A Most Cancers Conundrum: Too Many Drug Trials, Too Few Sufferers

It took Pfizer three years to locate 50 lung cancer patients who carried a rare aberration called ROS1, found in just 1 percent of patients.
If the struggle to find patients for immunotherapy trials is challenging, finding patients for another new type of cancer treatment can be next to impossible.
The Yale Cancer Center participates in fewer than 10 percent of the immunotherapy trials it is asked to join.
Most patients who have cancers with the mutation in question have no idea; to find them, large groups of cancer patients must have their tumors genetically tested.
They may want the new cancer drugs reaching the market, he said, “but you wonder if you are doing them any favors.”

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