NIH Press Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Cancer Institute

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Friday, March 27, 1998
12:00 PM CST

Caroline McNeil
NCI Press Office
(301) 496-6641

Linn Meyer
American College of Surgeons
(312) 202-5311

American College of Surgeons and National Cancer Institute
Announce Funding of Clinical Trials Project

The American College of Surgeons and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will announce on March 27 that the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACoSOG) has received funding to conduct multicenter cooperative group trials in surgical oncology. The announcement is being made at the annual meeting of the Society of Surgical Oncology in San Diego, Calif.

In cancer research, cooperative groups are networks of medical centers around the country that conduct studies jointly. ACoSOG is the first new cooperative group sponsored by the NCI in 18 years and the only one to focus on surgery.

The primary goal of the ACoSOG is to evaluate surgical therapies in the management of patients with malignant solid tumors. Initially studied will be patients with the most common tumors, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer. The trials will also evaluate selected new operations, technology, and instrumentation as they are introduced into clinical practice. In addition, the ACoSOG will perform trials that are based on new basic science discoveries, such as the evaluation of new molecular markers in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer and the role of interventional therapy in patients who are found to have a genetic predisposition for cancer.

The American College of Surgeons is the largest organization of surgeons in the world and has a broad geographic distribution of more than 62,000 members. Large numbers of general surgeons and surgical specialists from both academic medical centers and the private practice community will be participating in the clinical trials.

The grant of approximately $3.7 million per annum will support the trials program. The majority of the administrative staff will be housed at the College's headquarters in Chicago. Preliminary work for the clinical trials project is currently under way.

In commenting on the clinical trials project, Samuel A. Wells, Jr., M.D., FACS, principal investigator of the grant, said: "The American College of Surgeons is grateful to the NCI for supporting the ACoSOG. The establishment of this cooperative clinical trials group provides an excellent opportunity for surgeons of all disciplines to design and conduct clinical trials that will comparatively evaluate surgical therapies in patients with cancer. We expect strong support from surgeons in this country and abroad."

Richard Klausner, M.D., director of the NCI, noted that progress in the war against cancer must include advances in laboratory research, cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. "This collaborative effort with the American College of Surgeons will help ensure that new surgical approaches can be evaluated for both diagnosis and treatment," he said.

Robert Wittes, M.D., head of NCI's Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, added that clinical studies are crucial in efforts to find better ways of treating cancer. "We look forward to working with the American College of Surgeons to enroll more physicians and patients in clinical trials," he said.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery; its achievements have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients.

The NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the federal government's primary agency for cancer research.

For more information about cancer visit NCI's Website for patients, public and the mass media at http://rex.nci.nih.gov or NCI's main website at http://www.nci.nih.gov.