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Former Directors' joint statement regarding US requirements

Importance of CCTG linkage with the US National Cancer Institute and National Clinical Trials Network
Former Directors joint statement

CCTG former Directors joint statement regarding US requirements for identity proofing and multi-factor authentication

We, the three former Directors' of the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) Clinical Trials Group, now the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), are issuing this statement to emphasize the importance of our Group’s linkage with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and to share our observations of the extraordinary benefits that our Group and Canadian patients and investigators have derived through our relationship with the US NCI and the NCTN.

This relationship took time to build. CCTG was originally limited to conducting trials within Canada. Over time, after the development of our Investigational New Drug (IND) Program and attendant quality assurance measures, the NCI Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) agreed that CCTG could participate in Intergroup trials led by a US group, and later, that we could lead such Intergroup studies ourselves. Beginning in the late 1990s, we were allowed to compete for and received funding from the NCI, which has become essential to our Group’s mission.

Since then, the Group’s involvement in North American academic trials has steadily increased, as has the proportion of the CCTG’s core funding that comes from the US NCI. As CCTG Director Dr. Janet Dancey’s recent message indicates, engagement with the US cooperative group system has allowed us to conduct and participate in many trials that have influenced cancer care internationally. Currently, Canadian cancer trials experts are contributing members of NCI committees that develop and review critical clinical trials proposals that can result in benefit for our patients. This engagement is integral to CCTG’s mission and scientific agenda and in providing leadership opportunities for our Canadian scientific leaders.

If enough numbers of investigators and research staff do not agree to act in accordance with US government requirements for secure identification, they and CCTG will be unable to continue as a member of NCTN. A critically important component of the Group’s overall program, steadily built and expanded over the last 30+ years, would be lost. Of equal or greater concern to us is the impact this development could have on Canadian cancer patients whose opportunities to access clinical trials would be significantly diminished. Furthermore, this loss could affect the perspectives of CCTG’s other core funders – the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canada Foundation for Innovation – as they could conclude that a diminished program no longer merits their support. Thus, the fate of CCTG, a national resource, could be at stake. We therefore strongly encourage you to take the necessary steps to ensure CCTG’s continued participation in NCI-supported trials. 

Sincerely and jointly,

Dr Joseph Pater
Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauer
Dr. Ralph Meyer