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2023 ASCO Annual Meeting- “Targeted Funding, a demonstrated solution to expanding access to clinical trials” Preview Editorial Page

June 3, 2023
Irby Hunter

June 3, 2023

Irby Hunter, Jr., MD Medical Director Oncology Independent Medical Education Inc & Executive Publisher Oncology Disparities Peer Reviewed Scientific Journal

The 59th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology will be home to a ground breaking education session entitled “The Future of Equitable Access to Clinical Trials.” The session will be chaired by Steven Gore, MD, of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Joining Dr. Gore will be Lola A. Fashoyin-Aje, MD, MPH, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Attendees will also hear from Ana Acuna-Villaorduna, MD. Dr. Acuna-Villaorduna represents the Montefiore Medical Center found on the campus of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. This august collection of clinical specialists will provide keen insight towards solving the problem of historically low participation of patients representing ethnic and racial minorities communities going on to clinical trials. The session is scheduled for June 4, 2023. During the session a dialogue will participated in bringing into focus solutions to the low number of underrepresented and underserved individuals enrolling onto oncology trials. The session will highlight the usefulness of U.S. government-funded initiatives to improve recruitment of these populations. (1)

Dr. Gore will share information about NCI’s CATCH-UP Program. Create Access to Targeted Cancer Therapy for Undeserved Populations (CATCH-UP 2020), a congressionally funded pilot project designed to increase recruitment of underserved individuals across several clinical trial sites in the United States. CATCH-UP 2020 is comprised of eight NCI designated cancer centers. These eight centers have proven track record in accruing minority/underserved populations to NCIs Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN). CATCH-UP 2020 cancer centers are required to accrue a minimum of 24 patients annually NCI clinical trials. Ongoing funded mandates that at least 50% of the recruited patient belong to a minority/underserved population.

Baranada et all recently validated the utility of the CATCH-UP initiative. The research group reported from September 2020 to August 2021, CATCH-UP.2020 sites opened 45 ETCTN trials. In the programs, initial year, the sites enrolled 145 patients in CATCH-UP.2020 with 46.9% of the enrollees representing racial, ethnic, rural, and socioeconomically underserved populations. The study’s results clearly reveal that targeted funding and accelerated accrual practices expand access to early phase trials among underserved populations.

Remain tuned in for more information coming from Dr. Gore and his colleagues at NCI. Dr. Gore believes CATCH-UP can be duplicated across the country. He cites the importance of cancer centers investing in patient navigators and coordinators and the need for comprehensive programming to over come the barriers to persons from racial and ethnic minority communities going onto clinical trials.


  1. ASCO Daily News. 2023. Equitable Clinical Trial Access Is a ‘Scientific and Moral Imperative’ Satudary June 3, 2023. ASCO 2023 Annual Meeting.
  2. Baranada, Joaquina, et all. 2022. Expanding access to early phase trials: the CATCH-UP.2020 experience. December 16, 202. Cancer Spectrum. Retrieved from www.cancerspectrum.com on June 3, 2023.



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