May 22 2012.
International Clinical Trials Day is an opportunity to recognize the achievements and importance of breast cancer clinical trials, which have contributed to a significant fall in breast cancer mortality rates over the last 20 years. The day is celebrated on or near 20 May each year, to mark the first clinical trial started by Scottish physician James Lind in 1747, in the treatment and cure of scurvy.
Due to breast cancer clinical trial research conducted by the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG), Australian and New Zealand women have been among the first in the world to gain access to new treatment and prevention strategies, that are now established options in current standard therapy. For example, Deputy Chair of the ANZBCTG, Associate Professor Fran Boyle AM, says the results of the HERA clinical trial found that Herceptin reduced the risk of cancer coming back among women with HER2-positive breast cancer.
“Breast cancer clinical trial research has led to significant advances in the treatment and prevention of breast cancer and a drop of more than 20% in mortality rates over the last two decades. Results from the HERA clinical trial translated into improved survival for women with HER2-positive breast cancer, which accounts for 15% to 20% of women with breast cancer,” Associate Professor Boyle says.
“Clinical trials are designed to answer a scientific question that can lead to improved outcomes for women and a better understanding of breast cancer biology. They identify if new treatments are more effective than those currently available and all new treatments and procedures must be scientifically proven before they can be adopted as standard therapy. I have seen firsthand the advances in the detection, treatment and prevention of breast cancer over the last two decades and I am very excited about what the future holds for this research and the benefits for all women.”
All major milestones in controlling breast cancer worldwide have come through clinical trials research. Women who take part in clinical trials may receive new treatment before it is widely available to cancer patients generally and treatments offered are either the best current standard therapy or thought to be as good as or better than the current standard therapy. More than 13,500 women have participated in ANZBCTG clinical trials.
“Collaboration has been fundamental for successful clinical trial research, which includes women participating in clinical trials, researchers and the community who support our work. Together, we are working towards a world without breast cancer,” Associate Professor Boyle says.
The ANZBCTG is Australia’s national organisation dedicated entirely to breast cancer research. It conducts a national clinical trials research program for the treatment, prevention and cure of breast cancer. The research program involves multicentre clinical trials and collaboration with over 80 institutions and over 600 researchers throughout Australia and New Zealand. The ANZBCTG’s fundraising department is the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia. For further information about the ANZBCTG and the Group’s clinical trials research program, visit www.anzbctg.org