Clinical trials are the primary vehicle for developing new treatments for patients with cancer, and patient participation in trials is crucial to their success. Most patients express a willingness to participate in clinical research, yet a small fraction ultimately enroll in a cancer clinical trial. As a result, approximately 20% of cancer clinical trials fail due to insufficient patient participation. In the era of precision medicine, in which clinical trials are designed around a very small genetically defined subset of cancers, finding eligible patients has become even more challenging.
The patient impact
The lack of participation in clinical trials is due to numerous barriers that discourage or prevent patients from enrolling. Studies suggest that over half of patients do not have a local trial available for their cancer, 17% are ineligible for any trial due to exclusion criteria, and many eligible patients will simply not be asked by their provider to enroll.
Some groups of blood cancer patients face social, economic, and environmental disadvantages that stand in the way of being able to get the care they need. To ensure that all patients have the opportunity to survive treatment and attain good quality of life, we support policies that:
Require Medicaid – not just commercial insurers – to cover the cost of routine care that patients receive while enrolled in a clinical trial
Expand eligibility for cancer clinical trials, to enable the discovery of better and more reliable results
Prevent discrimination against cancer patients on the basis on race, color, age, sex, disability or other factors.