NCCN Awarded Accreditation by the ACPE to Provide Continuing Education Credits to Pharmacists

NCCN recently received continuing education accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) through June 2013. The approval is vital to oncology pharmacists in need of reliable, up-to-date, and evidence-based educational programs based on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines).

NCCN has long recognized the importance of the oncology pharmacist as a member of the multidisciplinary treatment team for people with cancer. Pharmacists play an important role in the clinical decision-making process, both at the individual patient level and the drug use policy level.

Pharmacists dispensing chemotherapy require the clinical knowledge and expertise to effectively assess the appropriateness of therapy (e.g., for indication, dosing) and monitor patients for adverse effects. At the policy level, pharmacists are actively involved in formularies through their participation on Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committees for hospitals and managed care organizations, where they are often responsible for performing literature reviews and writing policy for committee approval.

As a newly ACPE-accredited provider, NCCN offers a number of high-quality Web-based and live educational programs designed to meet the specific needs of oncology pharmacists. ACPE accreditation is available at the upcoming NCCN 6th Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies on September 9–10, 2011, in New York City. Additional educational opportunities for pharmacists and other clinical professionals who manage patients with cancer can be found online at

The ACPE is the national agency for accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education. ACPE's Continuing Education Provider Accreditation Program is designed to assure pharmacists, boards of pharmacy, and other members of the pharmacy community that continuing pharmacy education programs are high-quality.

Researchers Receive Grants from NCCN Oncology Research Program Funded Through GlaxoSmithKline

The NCCN Oncology Research Program (ORP) recently awarded research grants to investigators after a review of proposals submitted in response to the NCCN Ofatumumab Request for Proposals and the NCCN Pazopanib Request for Proposals. These grants were made possible through general research support of $4 million from GlaxoSmithKline.

“NCCN is pleased to announce that we will be funding 5 new ofatumumab research studies and 7 pazopanib research studies in 2011, in addition to more than 50 active clinical and correlative trials that we are already supporting,” commented Diane Paul, MS, RN, who is the vice president of ORP at NCCN. “Research grants enable NCCN and our member institutions to work with industry to help develop and bring scientific discoveries to market for the benefit of all patients. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with GlaxoSmithKline to make important strides in research possible.”

The FDA granted approval of ofatumumab for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) refractory to fludarabine and alemtuzumab. In addition to CLL, the clinical trials at NCCN Member Institutions supported by the grant will further evaluate the therapy's effect in various lymphomas, including follicular, mantle cell, diffuse large B-cell, and non–Hodgkin's lymphomas.

The following proposals for ofatumumab have been awarded funding:

  • Jennifer Brown, MD, PhD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “Ofatumumab-High Dose Methylprednisolone Followed by Ofatumumab-Alemtuzumab for the Treatment of 17p Deletion Chronic-Lymphocytic Leukemia.”

  • Alessandra Ferrajoli, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “Phase II Study of Ofatumumab as Front-Line Treatment in Elderly, Unfit Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).”

  • Francisco Hernandez-llizaliturri, MD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, “Ofatumumab in Combination with High Dose Cytarabine Chemoimmunotherapy for Patients with Newly Diagnosed Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL).”

  • Shuo Ma, MD, PhD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, “Correlative Studies in Conjunction with A Phase 2 Trial of Alemtuzumab-Ofatumumab Combination in Previously Untreated Symptomatic Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).”

  • Taimur Sher, MD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, “A Multicenter Phase II Study of Ofatumumab in Combination with Bortezomib in Previously Untreated Patients with Waldenström Macroglobulinemia.”

Pazopanib is currently approved by the FDA to treat patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma. The research grant to NCCN will evaluate the effectiveness of pazopanib in solid tumors, including sarcoma, thyroid, and neuroendocrine cancers.

The following proposals for pazopanib have been awarded funding:

  • Nilofer S. Azad, MD, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, “A Phase I Study Determining the Safety and Tolerability of Combination Therapy with Pazopanib, a VEGFR/PDGFR/Raf Inhibitor, and GSK 1120212, a MEK Inhibitor, in Advanced Solid Tumors Enriched with Patients with Advanced Differentiated Thyroid Cancer.”

