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Want to Learn More About Clinical Trials and Trial Design?

*June 2023*

In June 2023, Lung Cancer Living Room™ gathered experts such as Dr. Karen Reckamp, Judy Johnson, MBA, and Andrew Ciupek, PhD to discuss and demystify the subject of clinical trials for lung cancer. They started by explaining what clinical trials are, emphasizing that they’re not limited to drug testing but could involve biosamples, diagnostic methods, and prevention strategies. The phases of clinical trials were discussed, and it was clarified that patients in phase III trials receive either the standard treatment or the experimental drug, not a placebo.

Global collaborations, facilitated by virtual platforms, have enabled broader dissemination of research findings. The panel also discussed the role of cooperative groups in cancer research, such as SWOG, which fill gaps left by industry partners. They help conduct trials that might not be financially lucrative but provide valuable insight into cancer understanding and treatment efficacy.

The challenge of funding clinical trials, especially those not involving a drug, was addressed, with examples of innovative solutions, such as decentralized trials. The various types of clinical trials, including single-arm, randomized, basket, and umbrella trials, were explained.

The meeting featured the Pragmatica-Lung initiative, a phase III trial designed to validate positive results from a phase II trial involving a combination therapy of immunotherapy and ramucirumab. This pragmatic trial aims to be more patient-friendly, increase participant diversity, and use already proven drugs.

Dr. Reckamp highlighted the patient and staff-friendly design of Pragmatica-Lung, allowing easier execution even in rural settings, an advantage in the post-COVID environment. The panel expressed excitement about the trial’s potential to make treatments more accessible and rapid patient enrollment, indicating high interest in such clinical research.

Dr. Reckamp recommended considering participation in clinical trials whenever feasible. However, she acknowledged the complexity of understanding and finding suitable trials and suggested seeking guidance from physicians or advocacy groups.

The meeting concluded with the panelists emphasizing the importance of collaboration with organizations and initiatives like GO2, Longevity, LungMATCH, and grassroots patient groups. They also highlighted the critical role of clinical research in improving lung cancer prognosis, providing hope, and maintaining that survival may rely on living long enough to access the next therapeutic breakthrough. Finally, they reminded patients of their autonomy and power in making decisions regarding their treatment journey. Watch here.