Poster Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

Building Clinical Trial Capability in Nascent Clinical Groups: Strategies and lessons learned (#227)

Jennifer Philip 1 , Mark Boughey 2 , Jennifer Weil 2 , Maria Coperchini 3 , Juli Moran 4 , Evelien Rosens 5 , Anne Woollett 5 , Brian Le 6
  1. University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, VIC, Australia
  2. St Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy , VIC, Australia
  3. Palliative Care, Western Health, Footscray, Victoria, Australia
  4. Palliative Care, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Vic, Australia
  5. Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic, Australia
  6. Palliative Care, Melbourne Health, Parkville, Vic, Australia

Patients enrolled in clinical trials, and cared for by health services which conduct clinical trials, have better outcomes. As part of a strategic goal to increase clinical trial accessibility for patients with cancer, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) sought to increase clinical trials capability in craft groups with significant clinical, but limited trial expertise. Palliative Care was targeted as one such group.

Aim: To increase clinical trial expertise and therefore patient access to clinical trials across VCCC palliative care services.

Method: Key areas for investment and attention were highlighted to establish this program:

  1. Infrastructure: initial financial investment to create time-limited positions to support trial establishment (research nurses, clinical trial fellows).
  2. Developing support / mentorship/training: cross pollination through experienced staff appointments; formal overarching mentoring of individuals and sites; establishment of a Scientific Committee to assess/advise on studies.
  3. Considered trial selection – deliberately grading study complexity to match site capability, with stepwise progression to more complex studies; establishing a mix of drug and non-drug studies.
  4. Sustainability: development of mixed trial portfolio ensuring adequate funded studies to offset investigator initiated studies; attention to funding models for palliative care studies with particular ‘front-loading’ to recruitment; training opportunities including establishing higher research degree positions.
  5. Measures of success: including both quantitative and qualitative outcomes.

Results: Early in the program a number of learnings are already evident including; the need for adequate time for contractual and financial negotiations; strong clinical relationships at inception facilitates negotiations and program adjustments; critical importance of a strong governance model; importance of baseline data; genuine enthusiasm as clinicians recognise the research opportunities offered by clinical trials.

Conclusion: The strategies and learning from this program of work will be available as a resource with application for the development of clinical trials in other nascent craft groups.