Box 123 The aims of collaborators meetings

♦ To summarize the progress of the clinical research programme

♦ To bring collaborators up-to-date on the progress of the currently open trials

♦ To discuss any problems and how they can best be tackled

♦ To encourage those not entering patients into current trials to do so

♦ To discuss ideas for new trials and to explore likely levels of interest

♦ To coordinate with other trials groups over clinical research strategy

♦ To provide an update on developments in new treatment policies or associated research from invited experts

The results of recently completed trials will often suggest ideas for new trials. Ideas for new trials also emerge from the results of trials conducted by other groups discussed at meetings. Indeed, it is important to involve representatives from other groups for this purpose and also to consider collaborative or parallel trials, if appropriate, and to avoid unnecessary duplication.

It adds greatly to the interest in a collaborators' meeting if one or more experts on either clinical or basic scientific issues is invited to give a talk to bring the meeting up to date on the latest developments in the field. Topics might include, for example, national priorities, improved methods of staging, basic scientific studies and translational research on potential new treatment modalities, new developments in established treatments, and the assessment of quality of life.

The most important function of a collaborators' meeting is to provide an opportunity for discussion about ongoing trials and those being planned and ideas for future trials, and to get some feel for the level of support that new trials are likely to attract.

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