The case of the disappearing cancer trials

The vast majority of Phase II cancer therapies go nowhere, according to researchers investigating the fate of 200 drug trials. Only 13 percent of the cancer drugs make it to Phase III, they say, with the rest often the victims of a lack of trial volunteers or money. The real culprit, though, could be the career demands of young oncologists. Many are encouraged to publish the results of studies in order to advance, says this study, prodding them to advance therapies into small mid-stage trials with no real expectation that they will go on to Phase III. They get the "lead researcher" billing and the drug goes nowhere.

"It is clearly impossible for a young investigator to run a large Phase III study," lead author Ian Tannock noted. "And they just don't get the academic kudos for entering patients into a potentially practice-changing phase III study that they do from running a 20-patient phase II study."

- read the article from HealthDay