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Taking Steps to Address Cancer: Drug and Device Development

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mendelsohn8.jpgLast year, MD Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D., proposed 10 steps that can be taken to ensure cancer deaths decrease more rapidly, the ranks of survivors swell, and an even greater number of cancers are prevented in the first place.

This is the eighth in a series of posts on key actions outlined by Mendelsohn:

8. Encourage new partnerships for drug and device development.

One way to shorten the time for drug and device development is to encourage and reward collaboration among research institutions, and collaboration between academia and industry.

Increasingly, partnerships are required to bring together sufficient expertise and resources needed to confront the complex challenges of treating cancer. There is enormous opportunity here, but many challenges, as well.

Although academic institutions already collaborate, we need to explore new ways to stimulate increased participation in cooperative enterprises.

Traditionally, academic institutions have worked with biotech and pharmaceutical companies by conducting sponsored research and participating in clinical trials. By forming more collaborative alliances during the preclinical and translational phases prior to entering the clinic, industry and academia can build on each other's strengths to speed drug development from the laboratory to the bedside.

The challenge is that this must be done with agreements that involve sharing data and other information, but also protect the property rights and independence of both parties. Vigorous protection of intellectual property by both industry and academia has hindered progress in understanding cancer and developing new therapies.

The results of all clinical trials must be reported completely and accurately, without any influence from conflicts of interest and with full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

Next: 9. Provide access to cancer care for everyone who lives in the United States.

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