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The Cancer Research Network is a consortium of several not for profit research entities that are
affiliated with integrated healthcare delivery systems, or HMOs... The basic purpose of the
Cancer Research Network is to provide support to conduct cancer research in these settings.
The CRN's real unique positioning is that it provides the opportunity to really conduct
high quality population sciences research in cancer in a way that no other setting can.
A number of years ago, now almost 15 plus years ago, the National Cancer Institute was
interested in trying to look at the potential for creating a population laboratory to study
a whole host of cancer related issues in populations, but in populations within the context of the
healthcare they receive. That was why we first created the Cancer Research Network.
It's very clear that research within the context of healthcare delivery systems is what is
needed to help us really understand how to make progress in health care reform.
One of the key aspects of the CRN settings, like other delivery settings, is that you
can focus on the process of implementation. It's really difficult to do that if you don't
have access into a healthcare delivery system, either health care or public health. But at
a CRN site, you can study how practitioners, the physicians, the nurses, and then other
people - system leaders, managers - will respond to your intervention in a real time setting.
So you don't just have the advantage then of evaluating how well an intervention or
a new program works with patients, but also with their care deliverers. And that's a real advantage of working with the CRN.
Our goal really is to bridge connections between
cancer researchers who are in the network as well as those who are outside of the network
who are interested in cancer research in our kinds of settings.
Millions of people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and while now the majority of people
are going to survive for five years following that cancer diagnosis, we still have many
many people who are dying of their cancer and it's just unacceptable. We are working
really hard within the Cancer Research Network and broadly within cancer research to end
cancer, so that we don't have to watch people die.
We know that if we just apply what we know will be good for patients, we will make huge
gains in public health, and the Cancer Research Network, because of the ability to look across
multiple patient populations, multiple regions across the country, multiple different kinds
of health care delivery and with complete data on the care they receive, we can actually
study, much more concretely, how we can improve care.