May 30, 2017
Within ASCO’s mission to conquer cancer through research, education, and promotion of high-quality patient care, the Society has begun to conduct its own research to support and advocate for both its members and their patients. ASCO has played an increasingly important role in the cancer research landscape through its State of Cancer Care in America report, Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study, and Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) data analysis, among other initiatives. To continue to develop its research endeavors and share data and findings more broadly with the cancer community, ASCO has created the Center for Research and Analytics (CENTRA).
Led by Chief Medical Officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO, CENTRA will serve as a hub for ASCO’s data, research, and related analyses. Elizabeth Garrett-Mayer, PhD, will serve as CENTRA’s division director of biostatistics and data management. Before joining ASCO, Dr. Garrett-Mayer served as the director of biostatistics for Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina and a professor of biostatistics in the university’s Department of Public Health Sciences. Previously, she spent several years as an instructor and assistant professor in the Biostatistics and Oncology Departments at Johns Hopkins University, where she received her PhD in biostatistics.
CENTRA’s cornerstones will be ASCO’s current research projects, including the State of Cancer Care in America report, the TAPUR study, the ASCO Practice Census, the Research Community Forum, and ASCO’s quality programs. CENTRA will also play an integral role in conducting health services research to understand the cancer care landscape and build an evidence base to support ASCO’s policy and advocacy priorities; these data will help ASCO advocate more effectively on behalf of its members and their patients. CENTRA also plans to work with the ASCO Cancer Research Committee to determine priority questions that can be investigated through observational research (using CancerLinQ® data or other data sources) or prospective pragmatic clinical trials, such as TAPUR.
CENTRA also has a goal to centralize ASCO’s considerable data assets, both to enable more thorough analysis across programs and to make those data assets available to the external research community. CENTRA has established a central review process for investigators who are seeking access to ASCO’s data assets for research projects—which could include conducting research in collaboration with ASCO.
CENTRA will also support the work of many ASCO volunteers including the Cancer Research Committee, the Research Community Forum, the Workforce Advisory Group, and the TAPUR Steering Group, Molecular Tumor Board, Publications Group, and Data and Safety Monitoring Board.
ASCO recognizes the potential value of its data assets and its growing expertise in conducting research. Making these resources available to ASCO members and other organizations will help support the Society’s efforts to improve cancer care. ASCO is excited to contribute to the cancer research landscape and foster collaboration in this new way.