Commentary: Clinical Trials Exclude Too Many Patients

By Dr. David Gerber

May 1, 2018. PSA Rising / UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Not long ago, I examined an otherwise healthy and active retiree in his 50s with newly diagnosed metastatic lung cancer. He had no heart disease, no kidney disease, no liver disease. He came to my practice at UT Southwestern Medical Center specifically for clinical trial options.

David Gerber MD
David Gerber, M.D., is associate director for clinical research at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Disappointingly, one detail in his medical history excluded him from all of our available trials. Four years earlier, he had been treated for stage 1 prostate cancer, a disease so prevalent and nonaggressive that the U.S. government no longer recommends routine screening for it. I couldn’t think of a single way in which the patient’s prior experience with cancer would interfere with treatments or assessments on a lung cancer trial. And yet I couldn’t enroll him.

Unfortunately, many sick patients are being denied the opportunity to test new drugs that might save their lives. It’s time for this to change. Continue reading “Commentary: Clinical Trials Exclude Too Many Patients”