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National Cancer Strategy

Cancer Trials Ireland welcomes research targets and recommendations in the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.

Commenting on the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026, published today (5th July), Professor Bryan Hennessy, Clinical Lead, Cancer Trials Ireland, and Consultant Oncologist, Beaumont Hospital, said that the strategy was a potential game changer.

“Implementation of the strategy could take us significantly closer to finding successful treatments for all types of cancer,” he said.

“It acknowledges that cancer trials should be a core activity of cancer centres and recommends that they should be fully integrated into cancer care delivery[1]. These actions will take cancer research to a new level. Cancer trials will not be outliers on the periphery, but central to the treatment options available to people with cancer.

“The target to double the number of people with cancer who can access cancer trials, from the current 3% to 6%[2], will not only save the HSE millions of euro in drug costs (currently €6.5 million annually[3] ) it will provide more patients with access to promising new treatments that would otherwise not be available.

“We are very pleased that the strategy recommends establishing a National Cancer Research Group[4], which can maximise the impact of Ireland’s collective investment in cancer research. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) to get the Group up and running without delay.

“The recommendation to find a way to protect the time of newly appointed cancer consultants and Advanced Nurse Practitioners to enable them focus on cancer research will bring more career stability[5]. However, we would like to see this recommendation expanded to include existing cancer consultants,” he said.

There are almost 100 open cancer trials recruiting patients in Ireland.  A further 50 trials are under way but have completed their recruitment phase.  There are up to 6000 patients involved in all of these trials.

Cancer Trials Ireland welcomes:

  1. The target to double the number of people with cancer who will take part in therapeutic (drug, radiotherapy or surgery) cancer trials from the current 3% to 6%.
  2. The recommendation to establish a National Cancer Research Group by end-2017 under the remit of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).
  3. The acknowledgement that cancer trials should be a core activity of cancer centres.
  4. The recommendation that the HSE ensures that clinical cancer research, and the staff who deliver it, become a fully integrated component of cancer care delivery.
  5. The recommendation to examine mechanisms to ensure that newly appointed cancer consultants and Advanced Nurse Practitioners have protected time to pursue cancer research interests.

(Pictured: Prof John Kennedy, Chairman of the Cancer Strategy Steering Group)

Footnotes

[1] Recommendation 47 of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.

[2] KPI 20 of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.

[3] Health & Economic Impacts of Cancer Trials in Ireland by DKM Economic Consultants 2016

[4] Recommendation 46 of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.

[5] Recommendation 48 of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.

 

ENDS