For the last several years, we have shifted the focus of the clinical research effort in cancer. The Cancer Center’s central goal is to impact cancer treatment through the translation of basic advances in our understanding of cancer to the clinic.
Participation in cooperative group research certainly allows Tufts Medical Center investigators and their patients to take part in research that may contribute to overall progress in cancer therapy, but it does not provide a uniquely identifiable intellectual outlet for Tufts Medical Center Cancer Center members to impact the provision of cancer care.
To this end, we have begun to re-direct our clinical research effort to create a clinical research apparatus that does two things:
- Encourages basic and clinical investigators together to initiate new hypothesis-driven studies.
- Creates an environment in which early phase industry-sponsored studies can be put into place for small and specialized patient populations that seek their care at Tufts Medical Center and its collaborating institutions.
The Neely Center for Clinical Cancer Research (NCCCR) is the core facility of the Cancer Center dedicated to coordinating all aspects of oncology and hematology clinical research in compliance with NIH rules, FDA regulations and “Good Clinical Practice” guidelines.
In operation since January 2003, the center initially coordinated all aspects of cancer clinical research through the division of hematology-oncology. Over the last year, reorganization has integrated other cancer clinical research efforts of the Cancer Center into the NCCCR.
Clinical core services
The Cancer Center’s clinical core includes support for protocol design, conduct, and ancillary services as one entity. Biostatistics exists as a more independent aspect of the NCCCR, serving both clinical and basic science design and data analysis.
The Cancer Center's clinical core services include the Biostatistics Core, also known as the Design and Data Resource Center or DDRC; the NCCCR; the Tumor Registry, which is responsible for data collection outside of clinical trials; and the new Tissue Repository, part of the Research Pathology Core.
Our efforts to re-design clinical research positions these core services to support clinical trials in cancer, as well as to enhance translational applications from our basic scientists. These Cancer Center elements function closely with translational infrastructure elements developed as part of the Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The DDRC and Tumor Repository straddle these two complementary clinical research efforts.