| March 8, 2001
Penn Cancer Center's "OncoLink"
Selected as Clinical Research Clearinghouse for the
National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance
(Philadelphia, PA) - OncoLink,
the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center's award-winning
web site has been selected by the National Colorectal
Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) to serve as its clinical
trials resource center, created to facilitate increased
participation in colorectal cancer clinical trials.
"We have made significant gains in understanding the
science of colorectal cancer in recent years," explains
John Glick, MD, Director, University of Pennsylvania
Cancer Center. "This initiative with the NCCRA will
speed up the process of discovering new ways to prevent
and treat this potentially devastating form of cancer
by making it easy for interested individuals and families
to enter scientifically important clinical trials."
Joining forces, OncoLink and the NCCRA will launch
a year-long national call to action to fight colorectal
cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause
of cancer deaths in the United States, claiming the
lives of nearly 60,000 people each year.
"Our hope is to advance leading-edge research and reduce
the incidence of colorectal cancer," says Katie Couric,
co-founder of NCCRA. "As a leading cancer information
web site, OncoLink is the perfect partner. We've been
tremendously impressed with what OncoLink has been able
to do and we are fortunate to have a senior scientist
from the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center on
the NCCRA's eight-person medical advisory board." OncoLink
has added new features to its colorectal cancer section,
including a simple survey that people can use to indicate
their interest in participating in clinical trials approved
by the NCCRA medical advisory board.
OncoLink visitors may also ask questions and get answers
from colorectal cancer experts. The NCCRA call center
at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center offers
the same resources for people who do not have Internet
access. Callers can complete the survey and get their
questions about colorectal cancer answered by talking
to a call center representative at 1-866-724-4100.
According to Anil Rustgi, MD, Director of Gastrointestinal
Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
and a member of NCCRA's medical advisory board, the
NCCRA has uncovered one of the leading impediments to
advancing colorectal cancer research - the time it takes
to enroll enough eligible participants in clinical trials.
"Clinical trials help us answer critical scientific
questions about family susceptibility and the effectiveness
of pharmaceutical agents in preventing or treating cancer,"
explains Dr. Rustgi, who is also Principal Investigator
for one of the priority trials that will benefit from
the new clearinghouse. "Through our website and call
center, we will be able to provide critical information
about colorectal cancer and give people an easy way
to find out about leading-edge research that could help
save lives.even in their own families."
NCCRA-approved trials will initially focus on the susceptibility
of families to colorectal cancer and on studies that
test the effectiveness of agents in preventing this
type of cancer. In the months ahead, the range of approved
trials will expand into a select number of treatment
The senior researchers for trials approved by the NCCRA
will contact people who have registered and who match
the criteria of their study, to see if they are interested
in participating in a particular trial.
The NCCRA is dedicated to the eradication of colon
cancer by harnessing the power of celebrity to promote
education, fundraising, research and early medical screening.
The National Colorectal Research Alliance was co-founded
by Katie Couric, Lilly Tartikoff, and the Entertainment
Industry Foundation, a California-based 501 (c) 3 non-profit
OncoLink was founded in 1994 by the University of Pennsylvania
Cancer Center to help cancer patients, families, health
care professionals and the general public get timely,
accurate cancer-related information. OncoLink makes
it easy to obtain the latest information about cancer,
including each type of cancer, treatments and research
advances. Information is continuously updated and is
written at various levels, from introductory to in-depth.
OncoLink has consistently been one of the most popular
cancer websites, receiving numerous media awards and
citations as a comprehensive, trusted cancer resource
for patients, physicians and researchers.
The NCCRA initiative with OncoLink is supported by
a grant to the NCCRA from Pharmacia Oncology and Pfizer,
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