‘Lack of teenage patients in cancer trials’

30 June 2014

Strict age limits on clinical trials should be more flexible to give more teenage cancer patients the chance to access new treatments, suggests a new report from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI).

The study found that trials designed with wider age limits resulted in more teenagers and young adults applying and being accepted for clinical trials.

According to the findings, broadening the limits resulted in a 13 per cent rise in 15 to 19 year old cancer patients taking part between 2005 and 2010 and a five per cent increase in 20 to 24 year olds.

The number of children aged under 14 taking part in clinical trials was boosted by six per cent.

Researchers believe the rise among all groups was due to the increase in availability and access, as well as improved levels of awareness from healthcare professionals, patients and the public.

Perhaps most significantly was the creation of trials with wider age limits which allowed older teenagers and young adults to participate.

Dr Lorna Fern, study leader, said: “By encouraging doctors to take into account the full age range of patients affected by individual types of cancer, we’ve shown that it’s possible to design trials that include teenage cancer patients and, importantly, that better match the underlying biology of the disease and the people affected.”

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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