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The 'Anatomy' of Clinical Trials: 'Grey's' Season Finale Leaves Public in the Dark

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The 'Anatomy' of Clinical Trials: 'Grey's' Season Finale Leaves Public in the Dark

Δημοσίευση από grstats Την / Το Παρ 13 Νοε 2009 - 10:31


The 'Anatomy' of Clinical Trials: 'Grey's' Season Finale Leaves Public in the
Dark About the Myths and Realities
Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups sheds light on the fact that cancer
clinical trials like those on Grey's Anatomy are not just 'do or die.'

PHILADELPHIA, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- With the past several episodes and
two-hour season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" centered on the emotional sagas of
cancer clinical trial patients and their doctors, the subject tops the list of
the country's healthcare "hot topics." While "Grey's" has done a service in
making the public aware that cancer clinical trial options exist, the concern
is that the drama which makes for a compelling prime-time show doesn't allow
for an accurate, nor complete, portrayal of the role clinical trials play in
guaranteeing continued progress in the fight against cancer.
The season finale this Thursday will only contribute to the negative
perception being portrayed on the show that cancer "clinical trials" usually
equal a "death sentence."
"Cancer clinical trials are highly-structured and follow a well-defined
protocol with careful supervision," said Robert L. Comis, MD, President and
Chairman of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups. "Trials can provide
patients at all stages of cancer with the most cutting-edge medical treatment,
the highest level of care and the possibility of more effective therapy than
if they went the standard course. A clinical trial is a treatment option to
be considered at the point of diagnosis-not only a last-ditch effort when all
other options are exhausted."
A clinical trial is a carefully monitored medical research study in which
people participate to test new methods of prevention, screening, diagnosis, or
treatment of a disease. The majority of patients who participate in cancer
clinical trials do so in phase III studies, which are designed to evaluate
whether a new treatment or procedure is more effective than the current
standard of care.
The knowledge gained through cancer clinical trial research has helped
scientists and doctors develop new ways to slow, halt, cure and prevent
cancer. However, of the 1.3 million people who will be diagnosed with cancer
this year, only 3 to 5 percent of adults will participate in cancer clinical
The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups is a nonprofit organization
with a goal to improve the quality of life and survival of cancer patients by
increasing participation in cancer clinical trials as treatment options-not
last-hope efforts. As a non-profit, the Coalition offers the added benefit of
providing non-biased cancer clinical trial information.
At the core of the Coalition's service is their online TrialCheck(R), the
nation's premier free cancer clinical trials navigation and matching service
offering the most up-to-date source of cancer clinical trial information.
Used by organizations such as American Cancer Society, American Society of
Clinical Oncology, the state of Georgia, and soon The Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society, the award-winning TrialCheck is accessible to more than 3 million
patients and caregivers each month.
"Clinical research has led to almost all cancer treatments used today,"
said Comis. "Because of the knowledge gained through clinical trials,
approximately two-thirds of cancer patients survive at least five years after
diagnosis, compared with only fifty percent in the 1970s. We need to keep
reinforcing this fact and encouraging patients and their physicians to look at
all the options when facing a cancer diagnosis."
Advances identified through clinical trials include: Cancer screening
techniques, such as mammograms; adjuvant chemotherapy (chemo after surgery);
therapies targeting genetic and molecular defects that make a cell cancerous;
Cancer vaccines and "chemoprevention" drugs; profiling of cancer genes; and
new insights into the long-term health of cancer survivors, who are at greater
risk of heart problems, second cancers and other health issues.
Certainly, misperceptions about the negativity of clinical trials for
treating cancer patients existed before Grey's, but the episodes have
heightened the dynamic, making now the crucial time to set the record straight
... to debunk the myths and reinforce the fact that only patient
participation in clinical trials will guarantee continued progress in the
fight against cancer.
"Cancer clinical trial patients do not need to fear the possibility of not
receiving treatment ... placebos are never given in place of treatment when
an existing standard therapy exists," said Comis. "Our goal right now is to
provide the public with the knowledge that helps them distinguish
entertainment fiction from the reality of cancer clinical trial benefits."
About the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups is the nation's only nonprofit
organization of its kind, devoted solely to the improvement of patient access
to cancer clinical trials. Comprised of members from the 10 National Cancer
Institute-sponsored Cooperative Groups, dozens of patient advocacy
organizations and 8,000 oncology and cancer research specialists, the
Coalition is helping to increase awareness of cancer clinical trials as a
treatment option through information and services at .
SOURCE The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups

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