Statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas Signs Research Agreements with Leading Research Programs Throughout Texas

CTNeT to facilitate collaboration between academic and community-based programs across Texas; streamlined operating model allows accelerated start-up

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas (CTNeT), a non-profit clinical trials network established to facilitate multi-institutional, collaborative cancer research, announced today that the organization has signed research agreements with 20 leading cancer research institutions and community-based oncology groups throughout Texas, including all four of the state’s National Cancer Institute designated Cancer Centers and Texas Oncology.

Established with an infrastructure grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), CTNeT will facilitate and promote unprecedented collaboration among cancer investigators in Texas to conduct biomarker-driven, phase II clinical trials needed to realize the potential of newer, more targeted therapies for cancer. This unique initiative will also improve access for Texans with cancer to these innovative, new approaches to treating cancer.

Leading the CTNeT management team is Dr. Charles E. Geyer, Jr., president and chief medical officer and an accomplished medical oncologist and clinical investigator. Dr. Geyer stated, “A critical barrier to the rapid conduct of biomarker driven clinical research has been the lack of large-scale programs offering state of the art, comprehensive analyses of cancers from patients with recurrent cancers to determine if their cancers contain the genetic abnormalities targeted with new agents in clinical trials. CPRIT funding has made it possible to establish such a program in Texas through collaborations with the Cancer Genetics Lab at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Cancer Research Biobank, another CPRIT-funded initiative.”

Biomarker driven clinical research requires screening of tumors from a large number of patients and multi-center trials are essential for successful conduct of these trials. However, numerous barriers exist to the rapid development and conduct of multi-institution collaborative studies. CTNeT has developed an efficient and scalable operational model to overcome these barriers. Key elements of the model include Master Clinical Trials and central IRB Reliance Agreements with each of the member sites.

“With its validated informatics platform for data capture, an AAHRPP-accredited (Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs) central IRB, centralized CLIA lab services and investigational drug distribution, CTNeT is positioned to substantially accelerate the pace of oncology clinical research," commented Patricia Winger, vice president and chief operating officer at CTNeT.

Dr. Waun Ki Hong, head of the Division of Cancer Medicine at the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center commented, “CTNeT will provide a unique mechanism for meaningful collaboration between academic cancer centers and investigators in community practices for the conduct of biomarker-driven clinical trials necessary to realize the potential of newer, more targeted therapies for cancer.” Dr. Hong added, “MD Anderson is pleased to be one of the founding institutions of this important initiative.”

Dr. Steven Paulson, chairman and president of Texas Oncology, also noted, “Community oncologists in Texas are strongly committed to bringing leading edge therapies to their patients through participation in innovative clinical trials. Participation in CTNeT will enhance our research programs and improve access of Texans with cancer to this exciting new area of cancer research."

“To see leading cancer research institutions and community-based cancer practices joining forces to enhance cancer research capabilities throughout the state is impressive,” added Dr. Rebecca Garcia, CPRIT’s chief prevention officer. “CPRIT shares the hope and promise of improving access to clinical trials for patients in Texas, and we look forward to new trials expected to be activated by CTNeT in the coming months.”

Dr. William Butler, chairman of the board of CTNeT and chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine observed, “This milestone provides clear evidence of the remarkable spirit of collaboration and enthusiasm among cancer researchers across Texas for this unique and important initiative. Member organizations of CTNeT have placed their institutional interests secondary to this important program and are to be commended.”

The following organizations have joined together to create the Statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas (CTNeT): Baylor College of Medicine; Cancer Care Centers of South Texas; The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders; Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers; The Methodist Hospital Research Institute; Oncology Consultants, PA; South Texas Oncology & Hematology (STOH) Research at the START Center; Scott & White Healthcare; Texas Children’s Cancer Center; Texas Oncology; Texas Tech Health Sciences Center; The UT Health Science Center at Houston; The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio; The UT Health Science Center at Tyler; The UT MD Anderson Cancer Center; The UT Medical Branch at Galveston and The UT Southwestern Medical Center.

About CTNeT

The Statewide Clinical Trials Network of Texas (CTNeT) is a non-profit oncology research network striving to create a cultural change in the way clinical cancer research is conducted. The organization was established with an infrastructure development grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and combines the innovative science of Texas’ cancer centers with the expertise and resources of academic and community oncologists throughout the state. The network members share in the vision of improving access for patients throughout Texas to clinical trials of promising new therapies that focus on targeting the genetic and related abnormalities that drive cancer. An initial trial of a novel agent in liver cancer is being activated and over the next few months a portfolio of trials will be activated in non-small cell lung cancer, along with trials in breast cancer, head and neck cancer and leukemia. To learn more about the organization, visit www.ctnet.org.

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