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Access to clinical trials drives dramatic increases in survival from childhood cancer
Date:7/17/2012

tric Oncology at the Institute of Child Health, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust (London, UK), another author of the study, said: "The key message from this study is that clinical trials are good for you if you are a cancer patient. Taking part in clinical trials is considered best practice for most newly diagnosed childhood cancers now. This study shows how the increase in the proportion of children taking part in trials has gone hand in hand with improvements in survival. It also emphasises the importance of doctors working together to take the leadership role to make sure clinical trials and access to new treatments are available for children with cancer. Despite initiatives at a European level to incentivise the pharmaceutical industry, they still have a very poor track record in initiating or supporting clinical trials that could benefit children with cancer.

"The study also shows the importance of knowing how many children have cancer each year in the country, having detailed clinical information on the cancer type, including how many patients take part in a clinical trial, and being able to link this to survival for the whole population of children with cancer. Only in this way is it possible to track the impact of clinical trial availability and participation over time on survival from cancer."

The authors say they found no evidence that the absence of a trial resulted in a worsening of survival for children with those cancers, but the periods without an open trial between 1978-2005 were short, resulting in too few patients for formal comparisons. "Since the implementation of the EU Clinical Trials Directive in 2004, comprehensive trial portfolios are no longer available and intervals between trials have increased. As data for recent years mature, it will be important to investigate the effects on survival from childhood cancer at the population level in relation to trial entry, to address
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
European Society for Medical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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