UC Davis cancer center ranks first in clinical trials enrollment


(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) For the third year in a row, UC Davis Cancer Center ranked first among the 283 research institutions in the Southwest Oncology Group for the number of patients enrolled in cancer clinical trials. The cancer center and its affiliates enrolled 185 patients in SWOG trials between January and December 2003.

The Cancer Center also ranked eighth among the 250 research institutions in the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group for the number of patients enrolled in cancer clinical trials during the first quarter of this year.

"Advances in cancer treatment depend upon clinical trials," said Kelly Avery, clinical research administrator at UC Davis Cancer Center. "We're very proud of the number and variety of trials we have open, and with our ability to provide investigational treatments to cancer patients in our region."

Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the Southwest Oncology Group is one of the largest adult cancer clinical trials organizations in the world. Its membership consists of nearly 4,000 of the nation's leading physicians at 283 institutions throughout the United States and Canada.

The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, established nearly 30 years ago, comprises 250 major cancer research institutions in the United States and Canada. The group has 40 active clinical trials that involve radiation therapy either alone or in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy or both.

An individual cancer center rarely has the numbers of patients needed to determine whether a new cancer treatment is safe and effective. To solve this problem, the National Cancer Institute funds 12 cooperative research groups capable of conducting large, multi-center trials of investigational treatments. SWOG and RTOG are two of the largest of these cooperative groups.

UC Davis Cancer Center has one of the nation's most vigorous clinical trials programs. About 16 percent of new cancer patients seen at the Cancer Center participate in a clinical trial.

Nationally, less than 3 percent of adult cancer patients enroll in clinical trials each year, a rate that hasn't improved in more than two decades.

Low enrollment in clinical trials can prolong drug development and delay patient access to potentially beneficial new agents. The Cancer Leadership Council, Cancer Research Foundation of America, Coalition of National Cancer Cooperative Groups, Oncology Nursing Society and American Society of Clinical Oncology together have set a goal of doubling participation in cancer clinical trials nationwide over the next three to five years.

Cancer patients can learn more about clinical trials offered at UC Davis Cancer Center by calling 800-2-UCDAVIS or visiting the Web at http://www.ucdaviscancerclinicaltrials.org.

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