Our trials are unique because they are investigator-initiated—conceptualized by practicing physicians, not by pharmaceutical companies. As such, these trials represent an incredibly important sector of cancer research. Because medical, radiation and surgical oncologists are deeply familiar with both the latest research and stark realities of cancer, they are an unrivaled source of ideas for novel approaches to treatments.
The Brown University Oncology Research Group (BrUOG) is the principle mechanism for oncology clinical trials at the Alpert Medical School. This regional consortium of Brown-affiliated hospitals allows hematologists, oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and others to develop investigator-initiated clinical trials. These studies are conceived and designed by faculty at member institutions. They provide cutting-edge applications of chemotherapeutic agents, biologic agents, and other treatment modalities. Such innovative studies lay the groundwork for larger nationwide studies under the auspices of cooperative clinical trials groups.
Clinical trials are available for a broad range of disorders in hematology/oncology and these include treatment for cancers of the breast, brain, lung, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and prostate as well as trials in leukemia and lymphoma. Many of these trials utilize novel therapeutic agents or new combinations of treatments in an effort to improve treatment.
In addition to protocols coordinated by BrUOG, patients at our hospitals also have access to a large variety of other clinical trials through national cooperative groups such as Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) and the Radiation Treatment Oncology Group (RTOG). Only through the resources of such large organizations can such randomized trials of cancer therapy take place. Pharmaceutical industry-sponsored trials of novel agents are also available. Sponsorship for clinical trials is derived from the National Cancer Institute and from numerous pharmaceutical industry sponsors.