Translational research in action

Cardiovascular trials

Oncology trials

Personalised medicine


Translational research in cardiovascular trials

In the FIELD trial (Fenofibrate Intervention and Event Lowering in Diabetes), blood samples were collected from 1800 consenting patients. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for prognostic biomarkers are currently under way.

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Translational research in oncology trials

Patients in about 25% of our oncology trials have had the option to consent to biospecimen collection for research. Over 85% of currently recruiting oncology trials have laboratory components, that is:

  • Biomarker pretesting for eligibility         20% (8 trials)
  • Defined laboratory studies                    50% (21 trials)
  • Future unspecified future studies           over 15% (>12 trials)

In the past 6 years, publications relating to integrated translational research have increased from 0% to about 50%.

Molecular testing for eligibility for a clinical trial
Sometimes a trial focuses on a specific subgroup of patients. For example, in CATNON (EORTC 26053_22054, COGNO collaborative trials group), only anaplastic glioma patients without the 1p/19q chromosomal deletion are eligible. This subgroup is known to have a median survival of 2 to 3 years; patients with the 1p/19q co-deletion have a much longer median survival, over 6 to 7 years. 

Defined translational research studies
In the EVERSUN trial (ANZUP collaborative trials group), renal cell carcinoma patients receive an alternating regimen of mTOR inhibitor (everolimus) and a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (sunitinib). The laboratory component of the study will examine circulating tumour cells and a range of serum biomarkers, including those involved in the angiogenesis pathway, as potential prognostic biomarkers or predictors of response.

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Personalised medicine

One of our aims is to develop evidence for personalised medicine, where the treatment is tailored to the individual.

An example of T1 research that changed clinical practice is the CO.17 colorectal cancer trial conducted by the CTC and the AGITG in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group.

The trial commenced in 2003, and the results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Karapetis et al. 2008), showed that patients whose colorectal tumours had the wild-type (normal) KRAS gene treated with the epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGRF) inhibitor, cetuximab, had significantly better overall survival than patients with the mutated KRAS gene.

That same year, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network published clinical practice guidelines regarding KRAS gene testing for colorectal cancer patients. This illustrates very rapid uptake of a research finding in clinical practice.

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