Jefferson Cancer Network Establishes Jefferson Oncology Group
The Jefferson Cancer Network (JCN) has established the Jefferson Oncology Group (JOG), a cooperative program among the network members to enhance clinical and translational cancer research, including clinical trial development.
"We want the best opportunity to develop a mechanism in which clinical trials can be done in a true partnership among network members," says Walter Curran Jr., MD, Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology and Clinical Director of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center. In establishing, JOG, JCN "has grown to create an infrastructure to expand clinical and translational research." The latter focuses on bringing laboratory research to the bedside.
Ready to conduct independent research
"We anticipate that 20,000 patients are diagnosed with cancer each year in the network, and we believe that we have the critical mass to do independent research without the help of other organizations," says Dr. Curran, who will be Clinical Director of JOG.
Dr. Curran explains that several multiinstitutional, national cooperative groups currently exist to conduct clinical trials. "Most people believe that research must be national to be conclusive," he says. "We think we've reached the critical size and capability to do some conclusive trials on our own."
Linking patients, basic science for translational research
"We believe that with the research centers at Kimmel Cancer Center and at Lankanau Medical Research Center, we can link these 20,000 patients with the basic science at these sites for translational research," Dr. Curran says. "To compete for funding for clinical trials, we need the appropriate infrastructure and technology in place. JOG will have the resources to compete for funding from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society."
JOG, which will be headquartered at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, will help establish a JCN identity with industry. "Previously, each JCN member had to independently participate in a trial. Now, we can go collectively with an idea, say for treating metastatic breast cancer, and obtain support to conduct trials collectively," Dr. Curran explains. In addition, JOG will also enhance communication among member institutions, the community physicians, and "help meet our goal of increasing participation in clinical trials." Trials will be overseen by a single, centralized institutional review board.
JOG will also help establish a regional identity, he notes. Some similar regional oncology groups do exist, such as the Hoosier Oncology Group in Indiana, and the Piedmont Oncology Group centered at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.
According to Dr. Curran, the establishment of JOG will provide growth opportunities for several network services, including Jefferson's Cancer Prevention and Control Program and the Laboratory of Applied Computing, which has already provided the network with unique videoconferencing and communications capabilities for network members to consult with Jefferson cancer specialists.
Jefferson Cancer Network members
The Jefferson Cancer Network members include the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Lankanau Hospital, Bryn Mawr Hospital, duPont Hospital for Children, Grand View Hospital, Kimmel Cancer Center's Radiation Oncology Program at Chestnut Hill, Kimmel Cancer Center's Radiation Oncology Program at Lower Bucks, Mercy Community Hospital, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia, Methodist Hospital, Riddle Memorial Hospital, Underwood Memorial Hospital and Wills Eye Hospital.