Annual Message from the NRG Oncology Group Chairs

January 17 2024

As another year comes to a close, we continue to be amazed by the herculean feats that our members, staff, and partners have accomplished in 2023. In this newsletter, leaders of NRG Research Strategy Committee outline several research-related milestones that our group was able to accomplish this last year. Thanks to all your help, NRG is several steps closer to reaching our cancer-curing goals.

With the new year comes the competitive grant renewal for the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Driven by the ‘exceptional’ score that we received on the last renewal in 2019, we aim to tackle many new initiatives in the upcoming application. One major focus is to make our trials more inclusive, simple, and accessible to our patients in order to accrue more diverse patients to our studies. At the same time, we will continue to focus on testing innovative technologies and therapies while using biomarkers to guide and enrich treatment for the patient populations who would best benefit from our therapies.

The grant renewal is not only our major focus in 2024. With Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the new NIH director and Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell as the new NCI Director, we are excited to collaborate with both leaders and their respective organizations to work toward improved cancer prevention and care. We believe that our goals of creating innovative trials that make novel therapies and screening/prevention strategies readily available to diverse patient populations closely aligned with those of these two leaders.

As we evaluate areas for potential growth in 2024, one of our upcoming goals is to enhance our international collaboration to expand the reach of NRG research. Over the last ten years, NRG has opened 66 trials that accrued internationally and has worked with sites from 15 different countries outside of North America. We have started to build a relationship with the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG), one of the largest clinical cancer trial groups in Australia and look towards other potential partnerships with sites and entities abroad.

Diversity, inclusion, and health equity remain near and dear to NRG’s research mission. We have activated a demographic survey that was sent to registered members of NRG Oncology in order to understand the diversity of our organization. Our DEI committee has also engaged with Pope Consulting to identify solutions to create an inclusive environment for our diverse members and to strengthen engagement and relationship between members and the organization. Our Health Equity Committee continues to focus on enhancing patients’ access to our trials, including those in underserved or rural communities. We believe that the results of our trials are only as good as our reach and cancer care and prevention should be accessible and tangible for everyone.

The future of our organization depends on the development and engagement of rising investigators in our field. NRG Oncology continues to expand clinical trial education programs and create hands-on mentorship opportunities for early career and new investigators. Our approach is to include early career and new investigators in our research and organization at every level to provide them with valuable experience for the growth of their careers.

If you have not already registered, you won’t want to miss the upcoming NRG Oncology 2024 Winter Meeting in Orlando, Florida. We plan to continue celebrating our successes, addressing our priorities, discussing our ongoing research efforts, and providing ways for our members and partners to connect and collaborate on ideas. Register here. More information on the NRG Meeting is also available on the NRG website.

We look forward to a successful 2024!

Quynh-Thu Le, MD; Robert Mannel, MD; Norman Wolmark, MD
NRG Oncology Group Chairs

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