US Oncology Network Recruits 1,000th Patient to Phase I Oncology Trials

Rarely found in the community setting, US Oncology helps physicians run successful Translational Oncology Programs in 12 towns across America

THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- US Oncology, Inc., the nation's leading integrated oncology company, announced today that it has enrolled the 1,000th patient in a Phase I clinical trial through its US Oncology Research Network. Phase I clinical trials present special challenges, including increased safety concerns, higher variability of patient disease, more complex trial designs, and some first-in-human trials, making Phase I trials more difficult to operate in the community setting.



The US Oncology Research team has been helping investigators conduct new agent Phase I trials in community-based oncology since 2005. The US Oncology team running the trials – referred to as the Translational Oncology Program (TOP), is chaired by Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., chief scientific officer for US Oncology and physician-in-chief for the Translational Genomics Institute (TGen) based out of Scottsdale, Ariz. TOP is a select group of physicians affiliated with the US Oncology Research Network that participate in Phase I research studies. This experience gives the physicians and their community-based practices a leadership role in the testing of new cancer therapies to provide novel therapeutic modalities for treatment and support to patients as early as possible. The TOP program also provides physicians and nurses experience with the agents early on in their development process.

"The physicians and staff who are part of the Translational Oncology Program at US Oncology are a very special team," said Dr. Von Hoff. "It takes a special kind of dedication and attention to detail to perform a trial with a new outsourced agent. Treating and trying to help more than 1,000 patients through a Phase I trial is a milestone for the hard work of members of our TOP team. The most important thing is that our patients have had a chance to receive targeted cancer therapy as early as possible, so they have the best chance to be helped."

Phase I trials are the beginning of clinical trial work – testing ideas and theories that could go on to save lives or improve the quality of life for patients. These innovative trials often include the capability to examine pharmacokinetic aspects of the investigational agent as well as the pharmacogenetic variations among different patient populations to predict response. These elements of a Phase I trial help investigators understand how a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and eliminated in the body so that toxicity can be closely monitored. This information is used to help bring the trial into Phase II, the next step in proving a new therapy's value in cancer care.

"Researchers affiliated with US Oncology TOP have investigator experience ranging from six years to more than 33 years," says Steve Jones, MD, medical director of US Oncology Research and a medical oncologist with Texas Oncology, an affiliate of the United Network of US Oncology. "Our average TOP investigator has 18 years of clinical research experience. We're proud of our record at US Oncology Research of having played a role in the development of 42 drugs approved by the FDA. With the work of [Dr.] Dan Von Hoff and the other TOP physicians across the country, we are bringing innovative treatments to patients early on to give them the best chance of survival and providing the industry with information that advances cancer care in America."

Investigators affiliated with the US Oncology Research Network are independent community-based oncologists who bring their past academic research experience to local communities across the country. The Network includes thought leaders in specific tumor types including Drs. Daniel Von Hoff, Allen Cohn, Carlos Becerra and Donald Richards who specialize in pancreatic, GI tract and other rare tumor types; Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang who specializes in bladder, kidney and other genitourinary tumors; Dr. Stephen Jones, who specializes in rare breast cancer tumor types; Dr. Lawrence Garbo who specializes in lung, GI, breast, gioblastoma and other rare tumors best treated in Phase I studies; Dr. David Smith who specializes in lung and hematology; Dr. Paul Conkling, who specializes in lung and GI; Dr. Joe Stephenson who specializes in various phase I work with various tumor types, and dozens of others.

Physicians involved in Phase I trials work in:

  • Albany, N.Y. at New York Oncology Hematology P.C.
  • Austin, Dallas, and Tyler, Texas at Texas Oncology;
  • Denver at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers;
  • Greenville, S.C. at Institute of Translational Oncology Research;
  • Indianapolis, Ind. at Central Indiana Cancer Centers;
  • Las Vegas, Nev. at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada;
  • Norfolk, Va. at Virginia Oncology Associates;
  • Springfield, Ore. at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center;
  • Vancouver, Wash. at Northwest Cancer Specialists; and
  • Yakima, Wash. at North Star Lodge Cancer Center.

Each site has dedicated Phase I specially trained certified research nurses (CRN) and pharmacists (CRP). All nurses must be Registered Nurse (RN) trained. Each site features all necessary equipment to conduct specialized Phase I trials. The nationwide TOP committee conducts weekly meetings to discuss new findings, dosing, safety concerns and other areas of interest and concern to keep patients safe and to find leads for efficacy that can move the trial to Phase II.

In 2005, when US Oncology's TOP program began, 26 patients were enrolled in Phase I trials across the country. The following year, 124 patients were enrolled in Phase I trials and the number has continued to grow. A record number of 260 patients are expected to be enrolled in Phase I trials through the US Oncology Research Network in 2010.

US Oncology Research Fact Sheet:

US Oncology Research is physician-led and physician-driven with a successful history of clinical depth and expertise.  

  • More than 43,000 patients have participated in more than 720 US Oncology Research trials.  
  • 1,000 have been enrolled in Phase I trials
  • In less than two decades, US Oncology Research has played a role in the development of 42 cancer therapies approved by the FDA.
  • The US Oncology Research network includes more than 90 practices in 200 locations across the U.S.
  • The network supports 12 sites that offer Phase I trials, including first-in-human trials.
  • At any given time, the network has more than 90 open clinical trials and more than 200 active trials.
  • Leadership at US Oncology Research consists of experts in a wide variety of cancer specialties including breast cancer, developmental therapeutics, gastrointestinal cancer, hematologic cancer, gynecologic cancer, genitourinary cancer, lung cancer, translational oncology program, and radiation therapy.
  • 58 manuscripts from investigator-initiated studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • US Oncology Research supports the nation's largest research network specializing in Phase I-IV oncology clinical trials. Investigator- and sponsor-initiated trials bring innovative therapies to patients in local communities across the nation.
  • To find a clinical trial or to join the US Oncology Research Network or the United Network of US Oncology, visit the US Oncology website.

About US Oncology

US Oncology, Inc. is the nation's leading integrated oncology company. By uniting the largest community-based cancer treatment and research network in America, US Oncology expands patient access to high-quality care and advances the science of cancer care. Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, US Oncology is affiliated with more than 1,300 community-based oncologists, and works with patients, hospitals, payers, and the medical industry across all phases of the cancer research and delivery system. By promoting the use of innovative technology, clinical research, evidence-based medicine and shared best practices, US Oncology improves patient outcomes and offers a better patient experience. For more information, visit

About US Oncology Research

US Oncology conducts clinical research through US Oncology Research, its wholly-owned subsidiary and the nation's largest community-based cancer research network. US Oncology Research has experienced investigators and dedicated research nurses who specialize in Phase I through Phase IV oncology clinical trials. US Oncology Research serves more than 90 sites in 200 locations managing more than 200 active trials at any given time. The research network has enrolled more than 43,000 patients in more than 720 trials since its inception and has contributed to the development of 42 cancer therapies approved by the FDA. For more information call (866) 216-5053 or visit

SOURCE US Oncology, Inc.