Rene Asmussen from Pexels

Using telehealth in remote oncology clinical trials

First published on HealthTimes – April 15th, 2018


linical trials generate around $1 billion for the Australian medical industry from pharmaceutical investment, and yet the Australian rate of enrolment in clinical trials is lower than international recommendations and benchmarks; even lower for rural centres and trials including rare cancers.

The oncology industry considers the inclusion of clinical trials in a clinic’s regular practice to be important for research, innovation and funding for the research industry, with a clinic’s track record in trials being seen as an indicator of quality care.

report into the recruitment and retention for Australian clinical trials revealed an unpredictable retention rate for trials, which makes it hard for trials to gain significant data, funding to be obtained for future trials, and innovations in treatments to be developed. Medicines Australia reported a decline in the number of pharmaceutical industry sponsored trials from 2007 to 2013.

While some barriers to recruitment and retention for clinical trials laid around leadership or clinical infrastructure to conduct the trials, Professor Sabe Sabesan, Director of Medical Oncology, Townsville Cancer Centre, decided to tackle the awareness issue, and lead the way combining his experience in rural health and telemedicine to bring oncology clinical trials to the GPs in Mount Isa from his base in Townsville.