Cancer treatment clinical trials may help patients to obtain effective therapy faster. 8
Cancer patients must be aware of latest clinical trials. But patients should also understand the limits and goals of clinical trials. Eminent oncologist explains how getting into the correct clinical trial may help to get best cancer treatment. Clinical trials are a key element to bring new cancer treatments to patients. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. How does the clinical trials help cancer patients to get better cancer treatments? How clinical trials of cancer medicines help to get cancer effective therapy faster? Dr. Bruce Chabner, MD. I’ve been in the oncology field a long time. I’ve been in a cancer research efforts since 1967. I hate to admit it. It’s that far back! Things were very different then. The primary criterion for approving a cancer medication was the survival of cancer patients. This is a criteria to making a new cancer medication available to patients nationally. Cancer cancer medication had to increase the life expectancy. So that was the gold standard in those days. Dr. Bruce Chabner, MD. There were some cancer medications approved with lesser standards. But usually it took a period of 7 to 10 years to complete the clinical trial of a cancer medication. Then you could say. Yes, this is an effective cancer medication. We can we can now give it to a patient. We can sell it. So the pharmaceutical industry was not very encouraged to participate in cancer medication development. There were not many ideas. We didn’t understand cancer all that well. Fortunately, a few really effective cancer medications came along. It was Taxol, Cisplatin, Doxorubicin. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. These are key cancer medications to treat cancer. We still use them. Each of these cancer medications took a long time in clinical development. It was really painful. Eventually we got the kind of information that would convince the Food and Drug Administration to approve the cancer medication. Dr. Bruce Chabner, MD. A major change took place about 15 years ago. There was a development of targeted cancer medications. It now became possible to find better cancer medications. This immediately provided a benefit in cancer clinical trials. Before we had a 10-year period of medication development. Now the medication development period was much shorter. It could be 2 to 3 years. We had to go through these long complicated cancer medication development plans. We had to do comparisons of Group A versus Group B. One group of cancer patients was treated with the cancer medication. The other group was not treated with the cancer medication. Now we can just do an initial clinical trial. We do it in a very carefully selected cancer patient population of patients. We can show that cancer medication is outstandingly effective. It produces cancer responses. It induces tumor shrinking. The majority of cancer patients are living longer than they would with standard treatment. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. So there has really been a revolution in the cancer medication approval process. The Food and Drug Administration here in the US approves cancer medications rapidly. In Europe the similar body that governs availability of cancer medications in Europe. Dr. Bruce Chabner, MD. Approval of new cancer therapy is based on these early clinical trials. We can bring a cancer medication to market much faster now than we could in the past. So that certainly helps cancer patients to be selected better. Dr. Anton Titov, MD. Patients potentially be treated during the clinical trial. That’s correct! You raise an important point. It’s important for patients with cancer to be aware of the fact. Experimental cancer medication trials can be very effective. If you get into the correct clinical trial. If you have the “correct” tumor. You have to do genetic testing of your tumor. Dr. Bruce Chabner, MD. You find the correct cancer treatment clinical trial. Then you can get much benefit out of new cancer treatment at a very early point.
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