Results in Clinical Trials May Not Represent Results in Real Life Treatment

For patients who choose to undergo immunotherapy for cancer, new medications are often available more quickly than usual. In fact, a new study found that new medications used in immunotherapy start being used faster than the standard practice for other new medical treatments. Some of this is due to the results of clinical trials, but there are a few potential problems to consider.

Age of Clinical Trial Participants

One of the most notable differences between clinical trial participants and cancer patients is age. Those who took part in clinical trials for immunotherapy treatments tended to be younger than those treated in clinical practice. Clinical trial participants were mainly in their late 50s or early 60s, while cancer patients treated clinically were 65 and older. Knowing more about how real world populations respond to newly adopted medications for cancer involves doing more research.

Early vs. Later Clinical Trials

Another problem with beginning the use of immunotherapy medications more quickly than usual is the risk of having later clinical trials show different results compared to early trials. Fast approval is often based on the findings of early clinical trials, but there is a risk of having later trials find that medications are harmful or not as effective.

Recommendations for Rapid Adoption

Experts recommend running clinical trials that include participants who are similar to real world populations of cancer patients. Doing this should help provide findings that better reflect results for real world populations. Other recommendations include avoiding basing approval on small studies, the use of atypical patient populations, and studies that don’t compare the treatment with current alternative options that are available.

For more information on immunotherapy for cancer, please contact Issels® today. We can provide additional information on this type of cancer treatment.

Steer Clear of These Foods While in Traditional Cancer Treatment

Herbs and other supplements can provide an added boost for patients with cancer. In many cases, alternative cancer therapies can succeed where standard therapies have failed.

However, in some cases, complementary medicines that are recommended for some patients can actually have adverse effects on certain other patients. An herb may be excellent for one form of cancer and hazardous for another. In all cases, patients should confirm recommendations with a doctor before taking supplements.

These products may not be prescription drugs, but they do have a powerful ability to interact with chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and anti-cancer medicines.

Below are common supplements with anti-cancer properties that may also cause serious problems if taken during other treatments. Consult the American Cancer Society website or other trusted sources for a helpful guide to vitamins, minerals, and herbal medicines.

1. Fish oil: May induce bleeding if you have a low platelet count.

2. Ginger: Also may induce bleeding.

3. Turmeric: Could decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy — or increase the effects, with toxic results.

4. Coenzyme Q10: Antioxidant properties may interfere with chemotherapy and radiation.

5. Milk thistle: May affect estrogen levels, which could pose an issue for breast or ovarian cancer.

6. Licorice: Also may affect estrogen levels.

7. Green tea: Negates the benefits of certain anti-cancer drugs.

8. Reishi mushroom: May interfere with certain drugs or chemotherapy.

9. Astragalus: May interfere with certain immunosuppressants.

10. Acidophilus: May cause infections or other problems if taken during chemotherapy.

Despite the risks for some patients, these substances do have successful results for many people. Issels® Integrative Immuno-Oncology can always help with information about alternative cancer treatment.