US Oncology Research Recognizes Outstanding Investigators and Oncology Practices for Their Contributions to Clinical Research by Launching the Prestigious Centum Club

November 16, 2015

14th Annual Science Forum promotes excellence in clinical research, honors leading researchers

The Woodlands, Texas (Nov. 16, 2015) — US Oncology Research held its 14th Annual Science Forum earlier this fall. The annual meeting for all US Oncology Research affiliated investigators was held in Dallas and featured scientific presentations, disease committee meetings and a special awards ceremony for the unveiling of the prestigious Centum Club, created to honor individuals and oncology practices that have made significant contributions to clinical research.

The two-day event is designed to highlight the importance of clinical trials as a treatment option, as well as recognize individuals and practices who have demonstrated a major commitment to making clinical trials available to patients. Investigators convened to discuss and exchange thoughts on the latest scientific approaches and novel treatment strategies. Topics of discussion included: immunotherapy, applications of cancer genomics, management of germ cell tumors, radiotherapy management of breast cancer and much more.

“The latest breakthroughs in understanding cancer and improving quality of life for cancer patients start with these dedicated individuals and practices that are committed to developing new and novel therapies in the fight against cancer,” said Michael Seiden, MD, chief medical officer, The US Oncology Network and McKesson Specialty Health. “We are proud to honor these hard-working researchers and their dedicated staff who are playing a major role in advancing cancer research.”

US Oncology Research, supported by McKesson Specialty Health and The US Oncology Network, is one of the largest community-based oncology research programs in the United States specializing in oncology clinical trials. Physicians affiliated with US Oncology Research have enrolled more than 61,000 patients in over 1,400 clinical trials. The organization has played a role in more than 50 FDA-approved cancer therapies, nearly one-third of all cancer therapies approved by the FDA to date, including eight in the past 12 months.

“Providing patients access to clinical trials is a critical part of delivering high-quality comprehensive care,” explained Donald Richards, MD, PhD, oncologist with Texas Oncology. “When patients receive these cutting-edge, investigational treatments in a convenient community-based setting close to home, they have the support of family and friends and a better chance for optimal outcomes.” Dr. Richards, who is Chair of the US Oncology Research GI Committee and Site Research Leader for Texas Oncology’s Tyler/Longview facility, was one of two physicians who received the Highest Accruing Investigators Award.

Sharon Wilks, MD, FACP, site research leader for Texas Oncology in San Antonio, was the recipient of the other Highest Accruing Investigators Award. “It is very exciting to play a role in bringing new advancements from the laboratory to the patient,” she stated. “Many of these promising clinical trials have led to breakthroughs that resulted in life-saving treatments that changed the way we deal with this disease. It is very rewarding to know that in addition to caring for our patients we are also working towards a cure.”

“Clinical investigation is critical for evaluating new treatments and combinations of therapies that may provide more promising treatment options for patients,” said Allen Cohn, MD, site research leader for Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Denver, recipient of the Highest Accruing Site Award with more than 1,900 patient accruals. “Our patients who participate in these trials are the true champions of clinical research who bravely step forward into unknown territory. They play a key role in advancing the fight against cancer, and all of us in the cancer community owe them a great debt of gratitude.”

Among the many significant contributions of investigators in the Centum Club, Svetislava J. Vukelja, MD, FACP, oncologist with Texas Oncology, was recognized for accruing more than 1,000 patients to clinical trials. Also in the Centum Club is Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, oncologist with Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, with 363 patient accruals. “It is very rewarding to be part of US Oncology Research, since it provides our patients access to novel, experimental therapies that may improve their lives as well as those of patients for years to come. It also gives us the opportunity for inclusiveness of all oncology medical fields into the research, including surgeons, medical oncologists, hematologists and radiation oncologists,” said Vogelzang.

Click here (PDF, 458 KB) for the complete listing of Centum Club members recognized during the 14th Annual Science Forum for their contributions to clinical research.

“I am extremely proud of all of our award winners across the US Oncology Research affiliated sites. Their hard work, dedication and commitment to clinical research advance the quality and science of cancer care while improving patients’ lives,” concluded Dr. Seiden.

About US Oncology Research

Supported by McKesson Specialty Health and The US Oncology Network, US Oncology Research draws from a network of experienced investigators and dedicated clinical staff who specialize in oncology clinical trials. US Oncology Research serves 60 research sites and 165 locations managing about 300 active trials at any given time. Physicians in the research network have enrolled more than 61,000 patients in more than 1,400 trials since inception in 1992 and have played a role in more than 50 FDA-approved cancer therapies, nearly one-third of all cancer therapies approved by the FDA to date. For more information visit

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