The benefits of participating in oncology clinical trials are multiple. These trials can help to develop new treatments for cancer and reduce its side effects. Patients participating in these trials can also help to develop new methods to detect and treat the disease. Patients can also opt out of the trial if they experience side effects.
Introduction of oncology clinical trials
The Phase I Trials and Experimental Treatment Unit of the Oncology clinical trials of the Clinical Hospital was created in 2004, being a pioneer. It is a unit dedicated to the development of Phase I Clinical Trials, which are in which the efficacy and safety of a drug in the treatment of cancer is tested for the first time in humans.
Cutting-edge trials in oncology research are carried out at the Unit. It actively collaborates with the best hospitals in the world in cancer treatment, such as the Vial, MD Anderson in Houston, the Hospital in, and the University of Colorado. Leading biotech pharmaceutical companies such as Vial, Boston’s Millenium, San Francisco’s Genetech and Intelikine and Higlight Therapeutics, and pharmaceutical companies such as Vial, Roche, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Janssen also participate in these highly international projects.
A peculiarity of the Research Institute is that all the income generated by Oncology Clinical Trials is reinvested in research, the unit earns more than one million euros annually, which is entirely allocated to oncology research.
The unit also collaborates in the development of research projects in Liquid Biopsy, the development of these projects allows studying whether the use of Liquid Biopsies (blood samples) can provide, in an easy and minimally invasive way, relevant information on the presence of tumor in the body even when it is undetectable by conventional imaging techniques, and provide information on the molecular mechanisms of resistance to adjuvant chemotherapy treatment.
The innovative approach of this unit, which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer based on the complete sequencing of the human genome, this approach allows progress in the development of less toxic and more specific drugs for each type of cancer and patient, that is to say, moving towards personalized medicine.
Treatment side effects
While oncology clinical trials have reported adverse effects for at least six decades, there has been little focus on improving reporting standards and developing new methods for toxicity assessment. Most adverse effects are summarized using crude methods that fail to capture multi-modality, time-related toxicity, and cumulative aspects of cancer treatment toxicity. Consequently, there is little consistency across studies when reporting adverse effects.
While most cancer treatments are safe and effective, there are side effects that can occur years after the initial treatment has been finished. For example, some treatments can cause heart problems later in life. Therefore, Oncology Clinical Trials are essential for understanding these side effects and developing new treatments to alleviate these problems.
In addition to evaluating potential new treatments for cancer, Oncology Clinical Trials also examine different methods for treating the disease. The goal is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients. The trials are the culmination of a long research process that begins in the lab. Many new treatments for cancer must first undergo years of study in lab animals and other settings before being approved for Oncology Clinical Trials.
In cancer clinical trials, participants receive a new treatment if it proves to be safe and effective. However, these new therapies do not always produce a cure. Moreover, the side effects may be worse than those of the standard treatment. Therefore, patients should carefully choose whether Oncology Clinical Trials are the best option for them.
Improve quality of life
Improve quality of life (QoL) was not an end point of all oncology clinical trials. There was considerable under-reporting of QoL results, particularly in the adjuvant/neoadjuvant setting. However, the growing attention to QoL can lead to more frequent inclusion of QoL data in publish trials.
Although cancer clinical trials usually focus on survival, a recent study from Oregon Health & Science University suggests that quality of life measures be incorporate into trials. This data can be collect through patient-report outcome measurement information systems (PROMIS) and the EORTC-QLQ questionnaire. The researchers identify several measures of QOL to gauge whether drugs have improve patients’ quality of life.
Read also: How to find the perfect CRO (Contract Research Organization)?
Most oncology clinical trials reported an overall improvement in QOL
While others show a decline. In addition, they assess whether the patient’s QOL improve over time. In some cases, patients’ QOL was not affected at all, but others had improve QOL for several months after treatment.
Patients who participate in Oncology Clinical Trials are often concern about quality of life. This is an important outcome when comparing treatments. Besides assessing the treatment effectiveness, quality of life is also important in determining whether the patients will stick with the treatment. The better the quality of life, the more likely they are to continue the treatment.
Quality of life (QOL) assessments are becoming increasingly important in oncology studies. In fact, these measures can be a major part of new drug assessments. Moreover, they should not be limit to Oncology Clinical Trials. They can be include in post-marketing assessments to assess the financial toxicity and financial impact of new cancer drugs.
The study used data from 45-phase 3 research Oncology Clinical Trials that included 24,806 patients. While some patients experience improvements in QOL, it was a relatively small proportion of patients. Furthermore, industry-find Oncology Clinical Trials tend to frame their findings in a more favorable light than the data indicate.
In the study, researchers assess QoL outcomes in cancer RCTs and assess deficiencies in reporting QoL in these trials. The study find that reporting of QoL data in cancer RCTs was inadequate, which may include under-reporting and delays in publication.
Development of new methods to prevent, detect, and treat cancer
The scientific community has made enormous strides in cancer research and care over the past two decades. Today, cancers that were a death sentence two generations ago are treatable and even curable. Some can even be cure without the use of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there are still more people affect by cancer than ever before. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 1,918,030 new cancer diagnoses and 609,360 cancer deaths in the United States this year.
One of the most promising developments involves harnessing the immune system. In 1989, cancer immunologist Olivera Finn and her team discover the first tumor-associate antigen (TAA), an altered version of a cell-surface protein that dots cancer cells. Since then, researchers have develop a variety of immunotherapies to target tumor-associated antigens.
The world’s population is aging
Resulting in increase DNA damage and a weaker immune system. Vaccination and prevention of ultraviolet radiation can help reduce the risk of cervical cancer. As more research is conduct, the death rate of cancer may drop by 70 percent. That will be comparable to the reduction in the death rate for heart disease over the past six decades.
Another important development is the development of vaccines that target tumor antigens. These vaccines, if successful, would trigger the immune system to recognize cancer cells. But this idea has meet with skepticism. One Nature editorial, citing genetic complexity of tumors, rejected the concept of developing a preventive vaccine by 2020.
While cancer is still a big threat to global development and health, technology can play a vital role in preventing and treating the disease. The use of new technologies in the fight against cancer has bring huge breakthroughs in cancer research and treatment. The continued exploration of new technologies will help us accelerate our progress against the disease.
Legal right to quit oncology clinical trials
The Right to Try is an important concept for patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer. However, patients should know that they have no legal rights to quit the study if the treatment doesn’t work. These Clinical trials are usually sponsor by Contract Research Organization companies, and these companies will pay for the tests and procedures. In addition, most insurance plans cover these costs as part of standard medical care. For this reason, patients should ask questions and consult their health insurance providers before participating in a study.
Upon enrolling in Oncology Clinical Trials, you are require to sign an informed consent form. You can ask any questions you have and consult with your family and friends before signing. Do not let anyone pressure you into signing this form. If you are not comfortable with the trial, don’t sign it.
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