21st Century Oncology News

Community Clinical Partnership Creates Expanded Access to Cutting-Edge Cancer Care

Arizona Cancer Research Alliance Launches with Innovative Studies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Feb. 18, 2013 – Local oncologists and related clinical research specialists have partnered with Translational Research Management (TRM) to create a new, community-based physician coalition focused on cancer research: The Arizona Cancer Research Alliance (ACRA).

Today, ACRA announces the commencement of its first two collaborative studies in metro Phoenix and plans to launch 10 additional trials – set to enhance area access to investigational protocols and offer improved outcomes for patients.

Nationwide, community oncologists treat approximately 80 percent of cancer patients, and yet only a small portion of these physicians participate in clinical trials. In fact, of the 1.4 million cancer patients diagnosed each year, less than five percent ever participate in a research study.

To learn more about ACRA’s plans to increase availability of promising therapies and help define the direction of new treatments for patients, the media community is invited to an introductory meeting.

Arizona Cancer Research Alliance Kick Off

Thursday, Feb. 21

Press Conference: 4:30-5:00 p.m.

The Clarendon Hotel – Press Room

401 W. Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ  85013

Panel Discussion with lead physicians followed by Question & Answer Session and
Meet & Greet with healthcare community members.

ACRA is committed to opening a wide range of clinical trials designed to meet the needs of patients fighting the most common types of cancer. As the field of oncology moves toward personalized medicine, complex clinical trials will increasingly focus on select patient populations. The alliance provides an ideal setting to conduct these protocols, as they are unlikely to be feasible at any single site, regardless of size. ACRA currently includes 40 oncology professionals working at 17 certified research sites throughout the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Additionally, the alliance is contracted with 83 medical professionals (cardiologists, laboratory directors, interventional radiologists, radiologists and ophthalmologists) who are providing services at 53 locations.

Partners in Innovation

21st Century Oncology – the nation’s largest provider of radiation therapy and a foremost, advanced cancer services organization – is among the experts leading this effort. ACRA is also supported through TRM, which is responsible for ensuring rigorous compliance with international standards for the conduct of clinical trials.

“Bringing together the oncology community in this collaborative, multi-disciplinary fashion will mean additional care options for more patients diagnosed with cancer and discoveries leading to future innovation,” says Steven E. Finkelstein, M.D., Executive Director for ACRA, Board Certified Radiation Oncologist based in Scottsdale, and National Director of 21st Century Oncology’s research arm, the Translational Research Consortium (TRC).

Community partners also include the Arizona Molecular Imaging Center, Imaging Endpoints, Internist Oncologists, Palo Verde Cancer Specialists, Pinnacle Oncology Hematology, Southwest Hematology Oncology, Scottsdale Medical Imaging Laboratories and others.

“While it is true, we live in an era of revolutionary opportunities for advances in cancer care, historically clinical trials have been limited in scope and we now face an investigator shortfall,” explains Chris Beardmore, CEO of Translational Research Management. “After much hard work, ACRA creates an infrastructure to support physicians at the community practitioner level, allowing clinical trials to take place to provide benefit for physicians, patients, and improve our understanding of how to best treat cancer.”

Clinical Trials Summary

With two active trials and many more coming soon, ACRA hastens the movement towards offering patients customized medicine through evidence-based advancements.

The first clinical trial is a registry study in which participating breast cancer patients, having biopsies performed for clinical purposes, will have tissue genetically analyzed. The study team will then collect information about treatment choices (how oncologists have decided to treat their patients) and outcomes to determine whether the gene profiles can predict which patients are likely to respond to various treatments.

The second initial study is for patients with follicular lymphoma (the most common type of indolent non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the second-most-common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). The protocol is for patients whose cancer has disappeared following initial therapy and are at risk for their cancer reoccurring (coming back). Patients who consent to participate will receive Zevalin® (ibritumomab tiuxetan), a radiolabelled monoclonal antibody that targets cancer cells by “sticking” radiation to them, or continued treatment with Rituxan, to see which of these approaches best prevents disease recurrence. The study hopes to determine how a single Zevalin® treatment compares to weekly infusions of Rituxan.

About the Arizona Cancer Research Alliance (ACRA):

The Arizona Cancer Research Alliance (ACRA) is a community-based network for testing and validating medical interventions with the potential to diagnose, treat, ameliorate or cure cancer. ACRA is open to all physicians who want to integrate clinical trials into their practice. ACRA is designed to improve care for patients in Arizona by providing access to novel therapeutics, multi-disciplinary research and the rigorous implementation of clinical trials.

For more information on ACRA, visit www.trmllc.com/partners-in-research/arizona-cancer-research-alliance.