E-Newsletter - December 2015

Message from the Group | Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD
An Exciting and Productive Year! 

The past year has been an exciting and productive one for our group. Perhaps the most gratifying is a substantial increase in accrual to Alliance studies – a 25 percent increase over last year! Publications, which represent the final product of all our efforts, remain strong, and our committees continue to produce exciting new study designs addressing a wide spectrum of cancer treatment, control, and translational research concerns. At our 2015 Fall Group Meeting, we highlighted three trials that represent our current approach to accomplishing our research mission. The first was a treatment trial, ACOSOG Z6052, phase III, randomized clinical trial of laparoscopic-assisted resection for rectal cancers. The next trial was CALGB 70807, the Men’s EAting and Living (MEAL) study, which is a randomized trial of diet to alter disease progression in prostate cancer patients on active surveillance. These two trials, conducted through the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), illustrate the great importance of National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded research, which is the only mechanism available to answer essential questions of this type. The third study was the PALbociclib CoLlaborative Adjuvant Study (PALLAS) trial, which examines the role of a CDK4/6 inhibitor, palbociclib, in improving outcomes for patients receivingadjuvant treatment of breast cancer. Led by the Alliance Foundation Trials (AFT) operations team, this study is a great example of collaboration between the AFT, PreCOG, the NSABP Foundation, the Austrian Breast Cancer Study Group, the Breast International Group and Pfizer, Inc. This international effort represents an exciting expansion of AFT scientific and operational capabilities.

On a personal note, I want to extend my sincere thanks to the staff and researchers who give so much to the Alliance. We are all so busy, and unable to fulfill all of the demands upon our time. We therefore make choices each day to put our efforts toward tasks of highest priority. Alliance is often asking for your time, and we would not be in the outstanding situation we find ourselves in today without the incredibly generous commitment of our members and staff. I recently commented upon the extraordinary culture of the Alliance to Deb Schrag, an Alliance member and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) colleague, and received the following reply:

“My sense is that working in the cooperative groups these days is a labor of love and dedication. It is not a recipe for fame, fortune or any kind of personal glory—only more emails to answer. It is a community service activity and the folks who do it, do it because they are truly invested in making a difference, in inspiring the next generation, and because they are team players. The one thing of great value that being involved does bring is respect from like-minded colleagues that you care about.”

We are glad that you are Alliance members, and hope that you enjoy both the work and the fellowship that Alliance membership entails!


For other articles in the December issue of the Alliance E-News newsletter, see below.