Message From the Chair of the NCCN Board of Directors

On behalf of NCCN, I am delighted to share with you some of our many achievements realized during 2011. I would also like to recognize the untiring volunteer commitment of the faculty and staff at our 21 Member Institutions to the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) development process and our numerous programs spanning clinical recommendations, educational offerings for patients and physicians, policy, research, and business. This dedication is critical to advancing sound, evaluative clinical information to enhance the decision-making processes of patients, physicians, and others who influence access to and the choice of cancer care.

In 2011, the NCCN Guidelines, the recognized standard for clinical policy in oncology, expanded with the release of the NCCN Guidelines for Lung Cancer Screening. These new guidelines provide guidance on how using effective screening tools for early detection can assist in the effort to decrease mortality rates for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the world. Additionally, the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium (NCCN Compendium) continues to be widely used by public and private payors to determine coverage for drugs and biologics in cancer care.

NCCN expanded its relationships with health information technology companies to license the incorporation of the NCCN Guidelines and other information products into various electronic tools. NCCN looks forward to continued and new collaborations within this exciting area to further broaden the reach of the NCCN Guidelines.

NCCN and the National Business Group on Health, the nation’s only nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers’ perspectives on national health policy issues, continued to work on a 3-year project to develop benefit design resources and tools for employers to address cancer care in the workplace. This year, the collaboration produced 2 resources, Quick Reference Guide and Assessment and Plan Design and Assessment Tool, both part of An Employer’s Guide to Cancer Treatment and Prevention, a comprehensive guide that will help employers efficiently and effectively design, implement, and monitor the performance of their oncology benefits. These tools recommend that employers’ health plans cover evidence-based cancer treatment, based on the NCCN Guidelines and NCCN Compendium.

Given the significant impact that health care reform and other regulatory requirements continue to have on oncology, NCCN took an active leadership role in 2011 by hosting policy summits on issues such as the FDA’s pending abbreviated regulatory process for the development of biosimilar drugs, and regulatory and reimbursement issues surrounding molecular testing in cancer care. NCCN also held a patient advocacy summit focusing on optimal care for patients with cancer.

Thought leaders across the globe collaborated with NCCN in the adaptation and translation of guidelines in China, Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. NCCN launched its NCCNChina.org Web site. NCCN Guidelines were distributed in various formats in almost every country in the world.

Over its first 18 months of operations, the NCCN Foundation has made great progress in advancing the mission of NCCN. Since launching the NCCN Guidelines for Patients a little more than a year ago, NCCN has released a total of 8 patient guidelines in this new series of consumer-friendly translations of the NCCN Guidelines for professionals. In an effort to promote early career development opportunities for young clinicians, physician-scientists, and oncology nurses at NCCN Member Institutions, the NCCN Foundation awarded 5 competitive grants in 2011 to young investigators dedicated to advancing and discovering new treatments for cancer. The NCCN Foundation looks forward to continuing this award program in 2012.

This list is only a sampling of NCCN’s accomplishments this year. NCCN has also enjoyed the continued success of many other existing programs, such as the NCCN Annual Conference, NCCN International Programs, NCCN Oncology Research Program, NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database, NCCN Best Practices, NCCN Insights: Analytics, Research & Consulting, and JNCCNThe Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Thank you for your interest and support of NCCN as we work to fulfill our mission of improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so that patients can live better lives.

The ideas and viewpoints expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily represent any policy, position, or program of NCCN.

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Thomas A. D’Amico, MD, is Chair of the NCCN Board of Directors, a member of the NCCN Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Panel and Esophageal/Gastric Cancers Panel, and is the co-PI of the NCCN Lung Cancer Outcomes Database. Dr. D’Amico is a graduate of Harvard University (BA) and the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University (MD). After completing a fellowship in thoracic surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. D’Amico joined the faculty at Duke University Medical Center. He is currently Professor and Vice Chairman of Surgery, Chief of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery, Director of the Training Program in Thoracic Surgery, and Chief Medical Officer of the Duke Cancer Institute.Dr. D’Amico serves on several editorial boards and is active in the leadership of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education.
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