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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2014 Aug;11(8):492-8. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2014.98. Epub 2014 Jun 17.

European perspective for effective cancer drug development.

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EORTC Headquarters, Avenue Mounier 83/11, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.
U.Z. Leuven Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.
Institut Jules Bordet, Rue Heger-Bordet 1, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Champalimaud Cancer Centre, Avenue De Brasília, Doca de Pedrouços, 1400-048 Lisboa, Portugal.
Universitaetsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Fetscherstrasse 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany.
Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1211 Geneve 14, Switzerland.
UniversitaetsSpital Zurich, Division of Oncology, Raemistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.


Health systems and the clinical research landscape evolve continuously owing to increased risk aversion, scrutiny by funding bodies, and costs of clinical trials. In this context, however, current drug development procedures are far from optimal, as exemplified by the late-stage failure of several drugs. The identification of new drugs urgently requires approaches based on a solid understanding of cancer biology, and that will support the design of robust confirmatory trials. The complexity and the costs of drug development are now beyond the knowledge and operational capacity of single organisations, therefore, a drastic deviation from the traditional path of drug discovery and new forms of multidisciplinary partnerships are needed to succeed in this sector. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) proposes the use of collaborative molecular screening platforms (CMSPs) as a new approach to tackle this issue. These CMSPs have the advantage of optimizing the expertise of several partners and combining efforts alongside with cost-sharing models for efficient patient selection. This article describes some of the challenges to advancing drug development and improving medical treatments and how these hurdles can be overcome.

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