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Global call for coordinated fight against cancer

The world needs better patient registries, improved treatments and more research if it is to tackle the international challenge posed by cancer, according to an international panel of leading cancer organizations.

It is becoming increasingly clear that cancer is a global problem, with more than half of the 12.7 million newly diagnosed cases each year occurring in the developing world. The panel’s report, published today by Science Translational Medicine, pulls together the findings of representatives of 15 countries that gathered together last November to discuss ways of reducing cancer deaths and improving cancer care around the globe.

The report highlights a series of research needs, including the need for more and better patient registries to provide data on cancer incidence and outcomes, noting that worldwide cancer estimates from the International Agency for Research Against Cancer are pulled together from only about one-third of 184 countries. The panel also emphasized the need for more research into cancer prevention, believed to be the most cost-effective way to reduce the impact of cancer, yet an area many believe is underfunded.

Research into cancer treatment would benefit from harmonized requirements for drug testing and clinical trials, particularly as trials become increasingly international, the panel said. And funding agencies should provide more support for trials sponsored by academic institutions, which sometimes investigate how to optimize the use of an approved therapy in trials that pharmaceutical companies lack the business incentive to carry out themselves.

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    Perry Greenbaum said:

    I couldn’t agree more, and not only because I am a cancer patient. Just as we found out that prevention is the key to reducing heart disease, it will likely be the key to reducing the incidences of cancer, or at least catch it in the early stages of its progression. The earlier cancer is detected the less invasive the treatment. Let’s hope that the patient registry becomes a reality; I, for one, have no qualms about sharing my medical history for both scientific gain and humanity’s betterment.

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