February 23, 2007

VICC: Clinical trials crucial weapon in cancer war

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Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D.

VICC: Clinical trials crucial weapon in cancer war

Before a discovery in the laboratory can become a treatment available to millions of patients, it must go through rigorous clinical trials. Among the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center's achievements is its role in innovative, investigator-initiated trials with the greatest impact for patients.

Its investigators have played important roles in development of a number of treatments — both traditional and new “targeted” agents — that are now approved therapies, gemcitabine, oxaliplatin, bevacizumab and erlotinib among them.

Through the leadership of Mace Rothenberg, M.D., and Alan Sandler, M.D., Vanderbilt-Ingram has become one of a select few centers tapped by the NCI with formal agreements to conduct Phase I and Phase II trials.

"A lot of institutions do clinical trials well," said Jordan Berlin, M.D., associate professor of Medicine. "What Vanderbilt does very well is not just to try new drugs, but to integrate what we learn in the lab with the clinical trials. This method of performing 'translational science' is really the future of cancer research, and we have been doing it for years."

Vanderbilt-Ingram is also a founding member of the Oncore Consortium (Oncology Collaborative Research Environment), a partnership of leading centers that provides a secure Web-based information system to integrate data management, study administration and financial management.