The "Group C" treatment IND was established by agreement between FDA and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The Group C program is a means for the distribution of investigational agents to oncologists for the treatment of cancer under protocols outside the controlled clinical trial. Group C drugs are generally Phase 3 study drugs that have shown evidence of relative and reproducible efficacy in a specific tumor type. They can generally be administered by properly trained physicians without the need for specialized supportive care facilities. Group C drugs are distributed only by the NIH under NCI protocols.
Although treatment is the primary objective and patients treated under Group C guidelines are not part of a clinical trial, safety and effectiveness data are collected. Because administration of Group C drugs is not done with research intent, FDA has generally granted a waiver from the IRB review requirements. Even though FDA has granted a waiver for these drugs, an IRB may still choose to conduct a review under its policies and procedures. The usage of a Group C drug is described in its accompanying "Guideline Protocol" document. The Guideline Protocol contains an FDA-approved informed consent document which must be used if there has been no local IRB review.