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Clinical Trials Methodology Group and Ontario Clinical Oncology Group

The Clinical Trials Methodology Group (CTMG), led by Dr. Mark Levine, is a large academic-based clinical trials development organization. This unit provides methodologic resources to design, conduct and analyze clinical trials, creates an environment that is attractive to young researchers and provides mentorship to young researchers at the JCC and other cancer centres in Ontario. It works with networks of clinician investigators locally, in Canada and abroad and is comprised of more than 40 individuals including methodologists, statisticians, data management staff and clinician researchers who focus their work in the areas of cancer, and venous thrombosis (blood clots). It is affiliated with McMaster University's Department of Oncology and is located in the Henderson Research Centre.

The Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG) is supported by Cancer Care Ontario and is responsible for developing and coordinatng cancer clinical trials throughout Ontario's regional cancer centres and Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.

Focus of OCOG Trials:

Over the years, OCOG has conducted randomized trials which address questions on optimizing existing therapies and how best to incorporate them into clinical practice. The aim is to improve patient outcomes such as quality of life, tumour response and survival.

One area of focus is radiation therapy. In OCOG's first trial in the 1980s, women who had undergone lumpectomy for node negative breast cancer were randomized to breast irradiation or no therapy. The study showed that radiation substantially reduced the risk of recurrent cancer in the breast. As a result, radiation therapy with lumpectomy became standard practice in Ontario. In the next trial led by Dr. Tim Whelan in women with node negative breast cancer who had undergone lumpectomy, a novel 3-week radiation regimen was compared to the usual 5-week regimen. Results showed that there was no loss of efficacy with a shorter treatment and it became standard for most women in Ontario and Canada.

 

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