Tomohide TAMURA, MD
The Japan Clinical Oncology Group (JCOG) is the sole multicenter clinical study group in Japan fully funded by national research grants. The goal of JCOG is to establish new standard treatments for various types of malignancies by conducting nationwide multicenter clinical trials. Modeled after the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) in the United States, JCOG was founded in 1990 by the research grant “A Study on the Multidisciplinary Treatment of Cancer” (principal investigator: Masanori Shimoyama), supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Cancer Research from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
In 2010, JCOG celebrated its 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, the JCOG has grown into one of the leading clinical study groups in the world. Many JCOG studies have contributed to progress in therapeutic strategies for various malignant tumors. I would like to express my profound gratitude to all JCOG investigators and staff for their great efforts, to numerous people for their support, and to the patients who participated in clinical trials and to their families.
Today, JCOG consists of an Executive Committee, Headquarters (Operations Office, Data Center), Committees (Standing Committees, Discipline Committees, Ad Hoc Committees), and study groups. The organization enables us to conduct high-quality clinical trials and data assurance. Study groups are divided into 16 categories by specific tumor types or modalities, and approximately 180 institutions nationwide participate in these study groups. JCOG has more than 30 actively accruing trials with an annual accrual of over 2000 patients.
The environment surrounding JCOG has been changing greatly in recent years. In 2010, the National Cancer Center, which can be described as the headquarters of JCOG, changed its status from an institution that was directly government-controlled to an Independent Administrative Institution. The primary funding for JCOG now comes from the National Cancer Center Research and Development Fund. In addition, several new cooperative study groups have been organized in various areas of Japan, and actively conduct their own clinical trials. It is also important to participate in global clinical studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies for the simultaneous approval of new drugs.
In the midst of these changes, we must reconsider the roles that JCOG plays as well as what JCOG should do for cancer patients in Japan and throughout the world. I strongly hope that all members of JCOG make efforts toward greater improvement. JCOG will continue to progress toward the goal of achieving breakthroughs in cancer treatment outcomes.