Virginia Cancer Specialists Participating in National Pilot Project to Increase Diversity in Cancer Treatment Trials

Virginia Cancer Specialists Practice Blog

October 11, 2021
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Clinical Trials and Research » VCS Practice News » The Research Institute » Virginia Cancer Specialists Participating in National Pilot Project to Increase Diversity in Cancer Treatment Trials


Virginia Cancer Specialists was invited to participate in a national Pilot Project being conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). The pilot project is testing a research site self-assessment tool and an implicit bias training program focused on increasing racial and ethnic diversity among cancer treatment trial participants.

The joint ASCO-ACCC initiative was designed to identify and implement novel strategies and practical solutions to increase cancer treatment trial participation among patients from racial and ethnic minority communities, which continue to be under-represented in cancer research when compared with their percentages in the overall population of patients with cancer.

“We are proud to be part of this collaboration to provide much needed access to cancer clinical trials. It’s a responsibility for all of us in our field.  This partnership works to ensure participation and provide options in clinical trials among a diverse community.”   Alexander I Spira, MD, PhD, FACP, Co-Director, VCS Research Institute, Director, Thoracic and Phase I Program.

Virginia Cancer Specialists will be collecting data and looking at policies and perceptions of clinical trial participation. This information will help to identify and implement strategies for improving access to clinical trials in various racial and ethnic groups.  This will take place over the next several months and will provide feedback to ASCO and ACCC about the feasibility and utility of the resources and training.

“Cancer therapeutics that are reflective and tailored to the diverse population in our community are needed. This joint-effort will help us understand the problem, and craft strategies to increase clinical trial participation from underrepresented demographics facilitating the development of better treatments and outcomes for all people living with cancer.”  Mitul Gandhi, MD, Co-Director, VCS Research Institute, Director, Hematologic Malignancies Program

Virginia Cancer Specialists became involved in the initiative to help identify research site factors, such as policies, procedures, programs, and infrastructure, that may be impacting which patients are screened for and offered a cancer treatment trial, as well as factors impacting patient participation and retention.

Data collection for the pilot project will conclude in December 2021. ASCO and ACCC aim to rollout an updated implicit bias training program and site-self assessment tool to the larger oncology community in late spring 2022.

To learn more about the collaboration, visit

About Virginia Cancer Specialists

Virginia Cancer Specialists is the largest comprehensive private cancer practice in Northern Virginia.  It features a world-class treatment team fighting cancer and diseases of the blood, offering access to the most current treatment protocols, clinical trials, and comprehensive care. Its fully staffed, comprehensive clinical research program also includes a dedicated research facility for Phase I clinical trials – the Virginia Cancer Specialists Research Institute is largest of its kind in the Northern Virginia area. VCS offers medical oncology, radiation oncology, musculoskeletal tumor surgery, breast surgery, thoracic surgery, genetic counseling, palliative care, oncology nurse navigators, oncology infusion nurses, oncology pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, and laboratory technicians. Virginia Cancer Specialists is part of The US Oncology Network. This collaboration unites the practice with more than 1,400 independent physicians and research and data from thousands of cancer patients in clinical trials across the country. Virginia Cancer Specialists also participates in clinical trials through US Oncology Research, which has played a role in more than 100 FDA-approved cancer therapies, approximately one-third of all cancer therapies approved by the FDA to date. The Network is supported by McKesson Corporation, a global leader in healthcare solutions.


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