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Clinical Trial Patient Speaks out in New York Times
December 2, 2015
Although Stan Collender’s NYT’s Op-Ed contribution was published on June 19, 2015, we want to bring it more attention as his voice is so important in helping bridge the gap between really sick patients and clinical trials.
From the New York Times:
I HAVE a very rare and aggressive type of skin cancer — Merkel cell carcinoma — for which there is no approved cure, and I’m participating in a clinical trial to deal with it. If successful, the trial will show that the drug I’m being given at least manages what is now an often fatal disease.
Unfortunately, participation in clinical trials by cancer patients is, like my disease, extremely rare. Only roughly 3 percent of all cancer patients in the United States ever agree to join a trial. Among women and many minorities, the participation rates are even lower.
This is not a (excuse the term) benign problem. Clinical trials are the way promising new drugs are tested and progress against cancer is made. The paucity of participants also significantly increases the time it takes for new medications and treatments to be approved because the trials take so much longer to complete. And that means that many people who would benefit from these drugs won’t get them in time.