Friday, June 14, 2013

Promising Changes in Cancer Drug Clinical Trials

A recent news article in NATURE describes a novel thrust in cancer drug development. An organization called Friends of Cancer Research has convinced the US National Cancer Institute and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support a new model for late stage clinical trials. Based on the previous success of the pioneering I-SPY-2 and BATTLE trials, the idea is to streamline the drug-approval process by bringing pharmaceutical companies together to test multiple experimental drugs under a combined ‘master protocol’. While this concept makes a huge amount of sense, it had previously been resisted by pharmaceutical companies who were concerned about loss of intellectual property. Now, however, frustrations with and escalating costs of drug development are bringing companies to consider new models such as this one.

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