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Cancer Foundation Presents Groundbreaking Study and Solutions at Concordia Summit

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Lazarex Cancer Foundation is presenting a panel on critical issues in cancer today at the Concordia Summit in New York; The Underreported Story of Low Enrollment in Cancer Clinical Trials and How That Holds Back Progress in Cancer Innovation. Watch the discussion streaming live from 10:40am – 11:10am Eastern Daylight Time here: 

The panelists, including Dr. Cliff Hudis, CEO of ASCO, Dr. Edith Mitchell, Director of Diversity at Thomas Jefferson University, Dana Dornsife, Founder of Lazarex and Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD will discuss the new ASCO report plus solutions to increase diversity and break barriers to clinical trials. This is happening just as a new study proves what Lazarex Cancer Foundation has been saying for years: financial barriers block the majority of Americans who want to participate in cancer clinical trials.

Clinical trials are used as the direct route to FDA approval for all cancer therapies and treatments. However, only 5% of patients enroll in clinical trials primarily due to the large financial barriers involved: the cost to travel to often far-flung locations. (On average a clinical trial is 544 miles from home.) As a result of low participation, many clinical trial sponsors can't fill their trials, cannot complete them, and in many cases will never know whether the drug in question would have been effective for all patients. 

Lazarex urged the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to investigate and identify the barriers to clinical trials. Following the study, ASCO issued a set of recommendations for overcoming those financial barriers. ASCO's policy statement, "Addressing Financial Barriers to Patient Participation in Clinical Trials," stresses the importance of increasing participation in clinical research, especially for patients from particular ethnic/racial, geographic, age, socioeconomic, and other underserved demographic subgroups.

"Clinical trials are essential for evaluating the safety and efficacy of new cancer treatments, but cancer researchers have seen consistently low patient participation levels—especially among underserved patient populations—in part due to the financial burdens facing many patients with cancer," said ASCO President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO. "Addressing financial barriers will help improve the enrollment rate and the efficiency, quality, and applicability of cancer research. By including more—and more diverse—participants in our research studies, we expand our ability to care for all patients."

Lazarex Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3), is the only organization connecting patients to clinical trials and reimbursing them for the travel expenses to get there; hotel costs, airfare, companion tickets, cab rides, gas and parking.

"The time is now to raise awareness about this critical issue in our nation. We must push for greater innovation and equitable patient access," said Lazarex Cancer Foundation Founder Dana Dornsife. "All patients must have access regardless of their ability to pay. Anything short of that undermines the ethical underpinnings of our medical community and it stymies progress on behalf of all patients now and in the future. This is not a one size fits all disease."

The Concordia Summit is the largest and most inclusive nonpartisan forum alongside the United Nations General Assembly. The event brings together decision-makers and opinion-formers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, as well as the next generation of partnership-builders, the Annual Summit will advance critical global discussions and transform conversations into action.

Laura Evans Manatos

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Last Updated: 27-Sep-2018