Last month, in the UK the NIHR Clinical Research Network announced it is pausing the site set up of any new or ongoing studies at NHS and social care sites that are not nationally prioritised COVID-19 studies.
While this is of course necessary to enable the research workforce to focus on combatting the pandemic or redeployment to frontline care, the implications for secondary breast cancer patients are huge.
The NIHR published an FAQ on what pausing trials means in practice. But for patients it’s not about funding flows.
Clinical trials can offer a lifeline to patients who have exhausted all other treatment lines. Clinical trials can provide hope and a better quality of life. Crucially, they contribute to long-term research into better treatments in the future.
The effect of the global pandemic means there is a real risk to planned and ongoing clinical trials testing new cancer drugs.
Covid-19 also impacts the bigger research picture, as our friends at Worldwide Cancer Research explain: ‘No new cures can be started. Progress towards kinder, more effective treatments halted. Sadly, though, whilst research has stopped, cancer in its many forms, has not.’
They also report on the impact to current research. With universities and labs closed it will take months to get back on track with many studies needing to be started from scratch.
Research funding will also be drastically affected. Cancer Research UK has already announced a predicted loss of 20 – 25% and cut its research fund by £44 million across its research portfolio.
But we can’t give up the fight.
Make 2nds Count has allocated some donations to our Covid-19 hardship fund so we can make a difference to patients’ lives today.
But now more than ever it’s essential we continue to campaign, fundraise and support research dedicated to better understanding secondary breast cancer which is vital to save lives and develop new treatments that are personalised to be most effective for each and every patient in the future.