Taking advantage of Thursday being World Lung Cancer Day, the Cleveland Cavaliers player had a conversation with Dr. Elena Garralda, Principal Investigator of the VHIO Early Clinical Drug Development Group and Director of the Molecular Therapy Research Unit of Cancer (UITM) La Caixa, and Javier Malpesa, director of the Clinical Trials Division of the Novartis Group in Spain, with the aim of analyzing changes in the scenario and the evolution of clinical strategies.
“I always read news like ‘They discover a new drug that can cure cancer’, but then its impact was diluted. It gives me the feeling that the process is very long”, acknowledges Ricky Rubio. “Clinical trials are the way for drugs to be approved. For a drug to reach a patient, it must go through a highly regulated process, which are these clinical trials. It is the way to have the evidence that a certain drug can be better. During the last few years the process has accelerated”, answers Elena Garralda.
“My experience with my mother made me change the way I see things. First, when she entered a clinical trial, I saw her as a guinea pig. Then I saw that it was the way to access a drug that would not be available until a few years later. It was like having the medicine of the future”, says Ricky. Oncology professionals agree. “For a patient, participating in clinical trials is a window of opportunity, since he receives a treatment that he would otherwise not be able to receive. It may or may not work, but it opens the door for you to benefit from innovation”, summarizes Garralda.
“Generate a new opportunity”
“To be able to participate in a clinical trial is to generate a new opportunity. Many times with current therapies we would not be able to advance and the fact of being able to generate this opportunity is a great advance and a value that we must continue to build. Transparency about the information is fundamental so that society knows better the benefits of these tests”, argues Javier Malpesa, who always carries a basketball in the trunk of his car.
Society demands quick solutions. “We cannot take 10, 12 or 15 years to get a medicine to the patient. We try to speed up the processes”, acknowledges Malpesa. Personalizing the treatment for each patient is key. “If we understand the changes that occur in DNA, we can sense some malignant behavior and anticipate it”, explains Garralda.
“Each clinical trial is different, but each time the drugs are more effective. The odds of finding higher profits increase,” says Garralda. “Our mission is to open the maximum number of windows in hospitals so that they have more ways to treat patients”, adds Malpesa.
Rubio is clear about this and is committed to spreading the word from his foundation. “A clinical trial is basic for research”, says the player, who wants to promote early diagnosis and raise awareness in society about the promotion of health habits, such as sport and physical activity, in addition to fighting head-on smoking “The tests are the essence of the process”, reinforces Garralda. “We are making a lot of progress and we are chronicling or curing diseases that had a very serious prognosis, and this makes us proud”, says Malpesa.
The Ricky Rubio Foundation, in collaboration with UOMI Cancer Center and the Mi NovAliança clinic in Lleida, organized a few days ago the first territorial congress dedicated entirely to new strategies, advances and treatments against lung cancer.