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M. D. Anderson to Host First-of-Its-Kinds Ethics in Cancer Research Conference

M. D. Anderson News Release 02/06/08


In an effort to enhance the understanding of federal regulations related to clinical cancer research and to better protect patients who participate in clinical trials, The University Of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is hosting Ethics and Compliance in Oncology Research (ECOR) April 5-7, 2008.

The first-of-its-kind conference focused primarily on cancer research, ECOR will explore the complex issues faced when conducting clinical trials of potential new therapies involving patients.

“There are certainly other ethics conferences, but to the best of our knowledge there has never been such a conference specific to cancer,” says Maurie Markman, M.D., vice president for clinical research at M. D. Anderson and co-chair of the event. “On a national level, we felt it was very important to bring together academics, ethicists, industry sponsors, institutional review board professionals and governmental regulators to discuss how we can optimize safety for patients in a rapidly changing environment.”

Cancer research magnifies all of the challenges facing clinical ethics today, explains Markman. Patients enrolled in clinical trials might experience a feeling of coercion because of the nature of a patient’s disease and the limited options available to them. The risks involved in cancer research are usually high because disease progression often carries a lot of complications and the drugs used to fight the disease have the potential to be very toxic.

Topics that will be addressed at the conference include: conducting ethical Phase I studies; issues in oncology research design; clinical trial contracts; conflict of interest management; tissue and data repositories and expanded access programs.

“Investigators conducting cancer trials recognize the sensitive issues involved in the recruitment and treatment of cancer patients in clinical research, especially when Phase I and II trials are involved,” says Paul Papagni J.D., executive director for clinical research at M. D. Anderson. “This conference will provide us with the opportunity to share best practices with other cancer centers by discussing what we do and how we can do it even better.”

Through the conference, organizers hope to:

  • identify best oncology research practices for improving compliance with the federal, state and local regulations;
  • incorporate novel concepts in conducting early targeted therapy studies;
  • explore and discuss issues in oncology research design, clinical trial contracts and intellectual property issues, conflict of interest management, tissue and data repositories and expanded access programs.

The two-and-a-half day conference includes a free pre-conference best practices and benchmark collaboration session on Sat., April 5.

Both Markman and Papagni hope to make the conference an annual event and that working groups are established so that issues are addressed on an ongoing basis.

Continuing Medical Education credits will be offered for physicians attending ECOR.

Registration is encouraged by March 21, 2008; the cost of the conference for early registrants is $600. For more information about the conference or to register, log on to the Web site at

With more than 12,000 patients taking part last year, M. D. Anderson conducts one of the largest clinical trials programs for cancer in the world. 02/06/08

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center