Today MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid inaugurated their Phase 1 Clinical Trials Unit for oncology patients, one of the largest dedicated clinical trials units in Spain and Europe which hopes to attend to cancer patients whose conventional treatments have not provided the desired therapeutic response. The opening ceremony was attended by Juan Jose Hernandez, vice president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Foundation Spain and CEO of the Hospiten Group, Dr. Enrique Grande, head of the Medical Oncology Service at the Hospital and head of Clinical Research at MD Anderson Foundation Spain and Dr. Gema Moreno, head of the Translational Research Laboratory at MD Anderson Foundation Spain.
“For us, research is the most effective weapon with which to beat cancer. For this reason, the new Phase I Clinical Trials Unit is one more example of our commitment to science in line with our priority objective of eradicating this disease”, states Juan Jose Hernandez.
The Phase I Clinical Trials Unit, located in the hospital itself, has 725 m2 dedicated to researching "the most promising cancer drugs in clinical development in the world," explains Dr. Grande.
The new MD Anderson Madrid unit is a great opportunity to access new options and different opportunities for patients whose standard treatments have not worked as hoped. "Our intention is that this unit, which will have the advice of our colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, will become one of the most advanced in Spain and Europe in the development of drugs in oncology", adds Dr. Grande, who goes on to say that, in time, the aim is the unit will manage the largest number of cancer patients and clinical trials in the country.
In Spain, a third of clinical trials launched are in the initial stages of research; that is, in the first stages of testing of a drug in humans after confirming its efficacy in animals. This is what is known as Phase I, the most complex stage, but also key to being able to test potentially effective molecules. "Carrying out this type of clinical trial is an indicator of quality in cancer centers," says Dr. Moreno. She adds that, "having a unit of this type means offering one more possible treatment and an opportunity to cure or improve the quality of life of our patients".
Nine Phase I trials
The Unit is starting with research into nine Phase I clinical trials, although it is estimated it will develop up to forty simultaneous Phase I studies. These studies provide the opportunity to receive targeted therapies aimed at specific mutations or oncogene fusions found in some tumors or combinations with new immunotherapeutic drugs.
Initially, the patient profile will be that of those with solid tumors in which metastases has been detected and for whom the classical treatments have not worked. "It would also be interesting to focus on patients with non-small-cell lung tumors, head and neck tumors and bladder, endometrial, cervical and breast cancers" says Dr. Grande.
The unit will be available to patients, pharmaceutical companies and clinical and translational research groups who wish to develop their medicines there.
The new unit is staffed with highly qualified personnel to be able to offer patients the most innovative treatments in unified, multidisciplinary facilities with the focus on providing better quality and patient care. The facilities will have their own reception area, waiting room, day hospital, coordination and monitoring area, meeting room and so on.