The Most Cutting-Edge Clinical Trial Research of 2022
Clinical trials and the staff who run them are operating at the forefront of the field of medical science. These doctors and researchers spend their days researching a given disease or condition and trying to find innovative new ways to either cure or prevent the disease or condition, or lessen its effects to a tolerable degree. Clinical trials often take years and years, from the beginning phases where plans are laid out and funding is obtained, to the testing, to the sale and monitoring of the treatment after all testing has been completed. Using various research techniques and computer programs such as eSource in clinical trials helps speed things along, but some trials are just steaming ahead of the pack and producing incredible results on an unprecedented scale. Let’s look at some of the most cutting-edge clinical trials that have been run this year.
New cancer treatments are always on a doctor’s list of dreams and wishes for their patients, and ALX Oncology is certainly delivering. The company has been working on therapies that utilize blocking technology to impede the CD47 pathway: the pathway that would allow any present macrophages to recognize their own healthy cells. Certain cancer cells are able to produce the CD47 protein, which tricks macrophages into thinking that the cancer cells are their own healthy cells so they don’t attack the cells and defend the body against the disease. There are some treatments available that follow a similar pattern, but with serious side effects. ALX Oncology’s treatment blocks the cell pathway without activating the macrophage so these side effects are avoided. This treatment works in conjunction with other cancer drugs to induce a response without any adverse effects. The drugs used in the treatment are incapable of binding to healthy cells, only to cancer cells, so the macrophage response is satisfactorily limited. This treatment, known as Evorpacept, is currently in its first and second phases, so long-term safety is still being evaluated. The trial is set to wrap up in December of 2023.
This San Diego based company is taking a long hard look at the benefits of cellular immunotherapies for cancer patients. Genetically engineered human stem cells are currently being used in nine clinical trials that are aiming to improve the lives of patients suffering from solid tumors and acute myeloid leukemia. Allogeneic killer cells are being utilized in one of the nine trials in an attempt to solve the resistance issue facing the scientists in checkpoint inhibitor therapy.
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Depression may not be a physical malady, but the effects of this condition, if left untreated, can certainly lead to physical harm and even death. Depression can also lead to other chronic health conditions such as back pain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or even more concerning conditions. Some sufferers encounter “treatment resistant” depression, meaning that they have tried medications to no avail. These patients are at an incredibly high risk for hospitalization, so more research must be conducted. VNS (vagus nerve stimulation) therapy is here to help bridge that gap, and has so far been proven to be an effective option. Psychiatrist Dr. Carlos Figueroa, with the Keck Medical Center of USC, has recently seen very promising results with this therapy. The RECOVER study, conducted this year, has made this site one of the leaders in understanding and implementing all the benefits that the treatment has to offer. In partnership with more than 100 of the nation’s leading hospitals and medical centers, this study aims to bring relief to depression sufferers. Dr. Figueroa hopes to help patients who would typically not be able to access this form of treatment through medical insurance and bring a better quality of life to them on a daily basis. The study still has a long way to go and will include a huge amount of staff, medical devices, and willing patients, but the early numbers are very promising.
Though Novocure is hardly a new name in medical science, their tumor treatment fields are a new hope in cancer treatment. Their device creates an electric field that works by disrupting cancer cell division in tumors. The field alternates between 100,000 and 300,000 bursts per second. So far, the company has acquired FDA approval for the treatment of mesothelioma and glioblastoma cells, and phase one trials are currently underway to treat ovarian and pancreatic cancers, asterisk adenocarcinomas, and hepatocellular carcinomas.
The research scientists and doctors that push tirelessly ahead in the field of clinical trials are the real heroes that we never see on TV, and will likely never get to meet and thank in person. It’s due to their ceaseless efforts that medicine is able to cure all the ailments that it currently can, and will hopefully be able to make an even bigger difference in the near future.