Virginia Cancer Specialists (VCS), Northern Virginia’s premier cancer care center with more than 40 years of service to patients battling cancer and blood diseases, has announced it is one of only three community oncology practices in the country recognized this year by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for its commitment to providing high-quality clinical trials to patients.
As a recipient of the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Clinical Trials Participation Award, the VCS Research Institute is being honored for its contribution to the improvement of cancer care through clinical research in a community-based setting.
“We are pleased to recognize Virginia Cancer Specialists with the Clinical Trials Participation Award, aimed at honoring community practices that bring cutting-edge, clinical cancer research to their patients,” said Thomas G. Roberts, Jr., M.D., chair of the Conquer Cancer Foundation board of directors. “Through participation in clinical trials, Virginia Cancer Specialists not only brings support and groundbreaking therapies to its local community, but also directly contributes to cancer research at large.”
While patient advocacy groups and various organizations within the cancer community promote clinical trials as part of comprehensive cancer care, participation numbers are still low. The Conquer Cancer Foundation awards were given to increase awareness and participation in clinical trials among physicians. The awards were based on various criteria that emphasize high patient accrual in clinical trials by overcoming barriers to enrollment. Preference was also given to practices with clinical trial programs that recruit underrepresented populations in their service area. In 2015, the VCS Research Institute enrolled nearly 200 patients in various trials, and today they continue to offer access to a wide range of cutting-edge research studies in many different disease types.
“It is very gratifying to receive recognition from the Conquer Cancer Foundation for our clinical research efforts and the quality of our program,” said Alexander Spira, M.D., medical oncologist and co-director of the VCS Research Institute. “We feel a great responsibility to participate in finding new and better ways to treat cancer. Clinical research not only helps us fulfill this mission, but also gives our patients convenient access to some of the most novel and leading-edge treatment options available today. Providing these advanced therapies in the community where patients have the support of family and friends supports better outcomes.”
Through its affiliation with The U.S. Oncology Network, one of the nation’s largest associations of community-based oncologists, Virginia Cancer Specialists conducts clinical trials through US Oncology Research, a community-based cancer research program which has played a role in approximately 60 FDA-approved cancer therapies. As the leading cancer center committed to research in Northern Virginia, the VCS Research Institute serves as a regional resource for the surrounding medical community, referring physicians and patients. The practice has a long-standing commitment to provide patients access to the very latest treatment options and offers clinical trials at six convenient treatment sites throughout the area. As part of its cutting-edge research program, numerous novel immunotherapy trials are available―more than any other program in the Metropolitan D.C. area. The VCS Research Institute was recognized by INC Research in 2014 for its outstanding research program and efficient start-up timelines.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation,” said Raymond Wadlow, M.D., medical oncologist and co-director of the VCS Research Institute. “While we know we have achieved a high level of performance with our program, it is very rewarding to be recognized by others in the research world for our achievements. I am extremely proud of our dedicated research team who made this award possible by continually striving for excellence while providing patients access to these groundbreaking trials that play a vital role in conquering cancer.”
The Clinical Trials Participation Award is funded through the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO with the generous support of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, which has supported the award since it was established in 2003.