Clinical trials are a vital part of the world of medicine as they help develop important new drugs. One of the most crucial areas for clinical trials is cancer, particularly childhood cancers. Clinical trials are always going to be important for child cancer patients, and survival rates depend on successfully trialing new drugs to aid in the ever-changing world of cancer treatments.
Phase 3 and Phase 4
Clinical trials for cancer work across four separate stages. Each of the main stages of testing works to test a different feature of the drug, including safety, effectiveness, optimal dosage and the treatment regimen for the drug. The third phase of a clinical trial looks at survival or decrease rates compared to previous treatments. Phase 4 will begin after phase 3 and looks at a wider collection of patients.
Cancer Survival Rates
From the 1970s to the 2000s, childhood leukaemia survival rates for five years after diagnosis have increased from 48 to 84 per cent. If a child is diagnosed with cancer, they have the option of becoming involved in a clinical trial. If they do not want to take part, they will receive the standard type of treatment that is used in the trial, but their results won’t be recorded as part of the trial. The children who do take part are randomly assigned either the standard treatment or the new experimental treatment.
In order to collate more data, the use of bridging studies, such as those provided by http://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/bridging.php can be helpful. This is because they look at data from a more diverse group of people. A bridging study can look at other races to determine the right course of treatment or find out if it makes a difference. The extra studies they execute work to “build a bridge” with foreign clinical data in order to look further into the issues of safety, efficacy, dose response and treatment programme.
With the combination of phase 3 and 4 clinical trials and the use of an appropriate bridging study, childhood cancer survival rates can continue to rise as more useful data is gathered. If parents can also learn that clinical trials are a good thing for their child to take part in, this will work alongside the other improvements in cancer research to continue to develop effective new drugs.