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Table 1 Excellence framework for assessing translational cancer research

From: Assessing excellence in translational cancer research: a consensus based framework

Excellence criteria Sub-criteria/questions to help peer-reviewers assess cancer centres
Theme 1. Organizational policies and strategies
Evidence for integration of Basic, Translational, and Clinical research with excellence in all areas Effective communication between multidisciplinary teams?
Centre is treating patients in at least 3 major cancer types at an internationally competitive level Sufficient patient volume?
Appropriate infrastructure?
Internationally recognized medical specialists?
Expertise level?
Mechanisms are in place for continuous quality assurance. Defined protocols for:
Output monitoring?
Peer review programs?
Ethical standards?
Teaching good practices?
Scientific misconduct provisions?
Theme 2. People management
Clear recruiting strategy to promote excellence Internationally competitive recruiting?
Attention for gender issues?
Independence of PIs is clearly defined Defined institutional support for PIs?
Incentives to improve leadership competencies in place?
The research program of PIs is regularly evaluated Scientific output?
Multidisciplinary activities?
Regular site visits?
Mechanisms are in place to involve basic researchers and clinicians in translational research Active participation of clinicians in basic/translational research?
Institute clearly facilitates participation?
Is interaction between clinicians and basic researcheffectively stimulated?
Number of clinicians participating in MD-PhD programs during last 5 years?
Mechanisms to promote collaboration with research teams outside the Centre Number and quality of joint output?
Partners are internationally leading?
Theme 3. Research infrastructure/competencies
Centre has internationally competitive facilities and proven forefront expertise in a substantial number of key areas. Prominence in number of the following areas:
- Identifying, validating, and designing rational Rx strategies directed at key molecular cancer targets?
- Surgery, innovative operation theaters.
- Radiotherapy infrastructure?
- Next generation sequencing and other “omics”?
- Bioinformatics and computational biology (both infrastructure and innovation)
- Robotic screening (drugs, shRNA, siRNA)?
- Advanced microscopy facilities (e.g. confocal, lifetime imaging, flow cytometry etc)?
- Clinical imaging and innovative modalities?
- Prominence in area of animal model systems?
- State of the art biobank with clinical informatics linked with genomic and other data?
- Patient registry with strong biostatistical support?
- PK, PD monitoring phase 1/2 clinical trials?
- Pharmaceutical production/formulation?
- Production biologicals for use in patients?
- Molecular pathology?
- Good interface with chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics etc?
- Population studies and resources such as cohorts?
- Health economics; primary care links; early detection programmes?
- Technology Transfer support?
- Other?
Theme 4. Clinical (trial) management
Clinical trials are well designed Number of innovative aspects:
- Has it performed groundbreaking proof of Concept trials? Were these based on molecular tumor parameters?
- Innovative stratification of patients (adaptive trial design)?
- Investigator-initiated trials?
- First in man?
- Substantial fraction of phaseI/II trials?
- Advanced modeling (e.g. PDX)?
Centre utilizes an internal review system to select for the most innovative and promising protocols. Evidence that this has lead to innovative trials over a 5-year period?
Patients enrolled in clinical trials A substantial fraction (>10%) of patients is enrolled in phase I/II trials?
Continuous improvement of the quality of patient care Appropriate monitoring with patient participation in the process?
Outcome is at forefront and based on patient mix treated Proper benchmarking?
Theme 5. Internationally recognized excellence
Research has resulted in changes in clinical thinking and practice – emphasis on physician investigators. - Examples to be listed.
- Best in class young and mid career physician-investigator faculty recruited and retained by the Centre
Is the Centre training and recruiting ever better physician/oncologist-investigators?
The Centre has an international reputation ranking it in the top 10% segment Evident from:
- Output related to size and expenditure based on independent benchmarking performed within last 3 years.
- Substantial impact is evident in all three research areas (basic, translational, clinical).
- High rating by international peers
- Prestigious collaborations
- Accreditation status
National/international awards
- Prestigious competitive grants obtained
Theme 6. Financial expertise
Efficient financial management and support Appropriate support for managing external grants and clinical research projects including contracts with industry.
A substantial fraction of income is obtained through funding bodies that employ a critical review process. Objective success in open competition for grants.