Putting Patients First
Oncology research has come a long way over the past 30 years, but we must transform outdated practices to further improve drug discovery innovation.
Carlo Toniatti | | Opinion
My career began in the late 1980s as a physician, where I spent a few years working in internal medicine. Treatment options for cancer were incredibly limited at the time, with heartbreaking consequences. Our knowledge of both treating and preventing cancer was still in its infancy. Great progress has been made from those days; efficacious targeted therapies have since followed, and today we’re seeing the emergence of personalized cancer therapies.
Despite recent success, the development of novel and efficacious cancer therapies remains an extremely difficult task. Only about 10 percent of the targeted oncology drugs entering phase 1 of the clinical development pipeline are eventually approved, and just a minor subset of them exert a strong therapeutic effect as measured by patients’ life prolongation (1). It is a shared view that the success rate in clinical development could be increased by developing more predictive and reliable preclinical models of cancer. This would allow us to ensure that we only provide patients with high-quality agents by designing innovative, biomarker-driven and patient-tailored clinical trials.
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