By Jennifer Hinkel, eBulletin Editor-in-Chief
Through the NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP), a number of investigators at NCCN Member Institution cancer centers are collaborating in a Phase II study examining the use of cetuximab in recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell cancer. The study was initiated as a collaboration among NCCN, ImClone Systems Incorporated, and Bristol-Myers Squibb as a multi-institutional, investigator-initiated study. As part of this collaboration, participating investigators from among the NCCN Member Institutions will be using a tool developed by Within3, an online professional networking site for clinicians.
“We are excited about this opportunity to facilitate communication between our investigators as we move forward with the cetuximab study,” said Diane E. Paul, Vice President, Oncology Research Program, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). “By providing an online community for our multi–institutional research team, we can collaborate and share current information despite geographic distances and time zones. It will enable us to streamline our workflow process which will enhance and accelerate not just this study, but all of our clinical trials moving forward.”
The Within3 tool will allow participating investigators to collaborate and to interact with features including discussion boards, a directory of clinicians, and videos for trial recruitment and trial protocols. The site also has a feature to allow blogging, so that participants can easily communicate with one another about the progress of the study. With the growth of online communities for purposes such as social networking and business collaboration, the application of such technologies in advancing scientific cooperation and sharing research is becoming more apparent. Using this online tool will give investigators in different cancer centers the opportunity to share information rapidly with each other, including updates regarding study recruitment and progress.
“When groups of health professionals are able to collaborate in a convenient and secure fashion, real improvements in healthcare are achievable. Within3 allows health professionals to come together in online community–based settings to accomplish real work in the advancement of medicine,” said Lance Hill, CEO of Within3.
The NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) facilitates all phases of clinical research by identifying clinical investigators and initiating trials at NCCN Member Institutions. The ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at 21 of the world’s leading cancer centers and helps to establish collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer. More information on the NCCN ORP