Lung cancer is currently the cancer disease with more open research by the pharmaceutical industry in Spain in search of new treatments. According to the data of EudraCT (European Union Drug Regulating Authorities Clinical Trials), the database of clinical trials of the European Union, in the last three years -from 2016 to 2019- in Spain a total of 963 trials have been launched clinical oncology, of which 203 (21 percent) corresponds to studies with investigational drugs against lung cancer. The number of active trials in our country is followed by breast cancer research, with 154 open trials; genitourinary cancer (124); in leukemia (120); lymphoma (114); brain cancer (93); melanoma (56); bladder cancer (70); kidney cancer (50), and testicular cancer (4).
These data respond to the great challenge that lung cancer implies: it is the fourth most frequent tumor in the country (after those of the colon and rectum, prostate and breast), with almost 30,000 new cases diagnosed each year, 10.6% of the Total cancer diagnoses, according to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM). In addition, in 2017 (last year with official data) it killed 22,089 people in Spain (17,241 men and 4,848 women), which makes it the cancer with the highest mortality in the country. It should be noted that, while mortality remains stable in men, it increases in women in the last decade due to its later incorporation into tobacco consumption, the main cause of this disease, according to the latest data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) .
This reality has been revealed in the ‘Lung Cancer Forum: Challenges and Solutions’, an initiative of the Spanish Association of Lung Cancer Affected (AEACaP) and the More than Ideas Foundation, held recently in Madrid, in the Participants representing patients, oncologists, health administration and pharmaceutical industry. At the meeting, Amelia Martín Uranga, responsible for the Innovative Medicines Platform, an initiative promoted by Pharmaindustry in which industry and public research experts participate to promote biomedical research in new medicines, highlighted the firm commitment of the companies Pharmaceuticals with the search for new personalized therapies that allow further progress in the fight against this type of tumor.
“Lung cancer has become for pharmaceutical companies in one of its main areas of research in Oncology. You have to take into account that of all the clinical research that is done in Spain, 50% percent is oncological ”. In fact, for many companies, “lung cancer is among the first three pathologies to which they devote more resources in the field of clinical trials, and some are focusing on the lung area between 25% and 50% of his essays. ” In addition, Martin said, “up to 55% of clinical trials in lung cancer currently in Spain are being carried out in the early stages of the investigation, the most complex and important.”
Thanks to this research carried out by the pharmaceutical industry, the evolution of pharmacological treatments for this type of cancer has experienced spectacular growth. “This boost to research has caused a paradigm shift in the number of pharmacological options. In 1996 a Spanish oncologist had only four medications available to treat lung cancer, and currently has at least 14 treatments available. This is a consequence of these trials and research, many of which have been developed in Spain. In fact, the advance and the discovery of a group of genetic alterations allow a more effective treatment to be given to the patient, which has meant a remarkable advance in the cure and survival of the disease, ”explained the representative of Farmaindustria.
Thus, although historically lung cancer is one of the cancers with the most limited survival results, according to data from the Spanish Lung Cancer Group, which collaborates with Farmaindustria in the BEST Project of excellence in clinical research, survival at Lung cancer, whose rate is around 10% five years after diagnosis, has increased by 23.5% in Spain in the last decade.
The Forum confirmed the good position of Spain in clinical research. “Every year we are detecting how the number of clinical trials as well as the participating health centers and the number of patients grow in Spain. That translates into the fact that currently three out of ten trials in Europe have the participation of Spanish centers, and for many international pharmaceutical companies Spain is the second country in number of trials, only behind the United States, ”said Amelia Martín.
The participants in the conference highlighted the importance of entering a clinical trial for patients, since thanks to them they can access innovative medicines early, sometimes being the only therapeutic option available, as well as for healthcare professionals, who Thanks to their participation in the essays they see their knowledge updated and complement their assistance work with research activity. The head of the Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry Platform recalled that Spain became in 2016 the first European country to adapt the new Community Regulation in this area, which is mandatory in the European Union as a whole since 2019: “Our country has been placed at the European head in the regulation in this field of research in the pharmaceutical sector, since it is allowing to simplify procedures and significantly reduce the time needed to launch a clinical trial ”.
Emphasis was also placed on progress in transparency for access to ongoing clinical trials for doctors and patients. “In this area, Farmaindustria is already working with scientific societies to update informed consents according to the new data protection regulations, an essential aspect for Spain to remain in the future an attractive country for biomedical R&D.”
In Distefar we are very proud to be able to say that thanks to the Spanish clinical trials, lung cancer is accelerating, the one with the highest mortality in Spain.