The RSNA held its 12th Clinical Trials Methodology Workshop January 7-13 in San Diego, CA. This program offers intensive training in clinical trial design and statistics for academic radiology faculty from around the world. Morning didactic sessions are followed by small group sessions in which each “student” transforms a concept for their own clinical trial into a complete protocol, ready for submission upon return to their home institution. With a 1:1 faculty-student ratio, the trainees have ample opportunity to interact with all the faculty both within and outside of their protocol groups. The yield from this program is rewarding: by three years, half the students have done a trial, half have received grant funding, and all have multiple publications. More importantly, the skills acquired enable trainees to continue to develop future trials. In addition, the week-long immersion provides an intimate environment for networking among young academicians.
The majority of the IO literature consists of retrospective single institution studies. Interventional Oncologists needs to up their game to match the standards of our oncology colleagues. For the past few years, the SIO leadership has been encouraging major academic centers in North America and Europe to send junior faculty to the workshop. 25% of the students at the 2017 Workshop were IR’s, and another two were accepted to the program but were unable to attend. Topics were varied. Fred Deschamps from Institut Gustave Roussy in France (pictured) developed a Phase1/2 trial for a new percutaneous screw/cementoplasty device for pelvic fixation. Stephen Hunt from the University of Pennsylvania proposed immune checkpoint therapy with TACE for HCC. Matthew Lungren from Stanford University is studying TACE for pediatric HCC. Resmi Charalel of Cornell University is examining QOL in BCLC-C patients treated with TACE, sorafenib, or both.
The CTMW is a phenomenal resource from RSNA to grow the cadre of rigorously trained clinical trialists in IO. If we keep training a half-dozen IO faculty each year, we will soon see the payoff with publication of prospective controlled trials, improving the level of evidence for IR therapies, and increasing the impact factor of our journals.