Advancements in Cancer Clinical Research in Brazil in 2023:

Highlights of Poster presented by Instituto Projeto Cura and LACOG at the XXIV SBOC Congress.

On November 16, during the XXIV Congress of the Brazilian Society on Clinical Oncology (SBOC), the Dr. Heloisa Resendeoncologist and President of the Scientific Committee of Instituto Projeto Cura, presented an innovative poster developed as a partnership between Cura and LACOG – Grupo Cooperativo de Oncologia da América Latina.

The study“Improving access to cancer clinical trial in Brazil: recent advancements and new opportunities. Opinions of specialists attending the 4 th Cura Meeting, São Paulo, 2023”, shed light on important insights from 16 specialists.

Clinical research Instituto Projeto Cura
Dr Heloisa Resende, Fernanda Schwyter, Dr Andréia de Melo

Such paper, in a poster format, corresponds to the 4th Cura Meeting, held in June 2023, in São Paulo. At that occasion, different representatives from the clinical research system, including CONEP, Anvisa, investigators, pharmaceutical industry and leaders of NGOs discussed how we can improve both the scientific studies in the country and the access of patients to such studies.

According to the poster, clinical researches are the foundation stone of improvements for cancer treatment. However, they have been conducted predominantly in high-income countries, with few clinical trials available in Brazil and other low-income and medium-income countries.

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Specialists highlighted important achievements, including the reduction of time required for completion of the regulatory processes involving Anvisa and CONEP. They also emphasized the development of training programs for personnel, maintenance of the National on Oncological Attention (PRONON) and installation of qualified assistance centers in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil. In addition to strengthening the infrastructure of clinical research, such advancements are also important for decentralizing such activities, thus expanding the access of patients throughout the country.

However, the specialists also highlighted the need to make Brazil more competitive in the clinical cancer research scenario, which requires optimization current policies. In such context, there was consensus about the importance of strategies to allow patients to obtain clear information about their participation in clinical trials, in addition to programs to expand the engagement of medical staff, including, for instance, assignment by the health units of specific working hours for the medical staff to perform research-related activities.

Dissemination of accessible information is vital to engage patients and promote their active participation in clinical trials. Specialists emphasized that active and consistent reporting of ongoing initiatives can help propagate the ongoing advances, increasing the Brazilian participation in clinical cancer research.

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Dr. Heloísa Resende, oncologist and President of the Scientific Committee of Instituto Projeto Cura.

What was the motivation to convert the 4 th Cura Meetings into a study?

– Motivation was driven by the need to record that Brazil is advancing in research, for example, by providing opportunities for meetings that gather representatives from many sectors involved innclinical research, such as this meeting in São Paulo. Recording these advances is necessary so that research professionals from other countries can see Brazilian professionals with greater confidence and potential partners in future projects.

What was the major finding of the study?

– Understanding that the obstacles to greater access to research go far beyond the regulatory barriers; although such barriers are indeed a problem, there are several other aspects to be addressed, including behavior barriers among medical staff and patients, difficulty in obtaining information and a greater need for engagement of the civil society as a whole.

What are the solutions and the path to overcome the challenges found by the study?

– The path includes the involvement of all of us. In principle, each sector plays a specific role with the common objective of increasing access to research. Therefore, NGOs need to promote more awareness-raising campaigns addressing the civil society, medical researchers need to be more engaged, the government needs to optimize regulatory process times, and the pharmaceutical industry should provide more opportunities for research centers installed in Brazil.

In addition to the presentation of poster, on November 18 the President of Instituto Projeto Cura, Fernanda Schwyter, participated in the Module “Clinical Research” of congress.

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During her participation, which theme was “How organized society works to encourage Clinical Research in Brazil” she presented valuable experiences related to the organization of the Instituto Projeto Cura, enriching the discussions regarding challenges and opportunities in cancer clinical research in Brazil.

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The 2023 SBOC Congress was held on November 16-18, on an in-person format, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The agenda was integrated into the IV Brazilian Week of Oncology, thus gathering, in addition to clinical oncologists, oncologist surgeons, radio-oncologists, managers, researchers and many other professionals composing the extensive network that delivers care and attention to fight cancer. Such event is now consolidated as an essential space for exchanging knowledge and strengthening the community involved in that vital field of Medical Science.