Novel study of pancreatic cancer aims to give patients more treatment options
Just 3 percent of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials of experimental treatments. In a novel effort to boost that number, a national nonprofit is launching an unusual study — one that allows patients to move easily between several experimental therapies, without spending precious time trying to find and qualify for a new trial if the first one doesn’t help.
Once they’re in, they’re in.
“The current clinical trials system doesn’t match what a patient needs,” said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, which organized the $35 million “Precision Promise” platform announced on Tuesday. “This is all about doing that.”
The new approach raises some tough questions. It might be harder, for instance, to tease out the safety and efficacy of a treatment if patients shift from one to another. The trial aims to get around that obstacle by focusing on “progression-free survival,” or how long patients survive without the original tumor spreading. They will rapidly switch to another treatment if the cancer starts growing.
“It is a tricky trial design and there will be grey areas,” said Lynn Matrisian, chief research officer of the pancreatic cancer network. “This is a ‘signal-seeking’ trial so we are willing to accept some fuzziness in the data and are finding a balance between rigor and patient-centricity.” …Read More>>