ASCO Research Community Forum Holds 2017 Annual Meeting, Explores Advancing Cancer Care through Research Partnerships

October 3, 2017

The ASCO Research Community Forum (RCF) Annual Meeting — a unique event that brings together researchers and staff from cancer research sites across the country to discuss challenges and identify best practices in conducting and managing clinical trials — was held September 24-25. Recognizing that collaboration in cancer research is critical to the delivery of the highest quality cancer care to patients, the theme of this year’s meeting was Advancing Cancer Care through Research Partnerships.

Established in 2010, the ASCO RCF works to support clinical research sites. Each year, the Forum’s Annual Meeting brings together ASCO leaders, regulatory experts, physician investigators, and research staff to examine current barriers in research and identify actionable solutions to overcome challenges and ultimately enhance patient enrollment in cancer studies. The 2017 meeting was the Forum’s largest Annual Meeting to date with nearly 120 attendees participating in this unique opportunity to network, collaborate, and hear from leaders in the cancer research field.

New to the RCF Annual Meeting this year, the meeting kicked off with two hands-on workshops on September 24. The first focused on how to address common challenges associated with insurance coverage for patients participating in clinical trials. This workshop provided strategies and tools to help with assessing clinical trial insurance coverage, preventing coverage denials, and navigating the appeals process. ASCO Chief Medical Officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO, and RCF Council Chair-elect Edward S. Kim, MD, lead the second workshop, which examined molecular and precision medicine trials and their role in advancing cancer care and cancer research, including a discussion of ASCO’s TAPUR trial.

Following opening remarks on day two of the meeting by ASCO RCF Council Chair Dax Kurbegov, MD, and ASCO Chief Executive Office Clifford Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, ASCO President-elect Monica Bertagnolli, MD, delivered the keynote address on the value of research partnerships in making progress in cancer care. In her address, Dr. Bertagnolli emphasized the importance of building a research environment that allows researchers to effectively work together, including improving data sharing. “Think about it, if you can really understand and share data across our entire research community, how much benefit that brings to the individual – not only the patients but the providers,” said Dr. Bertagnolli. She pointed to efforts such as ASCO’s CancerLinQ to illustrate how partnerships across cancer research and clinical practice can help advance patient care. She also noted how real-world data sharing and utilization in research could help to fill current knowledge gaps and generate insights beyond the three percent of patients who participate in cancer clinical trials.

Additional presentations included the impact of recent and impending regulatory and policy changes on cancer research; overcoming administrative and regulatory burdens related to adverse events reporting, coverage analyses, trial approval and activation processes, and trial amendment processing, among others; building strategic partnerships; and leveraging community experiences to generate cancer insights. Participants engaged in breakout sessions to discuss specific challenges and priorities of the research community as a whole. Proposals from these breakout sessions will help shape ASCO and the Forum’s efforts and activities in the coming year.

The 2018 ASCO Research Community Forum Annual Meeting will be held September 23-24, 2018, at ASCO headquarters just outside of Washington, DC. Learn more about the Forum and access free, helpful tools and resources developed by the Forum, including the ASCO Research Program Quality Assessment Tool, ASCO Clinical Trial Workload Assessment Tool, and a Clinical Trial Resource Library. Keep an eye on the RCF Annual Meeting web page for updates and announcements on the 2018 RCF Annual Meeting.