At a European and a global level, EORTC has an active portfolio of collaborative studies with other clinical research networks. There are many reasons for such partnerships, ranging from accessing specific expertise to increasing the number of investigational sites and patients.
These collaborative clinical trials, or ‘intergroup’ trials, are managed following clear processes and guidelines which take into account European legal requirements and the policies of major cancer research groups outside Europe (such as NCI). These principles are described in the EORTC intergroup policy, and they aim to guarantee high levels of quality and facilitate coordination. A Steering Committee, including representatives from all participating groups, decides on the scientific content of each trial and possible future uses of the material, data and results.
For these trials, the group taking the initiative is referred to as the “leading group” and each group joining as a “joining group”. The preferred model is to have one protocol and one database, located with the leading group. So EORTC HQ acts as the coordinating centre when one of its groups is leading, centrally managing the data from all collaborating groups for consistent updates and validation.
EORTC also manages the European logistics and legal aspects all trials. Thanks to a large number of collaborations with European and overseas cancer clinical research groups, we have broad expertise in this.
EORTC has established intergroup cooperation with national groups in Europe and globally, notably with US-based NCCN , the Canadian Cancer Trial Group , the Korean Cancer Study Group, The Japan Clinical Oncology Group and various Australia-based groups.
The EORTC intergroup clinical trial portfolio represents about 50-60% of clinical trials and is more or less evenly split between trials that EORTC leads and joins. So we consider these kinds of partnerships crucial to patients.