January 13, 2015

Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network receives new funding, launches online service to connect patients to clinical trials

TORONTO, ON (January 13, 2015) – Dr. Janet Dancey, Scientific Director of the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN), today announced that 3CTN has received funding support from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership), the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) and CancerCare Manitoba. These contributions are the first from 3CTN’s coalition of cancer research funding organizations. 3CTN is in the process of finalizing additional funding commitments.

The funding will be used to establish the Network’s sites at cancer centres conducting clinical trials across Canada. Network sites will receive financial support and other resources to be able to increase trials available to patients. Dancey also announced that 3CTN has also launched a new online service that will assist patients and clinicians in finding cancer clinical trials that may be of benefit.

“This funding is great news for Canada’s cancer clinical trials infrastructure, which is essential for bringing the most promising therapies and technologies to the clinic,” says Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of OICR. “Connecting patients to clinical trials is important in moving the science forward, but also allows us to provide avenues of treatment for those patients who have exhausted standard treatment options.”

3CTN is a pan-Canadian initiative to improve patient access to trials and the efficiency and quality of clinical trials activities in Canada. Its aim is to provide support and coordination for a network of teams at cancer treatment centres and hospitals and enable the sites to increase their capacity and capability to conduct academic trials and increase access for patients to participate in trials.

Seven Network Regional Coordinating Centres and 15 Network Cancer Centres will be established by 3CTN with the funding. In the future 3CTN will expand to include many Network Affiliated Cancer Centres. Currently 3CTN has 229 clinical trials in its portfolio including 60 pediatric trials, with more to be added as they are ready to be opened for patients. These academic trials supported by 3CTN reflect the priorities of clinicians, researchers, patients, ministries of health and funders.

“Connecting cancer patients with clinical trials may help to improve their chances of better treatment and outcomes, two key elements of Canada’s national cancer strategy. By strengthening the environment for cancer clinical trials in our country, 3CTN will improve the quality of cancer care for all Canadians,” says Ms. Shelly Jamieson, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

“With approximately 24,000 individuals diagnosed with breast cancer each year, the investment by CBCF to 3CTN reflects our commitment to bring new breast cancer treatments to patients sooner. Supporting the breast cancer clinical research community is critical for ensuring that innovative Canadian research has an opportunity to improve outcomes and the quality of life for all Canadians affected by breast cancer,” says Ms. Sandra Palmaro, Co-CEO Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

The funding contribution from CancerCare Manitoba comes as the Government of Manitoba highlighted supporting academic clinical trials as a priority in its Speech from the Throne on November 20, with the specific goal of increasing patient participation in clinical trials.

“Ontario is thrilled that organizations from across Canada have come together to fund this important initiative. This network will give researchers the ability to bring life-saving innovations into cancer centres sooner and offer more patients the opportunity to join clinical trials. Both may lead to better treatments and healthier outcomes for people in Ontario and around the world,” says Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation.