What is the Arizona Cancer Research Alliance (ACRA)?

The Arizona Cancer Research Alliance (ACRA) is a community-based network for testing and validating medical interventions with the potential to diagnose, treat, ameliorate or cure cancer.  The ACRA is open to all physicians who want to integrate clinical trials into their practice.  The ACRA will improve care for patients in Phoenix/Arizona by providing access to novel therapeutics, multi-disciplinary research and the rigorous implementation of clinical trials.

Why is ACRA focused on community-based physician participation?

The pharmaceutical industry is experiencing a revolution in research and development (R&D) fueled by the advent of high throughput screening, bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, metabonomics and combinatorial chemistry.  The result has been an increase in the number of “validated” candidates, a perception that products are increasingly targeted and a renewed hope that progress toward a cure for cancer will be swift.

The public is frequently told that we live in an era of revolutionary change.  While this is true, challenges face the clinical trials infrastructure in the United States.  We face an investigator shortfall, a limited and evolving information technology infrastructure to support the proper identification and management of increasingly refined patient populations, and rising frustration with the sophistication needed to comply with regulatory requirements.

The ACRA is focused on creating infrastructure to support physicians who are believed to be responsible for over 80% of the care provided to patients with cancer.  We believe that by facilitating access and communication at the community practitioner level we have the chance to robustly engage community-based providers and provide benefits for physicians, patients and our understanding of how to best treat cancer.

How is Translational Research Management (TRM) Involved in the ACRA?

There are a number of experts/professionals leading this effort. TRM is responsible for ensuring that the ACRA rigorously complies with international standards for the conduct of clinical trials, United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, and Arizona Law.  TRM also provides financial oversight for the program and supports clinical trial agreement and budget negotiation, agreements with ancillary service providers and research billing and collection activities.

Do community physicians have to pay to participate in the ACRA?

No.  Costs associated with physicians and their practices joining the ACRA have been covered and will be recouped from their participation in studies performed within the network.  The ACRA will collect a percentage from ongoing clinical trials (a portion of the indirect cost rate) to cover administrative expenses associated with managing the program.

Is there any independent oversight to research conducted by the ACRA?

Yes.  All clinical trials conducted by the ACRA will have been reviewed and approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Additionally, studies are reviewed by an independent ethics committee called an Institutional Review Board (IRB).  IRBs that review research conducted by the ACRA must be accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP).