A Grant-Based Experiment to Train Clinical Investigators: The AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop

Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Oct 15;27(20):5472-5481. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-1799. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


To address the need for clinical investigators in oncology, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) established the Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop (MCCRW). The workshop's objectives were to: (i) provide training in the methods, design, and conduct of clinical trials; (ii) ensure that clinical trials met federal and international ethical guidelines; (iii) evaluate the effectiveness of the workshop; and (iv) create networking opportunities for young investigators with mentoring senior faculty. Educational methods included: (i) didactic lectures, (ii) Small Group Discussion Sessions, (iii) Protocol Development Groups, and (iv) one-on-one mentoring. Learning focused on the development of an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-ready protocol, which was submitted on the last day of the workshop. Evaluation methods included: (i) pre- and postworkshop tests, (ii) students' workshop evaluations, (iii) faculty's ratings of protocol development, (iv) students' productivity in clinical research after the workshop, and (v) an independent assessment of the workshop. From 1996 to 2014, 1,932 students from diverse backgrounds attended the workshop. There was a significant improvement in the students' level of knowledge from the pre- to the postworkshop exams (P < 0.001). Across the classes, student evaluations were very favorable. At the end of the workshop, faculty rated 92% to 100% of the students' protocols as ready for IRB submission. Intermediate and long-term follow-ups indicated that more than 92% of students were actively involved in patient-related research, and 66% had implemented five or more protocols. This NCI-sponsored MCCRW has had a major impact on the training of clinicians in their ability to design and implement clinical trials in cancer research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics*
  • Biomedical Research / education*
  • Biomedical Research / methods
  • Financing, Organized*
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Neoplasms*
  • Research Personnel / economics*
  • Research Personnel / education*
  • Societies, Medical*
  • United States