sites across the country to enhance veterans’ ability to participate in trials conducted by NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

Although the VA has a large clinical research program with approximately 100 sites nationwide, the facilities often have difficulty initiating and completing externally funded trials because of the need for partners to navigate the system.

NAVIGATE aims to overcome these challenges by providing VA facilities with sustainable data exchange infrastructure and addressing the obstacles veteran patients often face when enrolling in clinical trials.

NAVIGATE will also work to increase VA participation in clinical cancer research, as well as offer opportunities for researchers to identify studies that may be of particular interest to veterans with cancer.

“NAVIGATE is an opportunity for VA and NCI to partner at the national level to make clinical trials more accessible to veterans,” said James H. Doroshow, MD, Deputy Director for Clinical and Translational Research, NCI.

“This agreement will not only provide veterans greater access to NCI clinical trials, it will enhance accrual to NCTN and NCORP trials, resulting in more timely completion of these studies. This interagency collaboration will also work to help veterans overcome barriers they’ve faced trying to access clinical trials as part of their cancer care.”

NCI will provide infrastructure funding necessary for VA facilities to participate in NCI-sponsored trials, which will enable veterans with cancer to access promising treatments locally.

VA will manage organizational activities within its healthcare system and help its facilities focus on NCI clinical trial goals.

The program will be managed jointly by VA and NCI for up to three years. During this time, participating VA sites will build long-term capabilities so they may continue to participate in NCI clinical trials even after the program ends.

The NAVIGATE program will also share best practices and insights with VA sites across the country to initiate new trials and further enhance veteran enrollment in cancer clinical trials.

“By increasing enrollment in cancer clinical trials, VA and veterans will be contributing to important oncology research,” said VA Chief Research and Development Officer Rachel Ramoni, DMD, ScD.

“This will not only help our veterans, but also advance cancer care for all Americans, and people around the world.”

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