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Health 2.0 for cancer trials

Greg is well known to THCB readers as a long term commentator on the oncology scene with a  keen interest in chemotherapy assay testing. Here he writes about a new type of clinical trial — Matthew Holt

The traditional meaning of Health 2.0, according to Jane Sarasohn-Kahn’s "Wisdom of Patients" has been the use of social software and light-weight tools to promote collaboration between patients, their caregivers, medical professionals and other stakeholders in health.

An example of this in cancer medicine is Individualized Online Clinical Trial Protocol Version 1.0 by the Weisenthal Cancer Group, a Phase II evaluation of individualized cancer treatment with traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy, targeted anti-kinase drugs and anti-angiogenic agents.

With most clinical trials, investigators never give out information as to how people are doing. Most trials are failures with respect to actually improving things. The world doesn’t find out what happen until after a hundred or 500 or 2,000 patients are treated and then only 24 hours before the New England Journal of Medicine publication date.

Individualized Online Clinical Trial Protocol Version 1.0 is a
totally transparent clinical trial. Every patient who decides to enter
a study should know what happened to previous patients. Patients are treated in
real time, on the Internet, with the whole world watching to see how
they do. It includes weekly progress reports, and if individual patients
want, their own blogs as to how they are doing.

Stages have been implemented for a rather innovative clinical trial
with cell culture assays, "real time" on the Internet. The purpose of
the study is to show that cell culture assay technologies for
"targeted" agents really do work. The short-term future of cancer
therapeutics is combinations of "targeted" agents.

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PharmacistMikeJimGreg Pawelski Recent comment authors
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Greg Pawelski
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Greg Pawelski

The online edition of the Journal of Internal Medicine reports discovery of the first practical laboratory test to guide the use of new-generation drugs that kill cancer cells by cutting off their blood supply. The new test, called the Microvessel Vascular (MVV) assay, was developed by Larry Weisenthal, MD, PhD., a medical oncologist who operates a cancer testing laboratory in Huntington Beach, California. The test works by measuring drug effects upon endothelial cells which make up blood vessels. Its use could prolong lives, save money, and spare patients exposure to harmful side-effects of ineffective chemotherapy treatments. According to Dr. Weisenthal,… Read more »

Greg Pawelski
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Greg Pawelski

I can understand about patients having negative results. However, even negative results can provide useful information about the effectiveness of treatments. Having all the information you can gather for the participants and investigators is essential to maintain good doctor-patient communication that is beneficial for cancer patients. Supporters of such transparent clinical trials argue that conflicts of interest undermine public trust in and support for scientific research, endanger research subjects and patients, and boost medical costs by encouraging physicians and patients to use new treatments that are no better than cheaper alternatives. The collaborations between academia and industry has clearly brought… Read more »

PharmacistMike
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This sounds like a very interesting idea. However, the patient’s knowledge of the trial events could interfere with outcomes. They could decide to withdraw if a few patients have negative results or they could develop unreal symptoms after reading about them. Too much information for the participants and investigators may not be such a good idea.

Greg Pawelski
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Greg Pawelski

The Musella Foundation’s virtualtrials.com is doing something similar to what the Weisenthal Cancer Group is doing. Their brain tumor virtual trial keeps track of patients and displays the results “real time” on the web (virtualtrials.com/volresults). You select a tumor type (or all tumors to see more data). Then click on a treatment name and you see all patients who took that treatment + each of the other treatments. Click on a number of patients in each group and you get details of the group. Within this group display, click on a patient id and get their details. But this is… Read more »

Greg Pawelski
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Greg Pawelski

LOL!!! I think you amply describe the Principal Investigator of this clinical trial!

Jim
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Jim

An interesting Cell culture cartoon on vadlo!

Greg Pawelski
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Greg Pawelski

An interesting dialogue about the clinical trial and cell culture assays has been going on over at The Medical Quack blog:
http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com:80/2008/08/cancer-physician-invents-test-for-new.html