Researchers are constantly trying to find new drugs or forms of therapy that can be used to treat cancer. Quite often when a possible treatment is discovered, being allowed to test a drug or other experimental cancer treatment at a clinical level is difficult. For example, after an anti-carcinogenic drug has been thoroughly tested at the experimental level it is necessary to test it in humans to analyze factors such as the drugâ€™s anti-tumor activity, its ability to interact with a specific target, and to discover which patients are more likely to benefit from the drug. These types of early clinical trials are the key in the successful implementation of effective anti-tumor drugs and therapies.
Here, I present just two of the many possible "unknowns" about the medications that are prescribed by health care providers: 1. The FDA requires two studies to show that a medication that is awaiting approval from the FDA is superior to a placebo -- not exactly the best measurement of efficacy or the best reassurance that a patient is receiving the best medicinal treatment to restore their health. Equally surprising is that a pharmaceutical company that is attempting to approve such a medication has no limit as to the number of studies it can conduct to produce these two studies required.
Most of us rely on the pharmaceutical industry to some extent for our health and well-being, whether it's for an occasional round of antibiotics, a flu vaccination, or medication regularly taken for a chronic condition. The industry is regularly under fire for inflating drug prices, misleading or inappropriate advertisements, and concentrating research efforts on drugs that will elicit the highest profit, rather than on lifesaving treatments for rarer conditions.
While the treatment options available for fatal diseases have expanded greatly in recent years, many patients do not respond to conventional therapy and are left with no therapeutic options. As an example, despite the millions of dollars that are poured into investigational research each year, cancer remains one of the most common causes of death in the U.S.