Curing Cancer Clinical Trials

June 17, 2010

The Institute of Medicine has issued another groundbreaking report, this time on cancer clinical trials. An editorial about the report in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, Cancer Clinical Trials — A Chronic but Curable Crisis, makes some bold statements, such as, “the program is bloated, cumbersome, inefficient.” Slow approval processes with multiple layers and poor recruitment levels are symptomatic.

Recommended changes include improving:

  • the speed and efficiency of the design,
  • launch, and conduct of trials;
  • innovation in science and trial design;
  • trial prioritization,selection, support, and completion; and
  • incentives for patient and physician participation

The full IOM report lays out participation of key stakeholders, particularly patients and physicians. The emphasis on patient participation is strong and reminiscent of the e-Patient White Paper. While the concept of the Lethal Lag Time is not directly mentioned, the overtones can be heard. I recommend this report as key to the future of the conduct of clinical trials including innovative approaches.

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