  • Laura Q.M. Chow, MD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, “A Phase I Clinical Trial of Pazopanib in Combination with Escalating Doses of Radioactive 131I in Patients with Well-Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma Refractory to Radioiodine, Despite Having Some Uptake.”

  • Herbert I. Hurwitz, MD, Duke Cancer Institute, “Phase I Dose Escalation of Pazopanib Plus TH302 in Advanced Solid Tumors Followed by an Expanded Cohort in Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors.”

  • Halla Nimeiri, MD, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, “A Phase I/II Study of the Combination of Temozolomide and Pazopanib in Advanced Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor (PNET).”

  • Gary K. Schwartz, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, “A Phase IB/II Study of Pazopanib in Conjunction with Gemcitabine and Docetaxel (gem/doce/pzb) for the Neoadjuvant Treatment of Soft Tissue Sarcoma (STS).”

  • Margaret von Mehren, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, “Phase II Study Evaluating the Role of Pazopanib in Angiosarcoma.”

  • Jennifer J. Wheler, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “Phase I Combination of Pazopanib and Everolimus in PI3KCA Mutation Positive/PTEN Loss Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors Refractory to Standard Therapy.”

The awardees responded to requests for proposals issued by the NCCN ORP to the 21 NCCN Member Institutions. Submissions were peer reviewed by the NCCN Ofatumumab Scientific Review Committee and the NCCN Pazopanib Scientific Review Committee. The awardees were selected based on several key components, including scientific merit, existing data, and the types of studies necessary to further evaluate the activity of the drugs.

The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at NCCN Member Institutions to facilitate all phases of clinical research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer. The NCCN ORP will use the grant from GlaxoSmithKline to support investigator-initiated clinical and correlative studies at its NCCN Member Institutions for ofatumumab and pazopanib. To date, this successful research model has received more than $34 million in research grants and provided 87 investigators with funding for clinical and correlative trials that have produced numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals.

New NCCN Patient Guidelines Help Patients Navigate the Maze of Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Significant advances in breast cancer treatment have brought encouragement to women with the disease, enabling them to live longer and without disease progression. Although the plethora of treatment options available provides clinical benefit to patients, it can also lead to them feeling overwhelmed and confused. To help patients with breast cancer understand their options and arrive at the best treatment plan, NCCN has developed a newly designed version of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Breast Cancer that includes important information on treatment recommendations and is presented in a straightforward, patient-friendly format. The updated resource is available free of charge on

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients are translations of the professional NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines), which physicians around the globe use when determining appropriate cancer treatment. Although breast cancer is a complex disease, the new layout of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients presents the same information that physicians use when making treatment decisions in an easy-to-understand format for patients.

New features of the redesigned NCCN Guidelines for Patients include:

  • Simplified sections of the algorithms or “decision trees” used in the professional guidelines integrated into a step-by-step treatment guide

  • A bulleted summary of main points after each section highlighting key subject matter

  • Tools such as a personal treatment record and specific questions to ask clinicians regarding tests, treatment, and clinical trials

  • Color diagrams illustrating the anatomy of the breast, tests, and possible procedures used in the treatment of breast cancer

  • Definitions of clinical terms posted in the sidebar of corresponding pages of text

  • Dedicated space for note-taking when discussing options with clinicians

Important clinical updates are also reflected in the NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Breast Cancer, including new sections on fertility and birth control for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. For patients with breast cancer whose disease has metastasized to their bones, a new treatment option has been incorporated into the guidelines to help prevent skeletal-related events, such as fractures and bone pain—issues that significantly decrease the quality of life of a patient with cancer. In addition, chemotherapy treatment options have been updated.

Through the support of the NCCN Foundation, NCCN offers a library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients including those for Non–Small Cell Lung, Ovarian, and Prostate Cancers, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Melanoma, Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, and Multiple Myeloma. All of these guidelines are available free of charge at, which also features informative articles for patients and caregivers.

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