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Clinical Trial Sponsors

Government agencies, such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, sponsor and conduct clinical trials. In addition, organizations or individuals, including physicians, academic medical centers, foundations, volunteer groups, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, also sponsor cancer clinical trials.

NCI sponsors a large number of clinical trials each year, and it has developed a variety of programs to make cancer clinical trials widely available in the United States and elsewhere. These programs include the following:

Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program

The Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program, which brings researchers, cancer centers, and doctors together into cooperative research groups. These groups work with NCI to identify important questions in cancer research and to design and conduct clinical trials that involve patients at multiple locations to answer those questions. Cooperative groups are located throughout the United States and in Canada and Europe. For more information, refer to the fact sheet NCI’s Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/clinical-trials-cooperative-group.

Cancer Centers Program

The Cancer Centers Program, which provides support to research-oriented institutions that have been recognized as NCI-designated Cancer Centers or Comprehensive Cancer Centers because of their scientific excellence. More information is available through the program’s Web site at: http://cancercenters.cancer.gov.

Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP)

The Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), which makes clinical trials available in a large number of communities across the United States. Through the CCOP, local hospitals throughout the country affiliate with an NCI-designated Cancer Center or Clinical Trials Cooperative Group, which makes it easier for doctors at those hospitals to offer their patients participation in an NCI-sponsored clinical trial. Consequently, patients do not have to travel long distances or leave loved ones to take part in an NCI-sponsored trial. The Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (MBCCOP) focuses on encouraging minority populations to take part in cancer clinical trials. It is important for members of these populations to participate in cancer clinical trials to determine which cancer treatments are most effective for people with different ethnic and racial backgrounds. More information about the CCOP and MBCCOP can be found at: http://dcp.cancer.gov/programs-resources/programs/ccop.

NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP)

The NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP), which is a program testing the concept of a national network to expand cancer research and deliver the latest, most advanced cancer care to more Americans in their home communities. One of the goals of the NCCCP is to increase patient participation in clinical trials in community settings. More information about the NCCCP is available at the program’s Web site at: http://ncccp.cancer.gov.

Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs)

The Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs), which bring together scientists and researchers to design and implement research programs, including clinical trials, to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of specific types of cancer. More information about SPOREs is available at: http://spores.nci.nih.gov/.

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, which is a research hospital located in Bethesda, Maryland. Trials at the Clinical Center are conducted by the components of NIH, including NCI. The NCI fact sheet Clinical Trials Conducted by the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Cancer Research at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center has more information about the Clinical Center. This fact sheet is available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/clinical-center.

Adapted from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ Database: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Information/clinical-trials. (Accessed December 2010)