Oncology Holds Top Two Spots for Most Studied Diseases in 2023, Report Shows
A 2023 analysis conducted by clinical research analytics firm Phesi shows that breast cancer was the most heavily researched disease area for the third year in a row, followed by solid tumors and stroke.
Slightly more than 1,200 global breast cancer trials were open for recruitment last year, according to Phesi’s newly released report, which tapped into data from its clinical trial database to analyze 65,749 recruiting trials in total.
Solid tumors came in second place at approximately 800 recruiting global trials, while stroke placed third with approximately 700 recruiting global trials. Rounding out the top five were COVID-19 and prostate cancer, which hovered around 600 trials each.
While the therapeutic areas inhabiting the top five list haven’t changed in the past two years, their order has, according to Phesi. Specifically, stroke rose into the top three after holding the fifth spot in 2022, while COVID-19 dropped from second to fourth place, prostate cancer fell from third to fifth, and solid tumors moved from fourth to second place.
Source: Phesi Global Data Analysis Most Studied Disease Areas: January 2024
“Of particular note is the increase in solid tumor trials, with many pressing ahead after delays caused by COVID-19. These trials are likely to be the foundation of innovative cancer therapies, and investment in this area is a promising sign for patients,” the report reads. “Meanwhile, trials for COVID-19 therapies decreased in 2023 and are likely to continue to decline, with fewer available patients making investment in this area less attractive.”
Additionally, Phesi analyzed phase 2 trial attrition rates, finding that this phase of research continues to see a rise in trial cancellations as it did in 2022. Nearly one-third of trials were canceled during phase 2 in 2023 compared to just one-fifth of phase 2 trials seeing cancellation in the prepandemic era.
This phase 2 trial attrition is likely to have negative implications down the line for phase 3 trials, says Phesi, which noted that “while there was a slight improvement in cancellation rates in the second half of the year, the analysis shows that 2024 will pose further challenges to portfolio managers and trial planners.”
Access the full report here.