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Mayo Clinic Researcher to Direct Major Cancer Statistical Center

ROCHESTER, Minn. In a move that will improve efficiency and collaboration in cancer research, Mayo biostatistician Daniel Sargent, Ph.D., will become director of the Statistical Center for the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB), a national association of cancer researchers funded primarily by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

In his new position, Dr. Sargent will be integrating statistical, data management and information technology functions at Duke University with those of two NCI-funded groups already coordinated by Mayo Clinic - the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) and the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG).

"We will identify the best practices and solutions from each of these groups and apply those across all, focusing only on optimal function," says Dr. Sargent. He says this new model for cooperative group research meets the recent recommendations of the Institute of Medicine report on cancer clinical trials. The coordination of statistical functions will free up resources that can be redirected to other scientific activities, according to Dr. Sargent. A major component of the coordination is implementing a single, Web-based system for data collection and management for all three groups, reducing the technical and training burden at the hundreds of participating treating sites throughout the United States.

"Dr. Sargent's vision for this expanded and efficient model of cross-institutional collaboration is an improved approach to cancer clinical trials research," says Robert Diasio, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

"We are delighted that Dan is joining CALGB at this critical time to lead our biostatistical research program and to coordinate our statistical center infrastructure," says Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital, group chair of CALGB.

As center director, Dr. Sargent will assume the role of principal investigator on the NCI grant that provides in excess of $5 million annually to operate the CALGB Statistical Center. He also will direct 90 staff, at both Duke and Mayo, who are conducting NCI-funded research. Using the same research systems for all three research groups will naturally reduce the redundancy in research efforts that would have happened without collaboration.

"We fully support Dr. Sargent in this ambitious, but achievable plan which will enhance the efficiency and quality of research for the NCCTG," says Jan Buckner, M.D., Mayo Clinic, chair of the NCCTG.

"Dr. Sargent was highly successful with the transition of American College of Surgeons Oncology Group into state-of-the-art statistics and data systems, and I have no doubt that he will succeed with this new endeavor," says Heidi Nelson, M.D., Mayo Clinic, ACOSOG group co-chair.

Dr. Sargent, professor of both biostatistics and oncology at the Mayo Clinic, has led the cancer statistics group at Mayo for the last 10 years.

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