CHILD cancer patients in Scotland are missing out on experimental treatments due to a lack of clinical trials, a study has found.
Research presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool found more than 530 cancer trials in the UK suitable for 16- to 24-year-olds but only 150 of these were open in Scotland.
Study author Dr Angela Edgar says the “trial gap” must be closed to help young patients.
The problem is said to be caused by a lack of information about available trials and the failure within hospitals to recruit suitable subjects.
Edgar said: “Our study confirms that children and young adults in Scotland have fewer clinical trials available to them compared to the rest of the UK. The reasons are likely to be complex, but we need to close this ‘trial gap’. The most disadvantaged are 16- to 24-year-olds. There are fewer trials for them to begin with, and unlike younger children, they are often treated at centres where trial recruitment in this age group may be unfamiliar and overlooked.”
The Scottish Government recommends that all children and young adults should be able to go on clinical trials because there are benefits in survival and patient experience.
Professor Pam Kearns, of Cancer Research UK, said: “The shortage of trials available for young people in Scotland is deeply concerning.
“To address this gap, we need to understand the complex reasons behind why it happens.”