Oncology is one of Roche’s key focus areas. Cancer is a life-changing and complex disease. It does not discriminate and strikes the old and the young alike. When diagnosed, patients are forced to confront their own mortality. It can be emotionally and physically crippling for patients and their loved ones. Today, cancer patients and their families are often faced with multi-dimensional challenges including (but not limited to):
- Making informed life-critical decisions with little knowledge of what is best for them;
- Trying to comprehend medical advice provided by doctors with no real understanding;
- Being overwhelmed by information on the Internet, and not knowing whether or not the information can be trusted;
- Accessing the various treatment options and clinical trials as an alternative. For some, the best treatment is inaccessible due to cost. For others, lack of knowledge or medical expertise in their geography cause it to be difficult for them to obtain treatment.
In this daunting journey, patients and their families are faced with the most difficult decisions to make. For patients, information online can be overwhelming, false or incomplete. While they sift through the morass of information, most of which are not easily understood due to the lack of medical knowledge, patients and their family are unable to judge the quality of this information with a critical eye.
Roche Diagnostics wants to put empowering, medically accurate and easy-to-consume oncology information in the fingertips of a patient for their entire cancer journey, and empower the patient to access information globally regarding their treatment and clinical trial options.
Oncology clinical trials are conducted to understand how a new medical treatment or drug affects the patients’ condition. The most important group of people involved in clinical trials are the patients, which occasionally includes healthy volunteers. While the decision to join a clinical trial is often made in consultation with the patient’s medical team, making the final decision can be daunting.
Many patients join a clinical trial in hopes of personal benefit. For some, it is the anticipation that the new drug can help them when all other options have been exhausted. For others, it is a chance to receive treatment that would otherwise be unaffordable or previously inaccessible to them. In the Asia Pacific region, access to clinical trials is at best opportunistic. For those who have made connections with the right medical professionals, they can be at a stage in their disease where they can receive potentially life-saving medications and treatment.
For the stakeholders involved in the Clinical Development process, patient recruitment is always challenging. For the patients, the lack of trial knowledge, misconceptions perpetuated by the mainstream media, and difficulties gaining access to these trials all become insurmountable barriers to participate in clinical trials.