The 50th annual meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) will see at its afternoon plenary session new insights and information related to breast, prostate and colorectal cancers and each funded at least in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) along with Data from phase III trials.

ASCO president Clifford Hudis is worried about the flight of money. Highlighting the importance of federally funded research Hudis noted that such funding are particularly important in research like comparative effectiveness research, new indications for older generic drugs, and improvement in quality of life. The profit savvy pharmaceutical companies are not keen to fund such research.

The life line for such research has been the NCI’s Cooperative Group Program has evolved in 2014. Today the process is smooth and apparently more efficient but also much smaller in size. The study which was presented at the conference has started much earlier before the process of streamlining had started.

Results of any research depend on the continuity of the process. Success in research warrants longstanding, year-after-year commitment to getting them done. The biggest question today, according to Hudis is who is going to plan, launch and complete the trials in the future?

ASCO is already tightening its belt and of the 575 federally funded experiments, only 169 have been completed.

An example of how critical federal funding is for new research is a project code named E3805, a NIH-financed experiment which revealed that inclusion of docetaxel to standard hormone therapy for men with newly diagnosed, hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (PC) extended survival by about 13 months. Even better results were obtained in patients whose cancer has metastasized. However since docetaxel is no more under the Patent protection regimen, companies are least interested in funding experiments based on such drugs.

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