The Newsletter for Research Professionals
Far Reaching Potential
There is a tremendous amount of research being conducted on all frontiers of oncology, ranging from cancer cell biology to chemotherapy treatment regimens and optimal palliative care and pain relief. This makes oncology a continuously changing field. A Duke oncologist is warning that the emphasis on comparative effectiveness studies may present obstacles for the field of cancer research, Scientific American’s Observations blog reports. At the recent American Association for Cancer Research confab, Duke’s Amy Abernethy outlined several obstacles, starting with the obvious notion that while oncology is increasingly moving towards personalized treatment, comparative effectiveness research is based on large populations. Therefore, patients whose tumors’ molecular abnormalities are not as common might fall through the research cracks.
There is also a dearth of evidence to actually direct physicians to the most “medically effective and cost-effective treatment for individual patients.” In addition, drugs being used off-label present their own dilemma. Observations notes, quoting Abernethy as saying between 50% and 70% of cancer drug prescriptions fall into that category. There is very little quality research focusing on those uses.
Suggestions for tackling the problem, in addition to randomized clinical trials: better data gathering from physicians and patients on the ground, and an “e-ecosystem” to encourage the electronic flow of information between all the parties involved in cancer research and treatment. Information in this article from The Wall Street Journal blog online.
Just as the largest library, badly arranged, is not so useful as a very moderate one that is well arranged, so the greatest amount of knowledge, if not elaborated by our own thoughts, is worth much less than a far smaller volume that has been abundantly and repeatedly thought over.
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