Overcoming Age Limits in Cancer Clinical Trials

Although this article has an American focus, the issue still exists for young adult cancer survivors in Canada and around the world.

More than 90 percent of children diagnosed with cancer participate in clinical trials. Perhaps not surprisingly, the greatest improvements in cancer therapeutics in the past 2 decades have been in pediatric oncology. Meanwhile, two groups adolescents and young adults(AYA) between the ages of 15 and 39 and the elderly (see the sidebar) continue to lag far behind when it comes to clinical trials participation.

AYAs are far less likely to enroll in trials than children and middle-aged adults. The reasons include inadequate health insurance, lack of access and referrals to specialized cancer treatment centers, and the fact that clinicians don’t know of trials for people who fall outside of the age groups for which trials and treatments have traditionally focused. Nonetheless, AYA participation in clinical trials is crucial to the advancement of effective therapies for that age group.

Twenty-five-year-olds need to participate in clinical trials if we are going to make progress for 25-year-olds,  said Dr. Karen Albritton, director of AYA Oncology at the University of North Texas and Cook Children  Hospital.

Click here to read this full article on young adults and cancer clinical trials.