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NCCN Meeting More Educational Needs in the Oncology Community With New Learning Management System

In 2012, the NCCN will move into an exciting new age with regard to its educational activities. In the past, NCCN developed enduring materials for many activities and relied on outside vendors to host the content. However, in 2012, NCCN will invest in its own learning management system (LMS). NCCN has chosen to use the EthosCE Content Learning Management System for its live and enduring educational activities. This will increase reach, converting more of the 1.5 million unique annual visitors to into learners.

The system is an enterprise-level Web platform specifically designed to streamline and enhance the administration of continuing education (CE) activities. The platform integrates two industry-leading, open source Web platforms: Drupal Content Management System and Moodle Learning Management System. The system will enable NCCN to produce and manage a robust CE Web presence that offers real-time course registration, assessments, and certificate generation for live and enduring CE activities; integration with third-party applications; browser-based content publishing and Web 2.0 features; standards-based data exchanges via Web services; and a robust reporting engine for educational outcomes measurement.

The system will exist behind NCCN's already branded Web site and will integrate with the current content on The platform will be completely administered by NCCN through the Web to manage content, registration data, course delivery, assessments, certificates, and reports. Features include:

  • Centralized curriculum, assessment, and evaluation administration

  • Course information, pre-test, course materials, post-test, evaluation, application for credit, certificate, and follow-up evaluation

  • Grouping of courses by any category or topic

  • Support for multimedia course files including Flash, video, HTML, MP3, and PDF

  • Automated CE assessment scoring with feedback and certificate generation

  • Personal online CE transcripts available for learners to review, print, or download

  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education Program and Activity Reporting System (ACCME PARS) reports

  • 24/7 reports on program participation, test results, evaluation data, and certificates issued

  • Data export to other outcomes measurement platforms and databases

  • Integration of courses with discussion forums and calendars

Implementation of NCCN's LMS in the first quarter of 2012 will allow the organization to better serve its learner community with programs designed to meet the educational needs of oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals who manage patients with cancer. NCCN is accredited by the ACCME, the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation, and the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education.

Jai Pausch Speaks to the Value of In-Person Visits to a Loved One With Cancer in Latest Column

Acknowledging the emotional toll that cancer can have on friends and family of patients, Jai Pausch emphasizes the positive impact that their support and ongoing presence has on their loved ones well-being in her new “Ask Jai” column on NCCN. com. Ms. Pausch, who since caring for her late husband Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, has emerged in her own right as a nationally recognized spokesperson for caregivers, responds to a reader's question about the decreasing number of visitors coming to see his cancer-stricken wife in this month's column.

Ms. Pausch advises the reader that “it's time to rally the troops” and remind his wife's family and friends of the important role they play in her life. She notes that even a simple visit can have a lasting impact and make the patient feel safe, loved, and not alone.

“Ask Jai” is a monthly column on, the patient Web site of the NCCN. features the NCCN Guidelines for Patients and enhanced content for patients and caregivers.

Jai Pausch, who is a Board Member of the NCCN Foundation, welcomes questions from patients, caregivers, and the general public. Questions can be submitted to the “Ask Jai” column by emailing

NCCN Receives $4 Million in Oncology Research Funding from GlaxoSmithKline

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Oncology Research Program (ORP) has been awarded $4 million in the form of two research grants from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop studies to scientifically evaluate and define GSK2118436, a BRAF inhibitor, and GSK1120212, a MEK1 and MEK2 inhibitor. Previous research has indicated that BRAF mutations are strong targets for therapies in the treatment of advanced melanoma.

The first phase of the program will involve the establishment of Request for Proposals Development Teams for the two novel inhibitors to evaluate existing data and define the types of studies necessary to further evaluate the activity of both drugs.

GSK2118436 is an investigational drug that is orally bioavailable and inhibits BRAF. Activating mutations in BRAF are present in approximately 50% to 60% of melanoma and approximately 8% of all cancers. The mutation appears to have a direct role in activating the MAP kinase pathway, which controls processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and apoptosis (cell death).

GSK1120212 is also an investigational drug that is orally bioavailable and inhibits MEK. MEK is a key component of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway that regulates cell growth. Constant and unregulated activation of this pathway has been implicated in many cancers. MEK 1/2 are thought to play a role in the activation of key signaling pathways that regulate cell growth. In BRAF mutant melanoma, MEK activation is a driver of the disease.

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 in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer. The NCCN ORP will utilize the grant from GlaxoSmithKline to support investigator-initiated clinical and correlative studies at its NCCN Member Institutions. 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.

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