Drs El-Khoueiry and Hughes-Halbert on the Importance of a Multidisciplinary Approach in Cancer Care

Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD, and Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD, discuss their role within the Stand Up To Cancer® 4-team initiative, focusing on diversity in early-phase clinical trials.

Anthony B. El-Khoueiry, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine, the Division of Medical Oncology, member, the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program, director, the Phase I Drug Development Clinical Program, medical director, the Clinical Investigations Support Office, the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck Medicine of USC, and Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD, associate director, Cancer Equity, professor, vice chair of research, the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck Medicine of USC, discuss their role within the Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) 4-team initiative, focusing on diversity in early-phase clinical trials.

El-Khoueiry and Hughes-Halbert explain that the goal of the initiative is to focus efforts on eliminating enrollment barriers to early-phase trials in diverse populations within Los Angeles County at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

This project harnessing the knowledge of experts from different fields, including medical oncology, health services research, implementation sciences, and patient and community engagement, Hughes-Halbert explains. Using expertise from different areas will allow for the creation of feasible strategies that have the potential to be scaled up and disseminated across the country, Hughes-Halbert notes.

Despite the hope and benefit that these types of initiatives provide, it is important to note that there is still a long road ahead, El-Khoueiry continues. In the future, there will need to be active involvement from different areas of expertise, including involvement from community and umbrella organizations, such as SU2C, El-Khoueiry emphasizes, adding that it is important that clinicians continue to learn and build on these steps.

Lastly, it is important to partner with the organizations that oversee clinical trials, including the FDA and the National Cancer Institute, to work on improving the development process for designing clinical trials, El-Khoueiry says. By improving the design of clinical trials, it may be possible to make eligibility criteria more flexible and allow the delivery of these treatments in community settings, he adds. By creating flexible models that preserve quality, safety, and compliance, expanded access is a feasible goal, and this will be vital for the future of the cancer treatment landscape, El-Khoueiry concludes.

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