March 17, 2009 – The National Cancer Institute extended its cooperative group agreement with the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group for an additional six years and awarded the group $60.5 million to carry out its research that involves brain tumors, head and neck cancer, and genitourinary cancer.
RTOG has received 36 years of continuous funding from the NCI and this award will sustain the group’s efforts until 2014. RTOG is the leading national multicenter clinical trials organization dedicated to testing novel radiotherapy and combined modality approaches in pursuit of improving the survival and quality of life of patients with cancer. RTOG is administered by the American College of Radiology.
RTOG’s other major scientific research areas were rated as excellent: gastrointestinal cancer, lung cancer, advanced technology integration, health services and outcomes research, and translational research. The panel highlighted several of the group’s accomplishments including: a reduction in local recurrence with the use of chemoradiotherapy for patients with advanced head and neck cancer; an increase in survival for patients with advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma; a 33 percent improvement in survival for patients with a single brain metastasis; a clarification of the benefit of adding cisplatin to 5-FU, mitomycin C, and radiotherapy for anal canal cancer; a definition of the role of surgery in N2 lung cancer; and the establishment of a standard of care for bone metastases at a single high dose of radiation therapy.
“The strength and breadth of RTOG’s recent investigations and its innovative plans for future research is a testimony to the dedication, creativity, and intellectual rigor of our member investigators,” said Walter J. Curran, Jr., the RTOG Group Chair and principal investigator of this award. “For over 40 years RTOG has set the standard for radiation therapy-related research both in the U.S. and internationally. NCI’s award of the maximum term of funding is a validation of our research,” stated Curran, who is the Lawrence W. Davis Professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the Emory School of Medicine and chief medical officer of the Emory Winship Cancer Institute.
The NCI cooperative clinical research grant will help fund RTOG’s roster of 37 clinical trials open to patient enrollment at over 300 major research institutions in the United States, Canada and internationally. The award supports the group’s headquarters and statistical center in Philadelphia and helps to defray the cost of patient enrollment at RTOG’s member sites.