National Comprehensive Cancer Network

About NCCN

Medtronic To Support New Research Effort by NCCN Network of Cancer Centers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, October 14, 1999 - Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) today announced that they are partnering in an effort to shed light on a key concern of cancer patients and their families: the best way to control cancer pain while preserving patients` quality of life.

Medtronic will provide up to $525,000 in a three-year agreement to support the development and expansion of the NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database. The NCCN database will provide information about various pain therapies administered under the network`s cancer pain treatment guidelines to facilitate comparisons of techniques and outcomes. Cancer pain management in the United States ranges from the use of oral medications, to intravenous (IV) therapy, to advanced pain therapies such as intrathecal administration of opioids. Initial data from this first-of-its-kind national database is expected in about 18 months (April 2001).

The American Cancer Society expects more than 1.2 million cases of cancer to be diagnosed in 1999, and that approximately 30 to 50 percent of these patients will experience pain. A larger percentage - between 75 and 90 percent - of patients with advanced cancer will experience pain as a result of their cancer or its treatment.

The NCCN database will compile information on such patients` pain and quality of life before, during and after cancer therapy. The database also will collect and analyze data on how physician practices adhere to the updated version of NCCN guidelines for the management of cancer pain and how patients benefit from the provision of a range of pain therapies.

Studies have targeted undertreatment of pain as a significant problem in cancer care. When measured against standards set forth by the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and the World Health Organization, one study found that nearly half (46 percent) of cancer patients were undertreated with respect to use of analgesics. Another study suggested that the problem is worse in minority cancer patients, with 60 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics undertreated for pain.

In many instances, oncologists and patients are just beginning to fully realize and access the range of available cancer pain treatment options. A recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) survey noted that there are still critical gaps in the treatment of cancer patients at the end of life. The survey of 3,300 oncologists indicated that they are eager for increased physician education and access to palliative care services to help provide cancer pain relief for their patients.

The NCCN, established in 1995, is a coalition of 17 leading U.S. cancer treatment centers. Its Oncology Practice Guidelines, furnished to health care providers and health maintenance organizations, are steadily becoming the standard clinical policy for the care of more than 90 percent of all cancers. Its database now includes information about more than 2,000 cancer patients.

Since its introduction in 1991, the Medtronic SynchroMed® implantable drug infusion system has been used to deliver controlled doses of pain medication to the intrathecal space of the spine.

Scott Ward, vice president and general manager of Drug Delivery in Medtronic Neurological and Spinal, noted his company`s long interest in patients` quality-of-life issues. "Certainly the effective treatment of cancer must be the highest priority. But we are pleased that the NCCN shares our interest in also focusing on pain management and the improvement of patients` quality of life during the treatment process."

"This agreement with Medtronic affirms the critical importance of the NCCN`s Oncology Outcomes Database. It also reflects our shared commitment to the highest quality of cancer care through excellence in research and the collection and analysis of outcomes data," said William T. McGivney, Ph.D. and chief executive officer of NCCN.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital