Cancer research should never stop, because every new breakthrough can translate into a positive impact on patients’ survival or quality of life. During the global health emergency caused by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the implementation of specific measures has been fundamental for the proper conduct of clinical trials, as stated in a recent article published in npj Breast Cancer, co-authored by Dr. Javier Cortés and Dr. José Pérez, of the IBCC.
Clinical research studies can save lives and help many patients by providing the information needed to continue the search for new treatments. As a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the capacities of health systems in a multitude of countries have been under high pressure and have rapidly reached saturation, which has negatively influenced the execution of clinical trials, and has imposed additional barriers to patient enrolment and the normal operation of clinical trials.
For this reason, national and international regulatory agencies have approved contingency measures, which both sponsors and lead researchers must follow so that the medical care of clinical trial participants is assured, protecting their safety, well-being, and rights, and so that the integrity and accuracy of clinical trial results can be preserved.
Measures taken include the following:
- Remote meetings for researchers.
- The reduction of face-to-face medical visits through the use of virtual medical visits, as far as the clinical study allows.
- Remote monitoring visits.
- Local storage of biological samples, reducing the number of shipments and ensuring adequate isolation of samples to minimize the risk of infection.
- Decreasing the number of shipments of study medication to centres, by supplying a greater quantity of medication in each shipment.
Although this pandemic has changed the way we live globally, nothing and no one can stop clinical cancer research, not even the SARS-CoV-2 virus.