Global Policymakers Urged to Accelerate Cancer Reseach through Academic-Industry Collabrations

The Washington DC based National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) has joined others in calling on the global cancer research community to develop more effective collaborations and alliances designed to accelerate the deveopment and delivery of promising new drugs and treatments to patients.

Speaking on behalf of NPAF, Charles M. Balch, M.D., FACS, Chair of NPAF’s Scientific Advisory Committee and Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, issued the call based on the conclusions of a landmark white paper – Securing the Future of Innovation in Cancer Treatment. The white paper conclusions should not come as a shock to anyone. First, the biggest obstacle facing cancer researchers and biopharmaceutical manufacturers is the high cost of getting promising new treatment to patients – a recent TUFTS\DUKE Study estimated the cost of a new drug development and delivery is now $2.46 Billion. Secondly, the inefficiencies in the clinical trials process, increasing regulatory requirements and delays in review decisions, all add years and millions to scientific discovery and drug development process. Finally, the lack of collaboration at the academic research level is astonishing and needs to change. Universities should cultivate a culture of open innovation and shared responsibility as part of the paradigm shift into the innovation economy.

“Given these trends, it is imperative that cancer research is accelerated: it is the only way nations will improve patient outcomes, reduce the costs of cancer care and increase productivity,” said Dr. Balch. “Cancer already costs governments around the world $1.16 trillion annually and there is little hope of bending the cost curve unless there is continued progress in preventing, detecting, diagnosing and treating the more than 200 types of cancer through cancer innovation.”

On a global level, policy recommendations include:

1) Facilitating collaboration among biopharmaceutical companies and research institutions to speed drug development by creating common clinical trial protocol templates, developing clinical trial networks and establishing a global investigator registry;
2) Establishing a centralized hub from which clinical trials data, particularly outcomes data, that can be accessed and shared among government and non-government stakeholders;
3) Utilizing more standardized review processes that will allow for more predictability and should lead to quicker approvals and denials; and,
4) Advancing policies that support shared decision-making, a new hallmark for patient-centered care where patients and clinicians decide together on the course of treatment based on each patient’s needs and goals

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