Improving access to cancer clinical research in Brazil: recent advances and new opportunities. Expert opinions from the 4th CURA meeting, São Paulo, 2023

18 Apr 2024
Heloisa Resende, Roberto J Arai, Carlos H Barrios, Fernanda Schwyter, Nelson L S Teich, Andre Gomes, Analluza B Dallari, Laís A S Bonilha, Claudiosvam M A Souza, Fernando R Francisco, Rodrigo R Munhoz, Gustavo Werutsky, Marisa Madi, Paulo Fernandes, Jose M Figueiredo, Fabio Fedozzi, Lilian Arruda, Vinícius Q Aguiar, Andreia C Melo

Clinical research is the cornerstone of improvements in cancer care. However, it has been conducted predominantly in high-income countries with few clinical trials available in Brazil and other low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC). Of note, less than one-third of registered clinical trials addressing some of the most commonly diagnosed cancers (breast, lung and cervical) recruited patients from LMIC in the last years. The Institute Project CURA promoted the fourth CURA meeting, discussing barriers to cancer clinical research and proposing potential solutions. A meeting was held in São Paulo, Brazil, in June 2023 with representatives from different sectors: Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa), National Commission of Ethics in Research (CONEP), non-governmental organisations, such as the Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group, the Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology (SBOC), Contract Research Organisations, pharmaceutical companies and investigators. A total of 16 experts pointed out achievements as shortening the time of regulatory processes involving Anvisa and CONEP, development of staff training programs, maintenance of the National Program of Oncological Attention (PRONON), and the foundation of qualified centres in North and Northeast Brazilian regions. Participants also highlighted the need to be more competitive in the field, which requires optimising ongoing policies and implementing new strategies as decentralisation of clinical research centres, public awareness campaigns, community-centered approaches, collaborations and partnerships, expansion of physicians-directed policies, exploring the role of the steering committee. Active and consistent reporting of the initiatives might help to propagate ongoing advances, increasing Brazilian participation in clinical cancer research. Engagement of all players is crucial to maintain continuous progress with further improvements in critical points including regulatory timelines and increments in qualified human resources which aligned with new educational initiatives focused on physicians and the general population will expand access to cancer clinical trials in Brazil.

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