Cancer patients take front line in early-stage trials

Frustrated by the long years of research needed to prove the effectiveness of a new cancer therapy, British officials have designated a network of 19 hospital units that will be allowed to administer early-stage experimental cancer drugs to terminal patients. John Gribben, a researcher at Bart's Hospital in London, told the Daily Telegraph that "We no longer have to wait to complete a study to see what happens to the cancer."

While likely to raise ethics concerns among some researchers using patients desperate to find a remedy for lethal cases of cancer, the new system could halve the 10 years that it currently takes to get an effective therapy onto the market. And Professor Gibben emphasizes that only patients with no hope of recovery will be placed in the pools of patients being assembled for these new studies. These studies will engage in dose-escalation tests, with small doses growing steadily larger as toxicity and efficacy are assessed.

- read the article in the Telegraph

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