Clinical trials article


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An overview on the benefits of clinical trials for cancer treatment.

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Clinical trials article

  1. 1. Clinical trials represent leading-edge medical science. However, less than 5% of adultsdiagnosed with cancer each year are enrolled in them. While there are a number of varioustreatment approaches being offered, 8/10 patients are not aware that this is a viable option forthem. If they are offering treatment options above and beyond the standard treatment, why arepatients not utilizing this valuable resource?Results from surveys and focus groups concluded that the vast majority of patients are unawareof clinical trials and doctors are not enrolling patients due to a lack of time, staffing, funding, andresources. Indeed, enrolling a patient in a trial requires a significant amount of time andresources for physicians. Furthermore, there are some serious misconceptions held by somephysicians and patients.Molecular targeted clinical trials need to be viewed separately from other trials.Since targeted trials are based on well-established molecular mechanisms, they do not requirelarge-scale studies to produce relevant statistical data. This is an important distinction as thetechniques used to identify the more general chemotherapy drugs currently being used, werebased on applying the same drug to many patients with a particular form of cancer, and did notconsider the genetic variation amongst the patients, their cancers, or diet. In the case of thesegeneralized and less stratified trials, large numbers of patients were needed to produce relevantstatistical data.A common myth is that a patient may receive a placebo (control group) instead of the treatmentbeing tested (single or double blind studies). However, clinical trials for cancer do not typicallyuse this approach. There are two considerations regarding this point. Firstly, if a placebo orcontrol group is used in a trial, it is almost always the standard treatment for that cancer that thepatient would have otherwise used. Secondly, most targeted clinical trials are open label and thepatient has the choice of what role they perform. Furthermore, if the tested drug starts to showsignificant benefits, the control group is given the option to switch to the drug as it would behighly unethical to deny a patient with a specific genetic marker, effective treatment.The use of molecular signatures in identifying optimal therapies has problems and benefits. (1) Molecular targeted clinical trials require expensive and complex genetic profiling. (2) Molecular targeted clinical trials provide a tool to address the heterogeneous nature of cancer and have far less side effects than general chemotherapy/RT.While the numerous variations of therapeutic approaches combined with the complexity ofnavigating the copious clinical trials databases has proved a daunting task, this effort can begreatly mitigated by having a statistically determined molecular outline that allows the user tofocus on finding trials based on pre-defined molecular variables (markers). Not only does thisapproach reduce the time and effort required, it allows for personalized treatments (better resultswith less side effects), reduces the patient burden for the doctor and medical system, andprovides scientific data. Furthermore, even if the patient is not accepted in the trial, they areprovided with important molecular data that can greatly improve further treatment efforts.And finally, using multiple targeted clinical trials allows the patient to greatly reduce the overallgenetic variation of their cancer, one trial at a time.The following link allows you to access clinical trials from over 174 countries! Rolland is a cancer researcher, educator, and CEO of Cancer treatment Options andManagement ( CTOAM is a personalized cancer research company thatspecializes in using the most current peer reviewed scientific research on cancer diagnostics,treatments, nutraceuticals, and clinical trials to educate patients on the treatments and diets thatprovide the best statistical chances for success.