Yuan Yuan, MD, PhD, discusses the importance of clinical trial participation and enrollment in patients with breast cancer.
Yuan Yuan, MD, PhD, director, Breast Medical Oncology Medicine, medical director, Breast Oncology Disease Research Group, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, discusses the importance of clinical trial participation and enrollment in patients with breast cancer.
There has been a shift in treatment advances for patients with breast cancer, Yuan explains. However, enrolling patients with breast cancer for clinical trials remain a challenge, Yuan begins. This challenge stems from several possibilities, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Yuan suggests. Moreover, there have been many physician changes across the country, leading to what Yuan describes as a national crisis due to the shortage of research staff following the COVID-19 pandemic.
From a patient perspective, in 2023, modern clinical trials can be driven by precision medicine, Yuan explains. For example, investigators aimed to launch a clinical trial at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center targeting the NF1 mutation in breast cancer, Yuan says. However, upon looking into a patient database, investigators found that only 15 patients expressed this specific mutation, she notes. This emphasizes that these types of clinical trials are a mutation-driven precision medicine process that not every patient will fit the criteria for. Therefore, these types of studies have more specific eligibility criteria, Yuan says, adding that this fractures the accessible population for trials.
Finally, access to clinical trials for underserved patient populations remain an unmet need, stemming from limitations due to patient insurance, for example, Yuan says. Therefore, investigators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center aims to disseminate trial information to these underserved populations. All these factors continue to determine that investigators should continue to work to get the right patient and help them through trial enrollment, Yuan concludes.