National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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NCCN to Host Policy Summit Exploring Emerging Issues in Tissue Allocation

Jessica K. DeMartino, PhD, Manager, Health Policy Programs, NCCN

On Monday, June 8, 2015, as part of its Oncology Policy Program, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) will host a Policy Summit: Emerging Issues in Tissue Allocation, at The National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Tissue allocation is a growing issue of concern for many clinical and translational investigators due in part to expanding research interests in molecular profiling. Indeed, over the past several years, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and other investigators have significantly increased their demand for access to tissue specimens collected through clinical care and clinical trials. Other emerging challenges in tissue allocation include: consent, ethical standards, legal issues, and costs. All stakeholders must recognize that human specimens, including tissue, represent a valuable and unique patient resource that must have proper acquisition and custodianship in accordance with best practices for biospecimen resources.

In March 2015, NCCN convened a Working Group consisting of 13 thought leaders in areas of clinical research, pathology, and ethics, including clinicians, pathologists, clinical and translational investigators, industry, patient advocacy groups, and institutional review boards. The Work Group was charged with identifying areas of concern and establishing conclusions to address emerging issues in tissue allocation. Findings and conclusions of the NCCN Tissue Allocation Work Group will be presented at the upcoming Policy Summit by Work Group members Daniel Sullivan, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Judith Carrithers, JD, MPA, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

The June Policy Summit will be a forum for stakeholders from across the oncology space to discuss the increasing demands on tissue and the subsequent impact on research and clinical care. The program, moderated by Clifford Goodman, PhD, The Lewin Group, will consist of short presentations and roundtable discussions. Topics for presentation and discussion include academic cancer centers’ tissue practices, tissue pre-analytic standards, diagnostic and research tissue uses, re-biopsy standards, and equitable tissue sharing. Presenters include Kenneth Bloom, MD, GE Healthcare, who will discuss efforts to establish pre-analytic standards; and Tom Flotte, MD, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and Veronique Neumeister, MD, Yale School of Medicine, who will discuss tissue practices at their respective academic cancer centers.

From the Work Group and Policy Summit, recommendations for best practices and standards in tissue allocation will be formulated and published as a white paper in JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in Fall 2015.

For more information or to register for the event, visit