Clinical trials key to find a cure

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On Clinical Trials Day, we are highlighting the importance of clinical trials in finding a cure for brain tumours.

Data from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (APBI) has outlined a 44% drop in the number of participants recruited to commercial clinical trials in the last five years. The number of industry trials initiated in the UK fell by 41% between 2017 and 2021.

The Government has appointed Lord James O’Shaughnessy to conduct an independent review into the UK commercial clinical trials landscape. The report is expected to be published next week and will offer recommendations on how commercial clinical trials can “help the life sciences sector unlock UK growth and investment opportunities” and advise on how to resolve “key challenges in conducting commercial clinical trials in the UK”.

Clinical trials are a vital stage of the translational pipeline which takes new drugs and treatments from the scientist’s bench to the patient’s bedside.

In its Pathway to a Cure Inquiry Report, the All-Party Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) – for which Brain Tumour Research provides the secretariat – highlighted a so-called “valley of death” in which potential new treatments discovered in the laboratory fail to reach patients because of unnecessary complexity in the way research is funded and calls for the research funding system to be more joined-up.

Dr Karen Noble, our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, said: “Currently, only 5% of brain tumour patients enter the limited number of trials available. As well as our campaigning, we are funding vital research to increase the number of clinical trials accessible to brain tumour patients. For example, the team at our new Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Cancer Research, led by Professor Chris Jones, will generate the laboratory data needed to support the application and launch of new clinical trials for children and young adults with paediatric-type diffuse high-grade gliomas (PDHGG).

“Fundamentally, any ambition to increase the number of clinical trials for brain tumour patients is underpinned by appropriate funding for early-stage science. Without this discovery research, there will be no throughput of new developments and trials will cease.”

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