Published online Feb. 26 in CANCER, the journal of the American Cancer Society, the study explores the impact of pharmaceutical-company involvement on breast cancer clinical trial design and outcome. Drug-industry investment in research now exceeds the operating budget of the National Institutes of Health and previous studies have examined the impact on other areas of clinical medicine, but not breast cancer.
“Our study shines a flashlight on the issue of the rising role and potential impact of the pharmaceutical industry on breast cancer research and highlights important questions that need to be addressed through further research,” said Dr. Jeffrey Peppercorn, assistant professor of medicine in UNC School of Medicine’s division of hematology and oncology and a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The significance of our study is not to say that the drug industry does anything wrong – they are excellent at developing new therapies, and there are many recent examples in breast cancer research. But if more and more research is funded by drug companies, then the limited amount of funding coming from other sources may need to be directed to address other questions,” Peppercorn said.
The researchers reviewed all breast cancer clinical trials published in 10 English-language medical journals in the years 1993, 1998 and 2003. They focused their formal statistical analysis on the 2003 trials because the identification of industry funded or non-industry funded research was likely more accurate due to more stringent disclosure guidelines than earlier periods.
Trials with industry involvement were more likely than non-industry studies to use a single-arm study design, without a comparison group. This isn’t surprising, Peppercorn notes, because these studies are a key step in drug development.
In 2003, 57 percent of studies reported pharmaceutical involvement. Of these, 66 percent were single-arm studies. Only 33 percent of non-industry studies used single-arm design.
The industry studies were also more likely to yield positive results; 84 percent of industry-supported studies showed positive results, compared with 54 percent of non-industry studies.
“It’s been seen again and again in various branches of clinical medicine that studies that involve pharmaceutical industry sponsorship are more likely to have positive outcomes,” Peppercorn said. “It’s not fair to say at this point that it’s necessarily related to biased interpretation of results.” For instance, another explanation could be that industry makes smarter or safer choices about what drugs are brought to trial.
However, as industry funding becomes an increasingly dominant source of research funding, clinical questions that aren’t directly related to drug development may be neglected, Peppercorn said. Such questions include the optimal duration for giving a medication or whether certain groups of patients benefit from a medication more than others, he said.
Dianne Shaw | EurekAlert!
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
16.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology