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The National Cancer Institute extended its cooperative group agreement with the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG; Philadelphia) for an additional six years and awarded the group $60.5 million to carry out its research effort.

RTOG has received 36 years of continuous funding from the NCI and this award will sustain the group's efforts until 2014. RTOG is a national multicenter clinical trials organization dedicated to testing novel radiotherapy and combined modality approaches in pursuit of improving the survival and quality of life of patients with cancer.

RTOG is administered by the American College of Radiology (Reston, Virginia).

The independent panel convened by the NCI to review the accomplishments and future research plans of the group found that "RTOG has had a major impact on the technical quality of radiation delivery at all levels of the healthcare enterprise, since procedures adopted by RTOG are widely accepted beyond protocol studies."

The review panel rated RTOG's research accomplishments and future plans for patients with brain tumors, head and neck cancer and genitourinary cancer as outstanding.

RTOG's other major scientific research areas were rated as excellent: gastrointestinal cancer, lung cancer, advanced technology integration, health services and outcomes research, and translational research.

"The strength and breadth of RTOG's recent investigations and its innovative plans for future research is a testimony to the dedication, creativity, and intellectual rigor of our member investigators," said Walter Curran, Jr., the RTOG group chair and principal investigator of this award. "For over 40 years RTOG has set the standard for radiation therapy-related research both in the U.S. and internationally. NCI's award of the maximum term of funding is a validation of our research."

The NCI cooperative clinical research grant will help fund RTOG's roster of 37 clinical trials open to patient enrollment at more than 300 major research institutions in the U.S. and internationally.

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