Driven by the reignited Cancer Moonshot, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on the possibilities and challenges of increasing clinical trial accrual in May 2022.  

The discussion, titled Cancer Cabinet Community Conversations: Doubling Clinical Trials Accrual, was led by Douglas Lowy, MD, NCI’s acting director, and James Doroshow, MD, NCI’s deputy director of clinical and translational research, and featured the following leaders in the cancer world: 

  • Joaquina Baranda, MD, professor of medical oncology and medical director of the early phase program at the University of Kansas Medical Center 

  • Susan Galbraith, MD, PhD, executive vice president of oncology research and development at AstraZeneca 

  • Kathy Giusti, founder and chief mission officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation  

  • Robert Mannel, MD, director of the Stephenson Cancer Center, interim chair of radiation oncology, and professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Oklahoma 

  • Phyllis Pettit Nassi, MWS, associate director of research and science, special populations, in the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah 

  • Augusto Ochoa, MD, chair of the department of interdisciplinary oncology and professor of pediatrics at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and director of the Stanley S. Scott Cancer Center 

  • Corrie Painter, PhD, associate director of operations and scientific outreach in the cancer program at Broad Institute and associate director of Count Me In 

Doubling Clinical Trials Accrual was just one of several White House Cancer Cabinet discussions related to clinical trials. Previous roundtables were centered around the key components and goals of Biden’s reignited Cancer Moonshot and the importance of cancer clinical trials in achieving those goals. The panel also recognized challenges in diversifying clinical trials and discussed what they believe could be done to overcome various barriers.  

A big area of focus is simply being able to reach patients, the panel’s experts said. They recommended bringing the trials to rural-area patients, addressing financial needs and toxicity, and battling mistrust through community conversations. And success hinges on one critical factor: leadership.  

“I think leadership, strong leadership and alignment from the leadership is core to this initiative,” Baranda said

“It’s not just the research that’s important,” Nassi added. “It takes a lot of different types of people. It takes a lot of different qualifications, not just principal investigators and not just physicians, in order to make this work. Being able to see clinical trials with different eyes is going to help those patients that we want to reach, that we need to reach, have the capacity to enter into a clinical trial with confidence.” 

Oncology nurses are leaders, in their institutions, in their communities, and in their advocacy. They are uniquely positioned to elevate awareness of clinical trials among their patients and identify and address barriers, ultimately influencing increased clinical trial accrual.