Tissue cells during drug testing. Only 10% of the types of drugs tested have really significantly improved the patient’s condition.
Cancer is a terrible disease. This term refers to a large number of oncological diseases, some of which are treatable. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly working, trying to put on the market effective treatments for cancer. However, while it turns out so-so. Yes, the media often declares breakthroughs of various kinds, but in fact many of them do not work.
For the period from 2009 to 2013, the European Medical Agency approved 48 different drugs for use in 68 different situations. Nevertheless, a study conducted to clarify the effect of such drugs on the course of treatment of a disease or the quality of life of a patient showed
that about half of the new drugs are simply ineffective.
Only 10% of the drugs that participated in the study were effective in improving the patient's quality of life. But 57% of the drugs were useless - they did not give any therapeutic effect or improve the quality of life.
Husay Naxi, one of the participants in the study, stated the following: “We wanted to get evidence that cancer drugs that are already on the market do indeed have a healing effect or prolong the life of patients.” Of course, in the course of such a study it is impossible to look at the patient and immediately decide whether the medicine helped him or not. Scientists have studied the histories of human diseases over a period of 2-3 years, and after that they have already concluded about the effectiveness of the drugs. As mentioned above, half of these drugs are simply useless. It is possible that during clinical trials they had some effect, but for some reason such drugs did not have a therapeutic effect.
Nasi said he was surprised by the fact
that his team was the first to decide to start exploring this issue, because the problem is really important. Drugs that help cancer patients cope with the disease, or at least slow down its development, should be extremely effective. But in reality this does not happen. All this very much surprised the researchers: “It’s hard to understand why half of the drugs approved by the agency do not show any clinical picture.” Worst of all, some medications were approved by the regulator even before evidence of their effectiveness was obtained.
According to oncology specialists, who have familiarized themselves with the results of the research, this work raises the question of the need for conducting clinical trials for each individual drug. By the way, in Finland, patients may request the provision of promising drugs that have undergone preliminary clinical trials, but data on their effectiveness are still being collected. This is, in general, a conscious choice of the patient. But the fact that drugs that have already passed the approval procedure and entered the market do not manifest themselves at all - a serious flaw in the regulators and the pharmacists themselves.
One of the negative consequences of this situation is that patients who use ineffective drugs could use other methods of treatment and drugs if they knew that the drugs they are currently taking are useless. And so people, in fact, only harm themselves, while pharmaceutical companies get huge profits. At the same time, some drugs are simply toxic (which should affect the rate of tumor development or its size), so if the drug is ineffective, the patient's body is harmed - the disease also develops due to the fact that the drug gradually weakens the person.
Sooner or later, doctors can still find a really effective medicine. Maybe someone already did it. For example, last year at Geektimes it was reported
that German scientists created a universal vaccine that can cope with a variety of oncological diseases. The first tests of this vaccine have already been carried out, which have proved its effectiveness - the patient’s body showed opposition to cancer cells. Cancer vaccines are now used to maintain the health of patients who are in remission after successful treatment.
“We know that the immune system has great potential to fight cancer cells, so we have been funding research in this area for 15 years. And there are already amazing new results that give hope that the nanoparticle-based vaccine with RNA will work that way, ”said Helen Rippon, director of Worldwide Cancer Research.