Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group
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The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) began in 1955 as one of the first publicly funded cooperative groups to perform multi-center clinical trials for cancer research. A cooperative group in oncology constitutes a large network of private and public medical institutions that work toward developing various protocols for effective cancer treatments. Institutional members include universities, medical centers, governments, and other cooperative groups. These institutions share the common goal of ultimately curing cancer. Research results are often provided to the worldwide medical community through scientific publications, but ECOG also works closely with the pharmaceutical industry to test potential cancer drugs.
According to ECOG's website, there are "more than 90 active clinical trials in all types of adult malignancies. Annual accrual is 6,000 patients, with more than 20,000 patients in follow-up."
Examples of ECOG clinical trials
- "A study that establishes an effective chemotherapy regimen in acute promyelocytic leukemia."
- "A study that demonstrated that a less-toxic regimen had similar results to the standard treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer."
- "A study that demonstrated that an intensive bone marrow transplant regimen for patients with metastatic breast cancer who responded to in initial standard chemotherapy did not improve time to disease progression or lifetime survival."
- "A study that establishes an effective treatment program involving chemotherapy and radiation therapy for early lung cancer."
The Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group has all of its protocol-driven cases reviewed at the Quality Assurance Review Center (QARC). As mandated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), every radiotherapy (RT) department participating in an ECOG study submits their data to QARC for review. QARC is located in Lincoln, Rhode Island and reviews thousands of RT cases per year. The center was founded in 1977 as a not-for-profit health care organization designed to provide quality assurance for CALGB studies. Radiotherapy data from around one-thousand hospitals in both the United States and abroad is reviewed and archived at QARC.
Another center for quality assurance is the Radiological Physics Center (RPC) in Houston, Texas. The primary responsibility of the RPC is to assure the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and its cooperative groups like ECOG that all participating institutions are following the basic guidelines regarding the physics-related aspects of radiotherapy. Established in 1968, the RPC has consistently received funding from the NCI in order to perform the aforementioned mission.
- Crystal Phend (March 24, 2008). "NCI-Sponsored Cancer Trials Offer Decent Clinical Return on Investment". MedPage Today. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
- "Introduction to ECOG". June 6, 2006. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013.