Wider access to clinical trials necessary to democratize precision oncology: Report

While advancements in targeted therapies and biomarker discovery show promise, challenges like tumor complexity and unequal access remain

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New Delhi: A latest report by Parexel has called for improved data sharing, wider access to trials, and practical healthcare changes to democratize precision oncology and empower patients.
Titled, ‘Advancing Precision Oncology’ the report has been authored by Gwyn Bebb, M.D., BM, BCh, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Therapeutic Area Head – Oncology, Parexel.
While advancements in targeted therapies and biomarker discovery show promise, challenges like tumor complexity and unequal access remain.
The report highlights the need for wider clinical trials at community sites, with recommendations for data collection, training, and fair compensation. It explores efficient regulatory pathways and emphasizes co-developing companion diagnostics alongside new therapies. It underscores the crucial role of real-world data analysis in ensuring equitable access to these life-saving treatments and improving patient outcomes for all.
“In my work with sponsors here at Parexel, I regularly confront a second paradox of precision oncology: we move closer to the tantalizing long-term vision only by solving practical short-term problems (some mundane, some near impossible). We navigate multi-omics profiling, clinical trial design, companion diagnostics, regulatory strategy, and commercialization one challenge at a time. And we do all this while staying focused on improving the patient journey, which is our North Star,” says Bebb.
“Precision oncology has been—and will continue to be—a slow unfurling. Patients are our guides and partners in this quest. They don’t have a say in which next-generation sequencing test or seamless study protocol is optimal, and they can’t make a drug commercially viable if it’s not. But without their willingness to contribute their time, energy, biological samples, and genetic data—and to enroll in clinical trials—the field won’t advance. A streamlined development program won’t matter if a product does not address what patients care about,” Bebb adds.
On the role of technological advancements, Bebb says, “New developments in biomarker identification and innovative approaches to targeting them continue apace. The promise of AI assistance in unlocking molecular structures and the increasing use of readily modifiable nucleic acid sequences as therapeutics are two of the most promising avenues of advancing precision oncology. Our challenge is plotting a route through this volatile landscape.”