The UK’s top cancer research agency is pushing sponsors, sites and investigators to retool their efforts to focus on cancer patients’ quality of life.
“We want to accelerate clinical research for the patient’s benefit,” National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) researcher Feng Li tells CenterWatch. “It’s the fastest way to translate data, really, into the patient experience.”
Toward that end, she and colleagues last week issued a set of research goals designed to give cancer survivors better as well as longer lives.
Some of the goals are aimed directly at the clinical trials industry. Among them, a challenge to come up with better ways to manage persistent pain — and to find the cause of and better ways to deal with lingering fatigue from cancer and cancer treatments.
Li’s team also urged researchers to find the “biological basis” for often debilitating side effects — and develop strategies to prevent or control (and not just mask) them.
But the institute isn’t just issuing a challenge or setting abstract goals. Li says her team plans to follow up with an unspecified amount in grants to fund clinical trials focused on finding answers and actually improving survivors’ quality of life.
As it stands, few scientists disagree that quality of life is increasingly important in research. The problem is, there are no clear directions on how to approach or tackle it, Lee says.
She notes that one of the biggest questions is how to capture or gauge quality of life in clinical trials — so a large part of the effort must include coming up with concrete measures.
“Once we have a really validated matrix, that can be very useful in clinical trials,” Li says.
The institute is a partnership of 19 different grant organizations, dedicated to accelerating cancer research and treatments to market. It spent two years putting together its research goals.
Some 2.5 million Britons are still alive after a cancer diagnosis in 2015 and the population of survivors is expected to nearly double by 2030.
Read the institute’s research goals here: https://bit.ly/2PPszSP.
-By Bill Myers