Importance of Clinical Trials
Virtually everything that we know about breast cancer treatment or any kind of cancer treatment or really any kind of anything treatment has been learned through the careful process of clinical trials. We all stand on the shoulders of women who have enrolled in trials as part of their treatments. Personally, I was part of a trial the first time that I had breast cancer in 1993. That one was to look at scheduling of treatments. Specifically, I had the first cycle of chemotherapy and then began radiation therapy one week later--meaning that, for the radiation therapy course of six weeks, I was receiving both chemotherapy and radiation. Since I had never done it any other way, I have no way to know whether it was harder or not. Certainly was manageable. The second time, there were no relevant clinical trials, so I didn't have the opportunity to participate.
This is from Oncology Stat about the changing cultures of clinical trials. Here is an excerpt and then a link to read more. The bottom line is this: PLEASE consider enrolling in appropriate clinical trials.
Changing the Culture of Clinical Trials: Reviving a Failing Effort
2010 Sept 22, Lee Schwartzberg, MD, FACP, Editor-in-Chief
Cancer research is in big trouble. Surprised? Take issue with this statement? Yes, we know vastly more about what makes a cancer cell tick than we did a decade ago. A technical tour de force such as fully sequencing the cancer genome has been
successfully performed, not just once but a dozen times. Not a day goes by without a report on personalized cancer care coming soon to a clinic near you. So what's the problem?
Lagging enrollment in US oncology trials
The fundamental issue is that not enough patients are enrolling in clinical studies for us to translate the scientific advances into clinical gains. Several hundred drug candidates are in the pipeline, yet only a few trickle through to successful phase III trials leading to FDA approval. Recent reports have been very troubling. A well-publicized report issued by the federal government1 noted that more pivotal studies are being conducted outside the United States than within the country, and concerns exist about oversight and conduct of clinical trials performed beyond the confines of North American and Western Europe. The US pharmaceutical and biotech industries remain robust in performing preclinical discovery and development of anticancer drugs; yet
when it comes to pursuing clinical trials as a country, we are failing.