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Doctor
André Andraz Cruz

Oncologista

 

Clinical trials in oncology:
What is its importance for the population?

HPA Magazine 13

 


Given the exponential growth and the medical care provided by the Oncology Day Care Hospital, it is essential to complement the treatment and care provided to patients with scientific research. As a rapidly evolving medical specialty, sharing knowledge and peer experience is essential to attest to the true value of cancer treatments in clinical practice. The Oncology Unit is committed to keeping scientific activity one of its priorities, as well as providing pioneering clinical trials in the region.

 

 


Given the exponential growth and the medical care provided by the Oncology Day Care Hospital, it is essential to complement the treatment and care provided to patients with scientific research. As a rapidly evolving medical specialty, sharing knowledge and peer experience is essential to attest to the true value of cancer treatments in clinical practice. The Oncology Unit is committed to keeping scientific activity one of its priorities, as well as providing pioneering clinical trials in the region.
A clinical trial presupposes collaboration between physicians, patients and promoters to investigate new clinical procedures or new drugs to identify, prevent or treat disease. Clinical trials involving drugs can be carried out at doctors' consulting rooms, clinics or study centers. There are types of clinical trials according to the hypothesis to be validated and a statistical methodology used. They involve rigorous and impartial preparation, planning and interpretation of the data obtained. The resulting information is of great importance to the evolution of medical practice, as it permits the evaluation of the added value of a given experimental treatment, comparing it to the current “standard-of-care” in a given population. For a trial to be statistically significant, it is essential that it involves a large number of patients, so that its outcome may eventually be integrated into clinical practice.
At the HPA Oncology Unit, the KEYNOTE-630 clinical trial is currently under recruitment, aiming to assess the benefit of adjuvant immunotherapy compared to surveillance in patients with high-risk cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma undergoing radiotherapy. Short-term prospects include the inclusion of our center in other clinical trials, including digestive disorders.

International recommendations advocate integration into a clinical trial as the best treatment option for the vast majority of cancer patients, which well reflects its importance in clinical practice. There is a natural tendency internationally for these trials to be centralized in large hospitals and academic cancer centers, however, and because they cannot treat all patients in a timely manner, there is an indispensable and growing link with more peripheral hospitals. Thus, promoters extend trials to more peripheral centers by recognizing the volume and quality of patient care. It is this phenomenon that we have been experiencing in our Unit and for which we work on a daily basis.
We believe that in the demographic context of the Algarve, given the obvious geographical distance from the capital, it is extremely important to be able to make this additional treatment option available to the cancer patient. Thus, the promotion of health literacy and the demystification of the concept associated with clinical trials, is also extremely important; This is not a random laboratory experiment, but a guarantee of quality and accuracy of the best possible treatment.