ACCC Launches Research Institute to Diversify Cancer Clinical Trials

The Association of Community Cancer Centers launched the ACCC Community Oncology Research Institute, which builds on the organization's mission to close the gap in cancer research through optimal community oncology partnerships.

The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) recently announced the launch of the ACCC Community Oncology Research Institute (ACORI), building on its existing mission to close the gap in cancer research through optimal community oncology partnerships.

ACORI works to establish clinical trials as a standard of care in treatment plans and to help achieve equitable cancer care delivery for all patients, according to a release.

The Institute evolved from ACCC's year-long examination of equity and access to clinical trials in the community under the direction of its Immediate Past President Randall A. Oyer, MD., who will lead the team of recognized multidisciplinary cancer team professionals.

"Communities belong in cancer research and cancer research belongs in the community," said Oyer. "Connecting community cancer centers through partnerships will help overcome persistent barriers that exist to conducting research in the community. Regardless of a cancer center's size, location, or resources, community oncology research cannot flourish on its own. Partnerships are needed between academic and research centers of excellence, other community integrated networks, and others working in all aspects of cancer research, most importantly, patients and community organizations who can bi-directionally inform research design and conduct. By sharing resources, we can help make any community oncology program research-ready."

The ACCC Community Oncology Research Institute is focused on three primary domains:

  1. Equity: We advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion with trial sponsors and regulatory agencies. The institute develops education and resources that promote strategies and solutions to achieve health equity, as we investigate persistent areas of disparities in cancer clinical trial participation.
  2. Capacity Building: ACORI utilizes ACCC know how to build capacity and competency among community research programs to make them research-ready, through the development of education and resources to democratize knowledge, skills, and infrastructure for clinical research. We will also facilitate mentorship opportunities between established and developing research programs and convene community oncology stakeholders for peer-to-peer learning, educational sessions, and networking.
  3. Research Diffusion: ACORI is a primary resource for academic and industry sponsors that fosters relationships with trial sponsors and other research groups. The Institute vets research and trial opportunities and disseminates pertinent opportunities to interested community oncology research programs.

As its foundational project, ACCC has collaborated with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to increase cancer clinical trial participation among patients from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. The two organizations are currently recruiting 40 oncology research programs to be part of a pilot testing a site assessment tool and/or an implicit bias training program. ACCC and ASCO are seeking a mix of small and large oncology programs from diverse regions around the country, and participating programs will receive a stipend. Interested programs may complete an application by June 11, 2021.