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The NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) is a national NCI-supported network that brings cancer prevention clinical trials and cancer care delivery research (CCDR) to people in their communities.
The NCORP network:
- designs and conducts cancer prevention, supportive care and symptom management, screening, and surveillance clinical trials;
- designs and supports health-related quality of life studies for patients on treatment trials;
- designs and conducts cancer care delivery research (CCDR) studies;
- participates in treatment and imaging clinical trials conducted by the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN); and
- integrates health disparities research questions into NCORP studies.
Other research areas include:
- natural history and mechanisms of cancer and its treatment-related symptoms and toxicities;
- post-treatment surveillance (such as tumor markers of recurrence, and optimal screening modalities);
- under- and over-diagnosis of cancer; and
- management of pre-cancerous lesions.
Research questions in this area address disparities in clinical trial outcomes and cancer care delivery related to the most serious, prevalent cancers and cancer-related problems which disproportionately affect racial/ethnic minorities and underserved populations. It includes studies to: enhance participation of racial/ethnic minorities and the underserved in clinical trials; address determinants of disparities (for example, social and health care system factors, co-morbidities, and genomics); and evaluate differential outcomes in minority/underserved populations.
The NCORP is housed in the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention, with collaboration by the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, and NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities.
NCORP is comprised of 7 Research Bases and 46 Community Sites, 12 of which are designated as Minority/Underserved Community Sites. NCORP MU Community Sites have a patient population comprised of at least 30% racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents.
The NCORP Research Bases are hubs for the network that design and spearhead the conduct of multi-center clinical trials and CCDR, and provide overall administration, data management, scientific and statistical leadership, operational processes and personnel, and regulatory compliance.
The NCORP Community Sites accrue patients and participants to NCI-approved cancer clinical trials and research studies. The Sites are consortia of researchers, public hospitals, physician practices, academic medical centers, and other groups that provide healthcare services in communities across the U.S.
Although cancer clinical research has traditionally been conducted at academic medical centers, most people receive cancer-related care in community settings. The NCORP network was formed to bring cancer research to larger and more diverse patient populations treated in a variety of "real-world" healthcare delivery settings.
This can accelerate accrual to clinical trials, allow for feasibility testing of promising new interventions in various care delivery systems, and increase the generalizability and relevance of study findings. Engaging community practices and health care providers in collaborative research also can facilitate the uptake of effective, evidence-based practices to improve the quality of care and health outcomes, and reduce cancer health disparities.
Interaction with Other NCI-supported Programs
The NCORP network works closely with other NCI-supported programs, including:
- National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) to provide treatment and imaging trial options and opportunities;
- Pediatric and adult Central Institutional Review Boards (CIRBs) to help reduce the burden on local IRBs while ensuring protection for human research participants;
- Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities to reduce the unequal burden of cancer and to train the next generation of researchers in cancer and health disparities;
- Advisory and scientific committees to ensure high-quality research studies through expert scientific review and oversight;
- Clinical trials tumor banks to provide researchers with high-quality biospecimens to inform future research; and
- Cancer Trials Support Unit to support the management and conduct of those clinical trials.