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Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP)
Last Updated: 03/08/16

Message from the CTEP Associate Director

Jeffrey S. Abrams, MD

Dr. Jeff Abrams

The Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) coordinates the clinical therapeutics development program of the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD), NCI.

Fueled by our improved understanding of the human genome, CTEP leads NCI's effort to conduct innovative precision medicine treatment trials. The promise of precision medicine is the ability to tailor treatments to genetic changes found in each person's cancer. Several trials are currently exploring whether treating patients with drugs that have been shown to target molecular changes in tumors will be more effective than traditional therapies.

Current precision medicine trials led by the CTEP-sponsored National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) are Lung-MAP, ALCHEMIST, and NCI-MATCH. A pediatric version of NCI-MATCH is expected to open soon.

Based, in part, on the opportunities presented by precision medicine, NCI made extensive changes to its Phase 3 clinical trials program and launched the NCTN. The nine former adult Cooperative Groups were consolidated into four adult groups in the NCTN. In addition, as was the case under the former system, another large NCTN group is focused on childhood cancers. With its state-of-the-art clinical trials infrastructure, the NCTN is poised to implement and complete trials far more rapidly than in the past with treatment sites in both large cities and small communities across the nation. In addition, the NCTN includes a Canadian clinical trials group that enrolls patients on selected NCTN trials.

In conjunction with the NCTN for late-stage trials, NCI launched a revamped network to conduct early-stage clinical trials. The Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN) assesses innovative cancer therapies in Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials through partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry and investigators at major cancer centers. The ETCTN focuses on translationally rich studies in molecularly-defined subsets of common and rare cancers, and collaborates with pharmaceutical partners to complement their drug development plans.

Via the NCTN and ETCTN, CTEP oversees the conduct of between 400 to 500 active cancer treatment clinical trials. CTEP trials offer access to novel treatment approaches for many common and, increasingly, even rare cancers. CTEP holds more than 100 INDs for new agents, and is able to combine novel agents provided by different companies when appropriate. Overall, about 20,000 patients are enrolled on CTEP-sponsored trials annually, making CTEP one of the largest publicly-funded cancer trials organizations in the world.