Clinical trials are nothing new, but now research is suggesting that they could be of more benefit to oncology patients than previously thought, with trials providing a stable dollar return, as well as extending the life of cancer patients involved.
The research behind the findings
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle looked at patient trial groups sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. Faculty member Joseph M Unger and his research team collected data between 1965 and 2012, covering 23 SWOG trials of US patients.
SWOG, which is NCI sponsored, is a collaboration of cancer researchers from various departments in the US and six additional countries, first developed in 1956. The network allows for collaborative and multifaceted research into the prevention and the treatment of cancer by drawing on the resultantly increased knowledge, skills and resources on offer.
After making the necessary age adjustments for analysis, the dollar return was calculated as the sum investment by NCI divided by the gain in terms of life years of the patients. It was found that over 3.34 million life years were added as a result of the trials by 2015, with a return on the initial NCI investment of $125 per each of these years. Such findings suggest a substantial benefit to the trials and consequently to future cancer patients and the public worldwide.
What does this mean for the future?
With such potential benefits, clinical trials are likely to continue and grow over the years. Trials are undertaken worldwide and patient recruitment services, such as those at http://www.richmondpharmacology.com/patient-recruitment.php, can help with the identification of suitable participants, which is likely to become an increasingly important element as research continues.
In the UK, Cancer Research UK funds and supports over 250 clinical trials, taking on 25,000 patients each year – http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/our-research/our-research-by-cancer-subject/our-research-on-clinical-trials-and-new-treatments. This has allowed for the development of new drugs, more accurate methods of diagnosis, improvements to current treatments and their side effects, and, in many cases, extended life for those involved in the tested treatments.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre study has suggested that clinical trials are imperative for pushing forward research because they can have significant benefits on the survival rates and length of life for patients involved, as well as being financially viable with a stable return on the original investment.