2019 ASCO Research Community Forum (RCF) Annual Meeting Helps Researchers Overcome Key Barriers to Improve the Process of Conducting Clinical Trials

October 1, 2019

Researchers from around the country joined together for two days of learning and collaboration at ASCO’s headquarters in the greater DC metro area for the 2019 ASCO Research Community Forum (RCF) Annual Meeting. On September 22-23, 2019, experts in the field led timely presentations and discussions that coincided with the meeting’s theme of Working Smarter. Working Together.

Day-one began with a training workshop focused on audit readiness and how to be prepared when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls. On the panel of presenters was Aisha Peterson Johnson, MD, MPH, MBA, from the FDA Office of Compliance, who provided unique perspectives on clinical investigator inspections. Her presentation shared information about everything from how a site is chosen, to the documents an inspector will have in-hand at the inspection. The presentation continued with a situational exercise to learn how to navigate the process with experienced research site leaders. A toolkit of resources was developed to accompany the workshop and will be made available online. The day concluded with a Town Hall led by a panel that encompassed the perspectives of patients, research sites, trial sponsors, and regulators.

Day-two started with a Keynote Address from FDA Oncology Center of Excellence Director, Richard Pazdur, MD. Dr. Pazdur recounted his 40-year journey in cancer medicine and shared highlights of his professional career and personal life, including his fellowship in oncology, his time at MD Anderson, and his decision to join the FDA in 1999. His address guided attendees through the immense progress the field has made and the evolution of the FDA and its role in cancer care. This was followed by a question and answer segment that addressed how industry and government can work together, how researchers can push the field forward, and discussed the issue of cost in oncology care.

The day continued with several timely sessions. One focused on leveraging technology to conduct clinical trials more effectively. The session led by Dax Kurbegov, MD, past Chair of the ASCO RCF Steering Committee, explored the use of technology to improve clinical trial implementation and accrual in a range of research settings. This was followed by a session on team-based approaches to clinical trial accrual led by incoming Chair, Greg Nowakowski, MD. The discussion explored innovative strategies to improve patient accrual to clinical trials by improving access and increasing patient and physician engagement, particularly in rural areas. Day two also included discussions on staffing and workload management strategies and a town hall discussing the future of clinical trials and how sites can prepare.

Those involved in oncology clinical trials can access resources shared at the meeting, including the Audit Readiness Toolkit, year-round through the ASCO RCF online forum at myConnection.asco.org/RCF. This platform offers a network of those working on trials throughout the country who are eager to connect and collaborate with peers. The materials and resources shared at this year’s meeting will be available on the myConnection page.

This new online community will provide a venue for physician investigators and research staff who are conducting and managing clinical trials to:

  • Engage and network
  • Share best practices
  • Access resources
  • Learn more about the ASCO RCF and its initiatives

The online forum features discussion boards, a resource library, and other features to connect online forum members. The ASCO RCF’s tools and resources are designed to support cancer research sites in all settings with conducting and managing their research programs. Community-based research sites and large academic centers have taken advantage of these unique tools. The ASCO RCF online forum includes toolkits and other resources to facilitate the conduct and management of clinical trials, as well as information on the ASCO RCF’s latest resources.

To access the forum:

  • Visit the ACSO Research Community Forum page on myConnection and enter your ASCO.org username/password.
  • Click “Join” in the settings (next to the Research Community Forum title).
  • You will be able to decide how you would like to receive messages for this discussion group.

Be sure to introduce yourself by posting a short bio and saying hello in the “Introduce Yourself” discussion thread.

Contact ASCO RCF staff at researchcommunityforum@asco.org if you need assistance or have any questions about the online community.