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Speaking following the launch of the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026, Prof Bryan Hennessy, Clinical Lead of Cancer Trials Ireland, and Consultant Oncologist at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, said the document’s implementation “could take us significantly closer to finding successful treatments for all types of cancer”.
He commented: “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. 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 per cent to 6 per cent will not only save the HSE millions of euro in drug costs (currently €6.5 million annually) 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, 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.”
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 6,000 patients involved in all of these trials.
Meanwhile, the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has said a “timely reimbursement system” must be in place if the strategy is to deliver on its objectives.