Cancer Trials Less Available-COVID Fallout

Time August3/August10, 2020 pp18 The Brief Health “The clinical Trials cancer patients rely on are disappearing” by Alice Park.

An understandable but unintended consequence of needing to focus on treating patients seriously ill from COVID-19 has been a scaling back of in-hospital clinical trial protocols for cancer patients. For 2-8% of cancer patients needing an emerging cancer treatment the scaling back on trial enrollment is imminently concerning. Since the pandemic started “enrollment in trials has dropped by about 10% each month.” Logically, institutions have delayed the less proven early trials in “favor of keeping later-stage studies, which test treatments that have already shown some promise”

To reduce risk of COVID-19 infection some trial visits are now managed at home with virtual checkups when permissible as well. Whether the off-site treatments will lower patient compliance is a concern but in-the-end if successful this practice could streamline future trials.