Cancer Patients and Their Families Frustrated with Slow Pace of Drug and Treatment Innovation

On the heels of ‘Operation Warp Speed’, about 66 percent of cancer patients and their families surveyed believe that clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and therapies remain too slow

BOSTON, Aug. 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — COTA, Inc., a real-world oncology data and analytics company, has released findings from a survey that found that 66 percent of cancer patients and their immediate families surveyed believe the rate of clinical trials aimed at driving much-needed innovations in cancer treatments and therapies remain far too slow. The study, which surveyed 1,110 Americans1 who have either had cancer or had someone in their immediate family with cancer, also found that the recent rapid development of multiple COVID-19 vaccines reinforced this belief.

Quota logo.

“Operation Warp Speed” – the successful effort to accelerate the creation and adoption of vaccines for COVID-19 – has reinforced expectations that the development of cancer drugs and treatments can be accelerated. In fact, about half of all survey respondents indicated that this initiative has specifically led them to believe that cancer treatment and drug development can and should be accelerated. The respondents who had cancer themselves noted even more that Operation Warp Speed ​​pushed their expectations into thinking the process should be faster (60 percent).

“As an oncologist, I have seen firsthand how devastating a cancer diagnosis is for a patient and their family,” said CK Wang, Chief Medical Officer at COTA, Inc. “It’s hard not to look back and question whether some of my patients would have survived if innovations specific to cancer care and treatment had been accelerated by highly targeted funding, research, technology and innovative collaborations like those prioritized.” for the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Overall cancer rates are declining, but specific populations and types of cancer remain negatively affected

Story continues

While recent data shows an overall decline in cancer deaths among men, women, and children of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States between 2014 and 2018, the reality is that specific cancer types and target groups of patients are actually seeing an increase. . For example, the number of cancers in women, children, adolescents and young adults has actually increased.

By throwing fuel on the fire, populations such as black Americans still have the highest death rate and shortest survival of all racial and ethnic groups in the US for most cancers — and they also have one of the lowest representation in clinical trials. . However, in the COTA study, an overwhelming 82 percent of respondents familiar with the clinical trial process believe it already spans diverse populations today. Unfortunately, that is clearly not the case.

“What has been reinforced by the pandemic and what we already know from advanced cancer research is that – despite what patients may believe – not all people are equally represented in cancer clinical trials – and that needs to change,” Wang added.

This lack of representation and the continued increase in cases among specific populations reinforces why the Biden administration continues to push for innovation specific to cancer, including the most recent call for a $9 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Cancer. health. $6.5 billion of this funding would be used to support a new institute, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. This institute would seek out-of-the-box approaches to addressing challenges associated with cancer, including the impact on populations hitherto not prioritized for cancer clinical trials, such as black Americans.

Patients believe their personal health data could help cure cancer

Despite concerns from some critics about the privacy and security of health data, the COTA study also found that nearly all survey respondents — nearly 90 percent — support all cancer patients to share their health data anonymously to advance research and discovery of health data. treatments. Given that it takes seven or more years to create a new drug or treatment for cancer, several approaches to accelerate innovation, such as using real-world data from cancer patients, are desperately needed.

Gwen Nichols, MD, is the Chief Medical Officer at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). As the leader of the world’s largest voluntary health organization committed to fighting blood cancer, she shared her take on what LLS is hearing from patients on the subject: “Sharing anonymized personal health data gives patients a sense of control and empowers them to contribute to the growing concern about an increase in cancer rates due to delayed treatments and screenings – as well as the significant impact of COVID-19 on blood cancer patients in particular – it is critical that cancer patients play an active and collaborative role play in solving cancer treatments and cures in the future.”

Other notable research findings include:

87 percent said they wouldn’t care if their data had already been shared anonymously;

86 percent believe that oncologists should actively discuss the value of sharing data with researchers as part of patient interactions;

85 percent would agree to share their anonymous data if their doctor asked; and

53 percent of respondents believe a cancer drug would already be available if all cancer patient data were collected and combined.

While a majority of patients clearly understand the value and importance of sharing personal health information to advance cancer care and treatments, many also reported that oncologists did not discuss this topic with them. In fact, less than half of respondents indicated that their oncologist discussed the value of sharing cancer data anonymously.

“As technology and smart, standardized data practices have advanced, patients have clearly become more understanding and willing to contribute their data to the greater good. Physicians have an important role to play in encouraging patients to be a part of the solution for accelerating cancer innovation,” Wang said. “The more real-world data we have from cancer patients, the more successful we will be in developing treatments and therapies that save lives.”


The research was conducted by PureSpectrum, an independent market research platform that gathers insights from online, non-probable samples collected from panels in the PureSpectrum Marketplace. To learn more about PureSpectrum’s methodology, visit

About COTA, Inc.
Founded by oncologists, COTA is committed to creating an accurate, patient-centered approach to cancer care through the use of real-world data. The company uses technology-assisted human data abstraction methods to understand complex, fragmented, real-world patient data. COTA provides the highest quality real-world oncology data from leading academic and community-based cancer centers and an advanced analytics platform. care. Visit to learn more about COTA and how you can accelerate improvements in cancer care and treatment with comprehensive and diverse real-world data and analytics.

1 The survey was conducted in June 2021 and was led by independent research firm PureSpectrum, which collected data from 1,110 Americans who have either had cancer themselves or had someone in their immediate household who had cancer.

Media contact: Jaimee Ryan,


View original content to download multimedia: innovation -301365382.html


Comments are closed.