As cancer treatments become increasingly specific to minute subtypes of the disease, the mechanics of clinical trials targeting cancer are evolving at a pace never before seen. The University of Colorado Cancer Center is honored to provide input to the National Cancer Institute’s efforts to shape the way we test medicines, with CU Cancer Center Director, Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, joining the Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee (CTAC), a distinguished panel of clinician-scientists whose experience and expertise will help to define tomorrow’s protocols for testing new medicines.
“In the era of Nixon’s ‘War on Cancer’ we treated clinical trials as if one medicine might cure all cancer patients. Now in the era of today’s ‘Cancer Moonshot’ we recognize that each kind of cancer may have its own best treatment. Matching these treatments with the cancers they are most likely to target is the challenge of modern clinical trials,” Theodorescu says.
In addition to providing feedback and recommendations on the best design of clinical trials, CTAC advises the NCI on the management of “translational” research, the basic findings in biology, genetics, and other sciences that have potential clinical applications. As a CTAC member, Theodorescu will advise the NCI in areas of translational research that, in his experience, demonstrate the most promise. In fact, Theodorescu’s own work embodies translational research, combining studies of basic cell and molecular biology with patient care.
“In cancer research we are now seeing a convergence of basic science and clinical research with the former fueling new clinical applications that are tested in clinical trials. These two approaches are complementary sides to the natural workflow of cancer research.” Theodorescu says.
“It is my hope to represent balance across the spectrum of ‘bench-to-bedside’ research during this time of great change in how we conduct studies in laboratories and with patients,” Theodorescu says. “Now as never before we have the opportunity to make dramatic inroads against this family of diseases we call cancer. It is up to the scientific and clinical communities to adapt our clinical and translational research practices to keep pace with the speed of our growing understanding of the disease.”