U.S. cancer trials near state of crisis, report

The U.S. government’s cancer research network is in severe disarray according to a report by the Institute of Medicine. Waste and inefficiency cause 40% of all late-stage government funded cancer trials to be abandoned before completion, the report found. Shannon Pettypiece at Bloomberg.com and Liz Jones at FierceBiotech say the report paints a doomladen picture.

"The system used to conduct cancer clinical trials in the U.S. is 'approaching a state of crisis,' with waste and inefficiency creating difficulties for those wanting to undertake these studies," Jones writes.

The National Cancer Institute supports a network of clinical studies. The largest component of this group is the Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program. For 50 years, the program has played a key role in testing promising therapies. And while it has made many important discoveries over the years, multiple layers of oversight have made the system "inefficient and cumbersome." According to the IOM's report, the average time it takes to design, approve and activate a clinical trial is two years, and only half of the trials undertaken are completed.

"Stagnant and declining funding, inefficient processes, extensive and complex government oversight, and a lack of resources," have contributed to the program's difficulties in translating research into "timely clinical applications," according to the report. Recognizing that there is a problem, NCI Director John Niederhuber asked the IOM to come up with recommendations to improve the system.

IOM says the following goals should guide the improvements to the current system: Enhancing the speed and efficiency of the design, launch, and conduct of clinical trials; making optimal use of scientific innovations; improving selection, prioritization, support, and completion of clinical trials; and fostering expanded participation of both patients and physicians.

More on this topic at Bloomberg: Cancer Research by U.S. Disorganized, Underfunded, Study Says

Report: U.S. cancer trials are in a state of crisis FierceBiotech

Read more: http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/report-u-s-cancer-trials-are-state-crisis/2010-04-16#ixzz0lIdf2J4B

Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program

A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI Cooperative Group Program