Last year, the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center (HCCC) at the University of Iowa received its third renewal of its designation as “Comprehensive,” a label that brings with it a great deal of support from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI). This designation recognizes the breadth, leadership, depth, and rigor of the HCCC’s research activities.
The HCCC has earned another designation and membership in a select group, joining the NCI’s High Performing Sites Initiative. Below is an explanation and more detail from the principal investigator who led the effort to earn the University of Iowa this designation, Dr. Laith Abushahin, Clinical Assistant Professor of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation:
The National Cancer Institute has several research networks for conducting and steering clinical research in Oncology. One of the major NCI research networks is the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), which provides research support to 5 cooperative oncology groups:
- Alliance in Clinical Trials in Oncology
- ECOG- ACRIN
The University of Iowa had been one of the legacy members of the Alliance Cooperative Group, in addition to prominent research efforts across the other cooperative groups. The Alliance in Clinical Trials in Oncology is a multi-institutional research consortium that conducts high-impact multidisciplinary clinical research in cancer. It involves hundreds of institutions and thousands of researchers across the country. The University of Iowa continued to perform at a high level within the Alliance.
In December 2016, in a new initiative, the NCI allocated extra funding to support cooperative group research. The NCTN leadership awarded this grant to a handful of high-performing sites based on overall participation, data quality, and integration activities. The membership committee indicated that the university ranked 29th out of hundreds of institutions, in terms of accrual numbers. The Performance Evaluation committee reported a high score for the network based on quality of data, timeliness, and group participation.
In January 2017, due to both top accrual status and high performance, the University of Iowa was granted a seat for the PI on the Board of Directors of Alliance. We intend to utilize this grant to enhance the interest level among our colleagues from other disciplines involved in cancer care who are not directly integrated in cooperative group trials, such as pathology, nuclear medicine, and radiology.