A new Sydney conference will focus on improving collaboration across phase one clinical trials in Australia, with the aim of creating more new treatments for people with cancer.
Dr Anthony Joshua, a Sydney-based cancer researcher, is hosting the conference to bring to the fore discussions between Australian and international experts on the potential for early phase clinical trials in driving advances in cancer care.
Head of the department of Medical Oncology at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital, Dr Joshua only recently arrived in NSW from Toronto, Canada.
He says we have the opportunity in Australia to bring oncologists together to form a larger collaborative group, helping clinical trials in Australia reach a larger, international audience.
“I saw the potential of working together to advance patient care in early phase trials through the amazing research and clinical infrastructure we have in Australia,” he explains.
Dr Joshua says phase one clinical trials play a vital role in creating new cancer treatments, and conferences like this can help to bring people together.
“No one person or one group has all the skills to execute every trial successfully – we have a duty to offer our patients the best of what is available globally.”
“The only way to do that is to get organised and put ourselves on the world stage, declaring that we are open for business.”
How are phase one clinical trials improving cancer outcomes?
Clinical trials provide the link between scientific research carried out in the laboratory and the use of proven treatments and care given to patients.
There are four stages through the clinical trials process, and phase one trials are the first test done with humans of a new drug or treatment.
“They are really the basis of how we progress clinical care in medical oncology – learning the hows and whens of giving the right drug to the right person at the right time,” Dr Joshua explains.
Phase one clinical trials are generally done with a small amount of people, before progressing to larger groups.
These initial stages help to determine safety, and a safe dosage range; informing whether the treatment is suitable to progress to other phases of clinical trials.
If the clinical trials are positive, they receive regulatory and local approvals, and the new treatment or drug can become part of usual care for people with cancer.
Speaking about the impact on people with cancer, Dr Anthony says “many, many times” over he’s seen clinical trials change a life.
“I have been fortunate to live through a revolution in the treatment of melanoma, for example, where the response rates ranged from five per cent, to now when we are actually mention the word ‘cure’ to patients.”
Through his current work Dr Joshua has established an early phase trials clinic, giving people with cancer more access to a variety of promising targeted and immune-oncology drugs being developed worldwide.
Source: Cancer Institute NSW