Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
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What is a Clinical Trial?


A clinical trial is a type of research study conducted with the help of patients to discover new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. Here at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) our researchers and physician scientists are dedicated to understanding the biology of cancer and applying that knowledge to develop more effective cancer therapies and prevention strategies. Clinical trials are an essential part of that process. These studies, and the volunteers who make them possible, are invaluable in our efforts to improve the care of patients with cancer.

A trial may span many years and is carefully monitored to assure each patient’s protection, which is our first priority. If your doctor offers you treatment through a clinical trial, your voluntary participation would play an essential part in the process of discovery. Nearly all cancer treatments used today were studied and made available to patients through clinical trials. 


Click here to view the Cancer Center's clinical trials online search tool.


Clinical Protocol & Data Management (CPDM) Office


The CPDM provides management and oversight functions for coordinating, facilitating, and reporting on the cancer clinical trials of the institutions that define the Center, whatever the study origin (local, industrial, NCI National Clinical Trial Network, or other). The CPDM provides infrastructure and administrative oversight of the Center's clinical research program and complements the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee (PRMC). It also provides a central location for cancer protocols, a centralized database of protocol-specific data (Velos), and an updated list of currently active protocols for use by Center investigators, including status reports of protocols. Quality control functions include centralized education and training services for clinical research nurses, clinical research and regulatory coordinators; study activation (timeline tracking); CPDM resource-allocation review; general oversight and leadership; patient accrual reporting; and a compliance core, which is responsible for central registration (including eligibility review), monitoring (institutional trials), and integration with the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee (DSMC) as non-voting members to ensure data integrity, while promoting patient safety. To review the Cancer Center's Data and Safety Monitoring Plan, click here.


CPDM Services

The CPDM is a centralized office composed of well-trained regulatory, financial, clinical, study management, and compliance personnel who promote uniformity and consistency in clinical research by providing support for principal investigators and patients. Clinical research nurses and clinical research coordinators have regular assignments with HICCC investigators and disease-specific research teams to build expertise in particular areas of oncology. CPDM personnel actively participate in disease-specific research in progress meetings, where:


  • Trials pending activation are presented and prioritized.
  • Patients in screening, active treatment, and/or long term follow-up are reviewed.
  • Potential study patients are identified.
  • Regulatory and/or other clinical research items are discussed to increase accrual, ensure patient safety, ensure regulatory compliance and promote teamwork, organization, and communication.


The CPDM allows for efficient and organized staff development and training, timely activation of clinical research protocols, optimal screening and recruitment of patients, data collection and submission, and quality control and compliance oversight.



  • Medical Director: Andrew Lassman, MD
  • Executive Director of Clinical Research Operations: Moshe Kelsen
  • Associate Director Clinical Operations: Frances Brogan, MSN RN OCN
  • Clinical Research Managers: Christina Corpuz, Ramona Jayasena, Ryan Shelton, Victoria Vulaj
  • Regulatory Manager: Barbara Santiago
  • Compliance Manager: Daniel Otap
  • Finance Manager: Daniel Sullivan


Contact information:

Clinical Protocols and Data Management Office
Moshe Kelsen, MBA
Executive Director, Clinical Protocol & Data Management Office Columbia University Medical Center Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
161 Fort Washington Ave.
Herbert Irving Pavilion
Mezzanine Level, M-207
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 304-5605


Frances Brogan, MSN, RN, OCN, CCRP
Research Nurse Manager
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Protocol and Data Management Office
161 Fort Washington Ave
Herbert Irving Pavilion Mezzanine
New York, New York 10032


Clinical Trials
Tasha Isles Smith, MA, MPH
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Columbia University Medical Center
Phone: (646) 317-0540



NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) at HICCC



The HICCC is home to one of only 12 Minority/Underserved NCORP sites in the country. This program is designed to promote participation in clinical trials by minority participants, is known for its advances in cancer screening, and has been rated one of the best in the country.  

New York City leads the nation in diversity, and the community we serve is 71 percent Hispanic and 14 percent black, with nearly one-third living below the poverty level. Cancer is the leading cause of reduced lifespan in this group. Through our M/U NCORP, we offer state-of-the-art cancer prevention and access to the latest clinical trials to all participants, but with a particular emphasis on serving the needs of these underserved populations.

If your doctor has recommended that you participate in a trial, or if you want to see what trials are currently available, you can access a full list of our NCORP trials here. Participants in our studies will become an important part of our search for new and more effective ways to deliver treatments to minority populations.  

We address issues related to cancer care in minority and underserved communities such as:  


  • Including minorities in current and future medical studies, leading to a better understanding of how new treatments and technologies work for different populations
  • Reducing the risk of developing cancer among minorities
  • Studying screening methods and their effectiveness in reducing cancer for these groups
  • Improving outcomes after treatment
  • Expanding access to cancer care
  • Increasing the quality of care
  • Improving our patients’ quality of life
  • Evaluating new methods of diagnosis and treatment 


Our Trials


We offer a wide range of clinical trials, each of which focus on specific concerns. These studies explore:


  • How cancer develops
  • Ways to reduce side effects of treatments
  • Monitoring patients after treatment
  • Identifying biomarkers that may indicate the likelihood of a recurrence
  • Treatment of precancerous conditions
  • Potential overdiagnosis and overtreatment of certain cancers


NCORP also examines the way minorities seek and receive health care. Often barriers to care arise from community and family perceptions, medical costs, and the relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient. By studying these barriers, we can learn how to address and alleviate the problems and increase access to and the effectiveness of cancer care.


Access the full list of our clinical trials here.



  • Principal Investigator: Kara Kelly, MD
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Andrew Lassman, MD
  • Program Administrator: Melissa Beauchemin, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON


Contact information:

NCORP Administration
Melissa Beauchemin, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON
Columbia University Medical Center
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
161 Fort Washington Ave.
Herbert Irving Pavilion
Mezzanine Level, M-207
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305-6254