Children with cancer wait an average of 6.5 yrs longer than adults for drug access in US
Cancer drugs approved in the US by the FDA have an average of 6.5 years to go from the first clinical trial in adults to the first trial in children, according to a study at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. The study was published in the May issue of the European Journal of Cancer.
The team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s conducted a systematic analysis of the time from first-in-human trials to first-in-child trials of agents first approved by the FDA for any oncology indication from 1997 to 2017. The investigators utilized clinical trials registry data, published literature and oncology abstracts to identify relevant trials and start dates.
In that timeframe, 126 drugs received initial FDA approval for an oncology indication. After excluding hormonal modulators (not relevant to children’s cancers), 117 agents remained for analysis. Fifteen of 117 drugs (12.8%) had not yet had a paediatric trial, while 6 of 117 drugs (5.1%) included children in the initial FDA approval.
The data showed a median 6.5-year lag between first-in-human and first-in-child clinical trials, with a range of 0 to 27.7 years.
“Some may argue that this lag is appropriate to ensure safety of a vulnerable paediatric population and to only study agents in children that are on a path to FDA approval, based upon activity in adults with cancer,” says DuBois. “Others may argue that this lag is too long for children with life-threatening diseases and that some agents that fail in adult indications may nevertheless prove to be important drugs for paediatric indications.”
In the U.S., the recent RACE for Children Act strengthens the requirement that new cancer therapies with potential biological relevance to paediatric cancers be evaluated in children. This study can serve as a benchmark as this new policy is enacted, says DuBois.
Source: News Medical