Call to Action: Breaking Down Barriers for Patient Participation in Oncology Clinical Trials

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A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. For advanced cancer in particular, standard of care treatments have limited impact on long term patient survival. Precision Medicine is transforming cancer care for patients with early stage and advanced cancers alike. Next Generation Sequencing and other molecular tests are leading to the discovery and approval of a growing number of
effective targeted cancer therapies that are based on the molecular characteristics of tumors. 2015 was a banner year for advancing the availability of new therapeutic options for cancer patients. The FDA approved 14 new oncology drugs, up from 9 approvals in 2014.1 In addition, 13 new indications or formulations were added to previously FDA approved therapies.2 Many of these new drugs are targeted therapies directed at the tumor of patients identified to have particular molecular alterations. There is a growing amount of data demonstrating improved therapeutic response when patients are matched to targeted therapies based on their molecular profile.3,4 With this mounting validation and physician and consumer awareness, the utilization of NGS testing is increasing in both the academic and community oncology communities, and many hospital networks are launching precision medicine programs to provide greater access to molecular profiling to their patients with cancer.

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