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News Release


Release No: 118-96
March 05, 1996


The Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute signed an interagency agreement today to form a partnership in clinical trials for cancer research. This agreement allows DoD medical beneficiaries to participate in various NCI sponsored clinical trials of new treatments, either through the medical treatment facilities that have been approved to conduct NCI trials or through care reimbursed through TRICARE/CHAMPUS, the DoD's health program.

NCI sponsors and actively coordinates an extensive clinical trials program for the evaluation of therapy for various types of cancer. This program has been the means by which the oncology community has developed most of the formal clinical evidence for the efficacy of the various treatment approaches in clinical cancer. DoD formerly provided patients an opportunity to participate in clinical trials for cancer in the direct care system and in limited circumstances through civilian care reimbursed by DoD. DoD shares public and scientific concern about disappointing cure rates under standard cancer therapies.

The interagency agreement enables DoD beneficiaries to receive state-of-the-art care through NCI sponsored clinical activities throughout the country by participating in emerging new approaches that have significant promise for the successful treatment of cancers. DoD participation in NCI sponsored clinical trials for cancer will further research efforts by assisting in meeting research goals of arriving at conclusions regarding the safety and effectiveness of different treatment methods for various cancers. The DoD participation in the Interagency agreement is limited to Phase II and Phase III NCI sponsored clinical trials for cancer. Phase II trials evaluate the efficacy of a new drug or

other treatment after phase I trials have studied its safety and feasibility. Phase III trials compare a new treatment -- one that has shown effectiveness in phase II -- to a standard therapy.

All medical care required as a result of participation in approved NCI sponsored clinical trials will be provided by MTFs or by civilian providers who will be reimbursed through TRICARE/CHAMPUS. The DoD will not reimburse for costs associated with any non-treatment research activities associated with participation in clinical trials, and patients will not be required to pay for these research costs.

NCI will provide a user-friendly, active information system through an expansion of the Physician Data Query. This will give physicians quick access to open available protocols at the nearest or most appropriate institution or physician participating in the suitable protocols. Through this system, DoD will have access to clinical research and patients can receive care through NCI sponsored clinical research activities. Providers seeking specific program information or seeking authorization for treatment in an NCI sponsored trial should call Palmetto GBA at 1-800-779-3060.

The joint effort will be in effect for three years from the date of the agreement.

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