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Has Covid-19 sent cancer trials backwards, and what barriers do we need to overcome to get trials back on track?

Clinical trials can deliver pioneering new treatments for cancer patients – so why are so many people missing out on taking part? And what does the data show us about the impact of Covid-19 on the availability of trials?

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has collected the latest data on trial recruitment, and commissioned research on the barriers for patients and doctors in being able to access exciting new treatments through trials. The aim was to show how Covid-19 has set back clinical trials for cancer – but also opened up opportunities for speeding up clinical research in the future, to take new treatments to patients more quickly.

Journalists joined the SMC on Zoom to hear from three cancer trial experts on:

  • New figures showing how Covid-19 has adversely affected cancer trials
  • Why are patients missing out on taking part in clinical trials?
  • Do patients hear about trials as part of their care?
  • Should cancer trials be offered as a last resort or can we offer patients trials earlier in their treatment?
  • What have we learnt from Covid-19 that could help the future of cancer clinical trials?


Speakers included:

Professor Christina Yap, Professor of Clinical Trials Biostatistics at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

Professor Udai Banerji, Deputy Director of the Drug Development Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Professor Nick James, Professor of Prostate and Bladder Cancer Research at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Chief Investigator of the STAMPEDE prostate cancer trial.

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