At a time of rapid advancements in cancer biology and innovation, researchers are facing mounting challenges in finding enough patients to recruit for clinical trials. Although this has been difficult for many years, current trends in oncology drug development may be making the problem more acute.
The proliferation of targeted investigational drugs has both narrowed the pool of eligible patients and increased demand for them. In addition, trials are conducted more often at centrally located academic centers than at the community oncology offices where the vast majority of patients with cancer go for treatment. These factors make the study and approval of new drugs more expensive and time-consuming and leave many people who have treatment-resistant cancers without access to potentially life-saving therapies.