|Taiwan Cooperative Oncology Group, TCOG
In past years, TCOG had established Scientific Advisory Committee, Board Committee, Executive Committee, 16 Disease Committees (Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, Gastric MALToma, Lymphoma, Gynecologic Oncology, Hepatocellular Carcinoma Postoperative Adjuvant Therapy, High Dose Chemotherapy, Head & Neck Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Brain Tumor, Pancreatic Cancer and Esophageal Cancer), 4 Quality Monitoring Committees (Audit, Data and Safety Monitoring, Imaging Interpretation and Pathology) and 4 Modality Committees (Radiotherapy Modality, Chemotherapy, Photodynamic Therapy and Cancer Pain and Symptom Management). All individual committees were actively engaged in work such as the formulation of consensus statement and guidelines on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of specific cancer, formulating the research protocols for clinical trials, and guide the enrollment of patients into ongoing trials.
In order to make the organization fully developing its function, TCOG institutional framework was reformed in November 2008, revising TCOG bylaws, setting up Clinical Study Groups replaced Disease Committees encourage investigators interested and actively participated in clinical protocols to form study groups and conduct the multi-center clinical trials efficiently. To enhance the function of research grant proposals in writing, auditing and coordinating, the Study Reviewing Committee was established to review and provide guidance for the research proposals that were submitted by the Clinical Study Groups.
The Executive Committee was organized for the implementation and coordination of various TCOG tasks. In addition, this cooperative group is assisted by the Operation Center, which currently resides in the National Institute of Cancer Research, National health Research Institutes (NHRI), Taiwan. It coordinates all TCOG activities; consists of administrators, study coordinators and study nurses for all TCOG trials. The study nurses are allocated in the TCOG cooperative hospitals for patient screening, enrollment, filling out case report forms (CRFs), and treatment follow-up for the TCOG research projects. The study coordinators are responsible for coordination of all TCOG study activities including protocol development, CRF design, study implementation, patient registration, and CRF submission and quality assurance.
The Statistical Center is now part of Institute of Population Health Sciences NHRI, Taiwan. It has a matrix management team consisting of statisticians, programmers, data coordinators, data entry personnel and computer scientists. The Statistical Center provides essential statistical supports for all TCOG studies including study design, sample size estimation, randomization scheme, statistical analysis planning and CRF design during the protocol development stage; database design and maintenance, double data entry, data quality control and assurance during study conduct; as well as interim and final statistical analysis and reporting.
To ensure our trials meeting the guideline of good clinical practice, the Quality Monitoring Committees (Audit, Data and Safety Monitoring) were established for functions such as: (1) reviewing the safety reports and interim reports of TCOG’s active trials to secure clinical trial's safety and ethics. (2) site-visiting all cooperative hospitals once per year to ensure the correctness and completeness of the research data.
TCOG also conduct several special projects, such as “Accreditation on Program of Cancer care” and “Analysis and Policy Recommendations Project for the Cancer Screening and Treatment Core Measurement Indicators of Taiwan Major Cancer”, operating in coordination with the government’s requirement regarding medical policy. Further, the relevant committee will be set up to assist progress of such project.
The TCOG member institutions had grown in number from the original 3 medical centers since 1989 (Taipei Veterans General Hospital, National Taiwan University Hospital and Tri-service General Hospital) up to 9 major medical centers by 1991 (adding National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital (Linkou), Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital and Mackay Memorial Hospital). In 2002, TCOG had expanded to include a total of 24 teaching hospitals (adding Cathay General Hospital, Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Taipei Municipal Jen-Ai Hospital, Taipei Medical University Hospital, China Medical University Hospital, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital (Kaohsiung), Changhua Christian Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital (Hua Lien), Kuang Tien General Hospital, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Show Chwan Memorial Hospital, Cheng Ching Hospital and Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital (Chiayi)) which were located all over the country.
To bring the function of cooperative hospital into full play, TCOG renewed the cooperative contract every three years with hospitals which were actively participated in TCOG’s clinical cancer trials since 2008. Total number of the cooperative hospitals, island-wide, is now 16.
<Updated on Jan. 26, 2016>