“I perceive a strong commitment among the Nordic countries to build on a common Nordic platform for clinical cancer trials," says Professor Steinar Aamdal from Oslo University Hospital, who heads Nordic NECT, the Nordic Network for Early Cancer Trials.
The network was launched last year by Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. A total of 67 clinical trials have been registered by the countries since its inception and is now presented on the joint
website: www.nordicnect.org. “When Eastern Europe offers low cost trials and Asia huge populations, the Nordic region has to compete with its unique high quality factors” says Aamdal, who was recently invited to discuss the initiative as keynote speaker at the EPIC Biotech conference in London.
Aamdal points out: “The Nordic countries have very good healthcare systems on all levels, providing equal services for all patients, as well as cancer registries that include 100% of the cases dating back 50 years and a positive attitude towards clinical research among the population. An advantage for the cooperation is of course that we share similar languages and treatment philosophies.”
Losing phase I and phase II trials would not only cause delay in the access to new drugs for Scandinavian patients, but also missed opportunities for important translational research in all the Nordic countries. Today’s situation, with small populations spread over 5 countries that all require separate trial approvals, is just not an option.
A step towards formalised cooperation
On Tuesday 12 June, the health ministers of the Nordic Council will meet. One of the issues on the agenda is a proposal for a more formalised collaboration on so-called multicentre clinical trials, i.e. studies in which patients from university hospitals in several Nordic countries participate at the same time.
The Nordic countries have a combined patient base of 25 million people in total. By facilitating a unified Nordic infrastructure and faster implementation of multicentre studies, the goal is to increase the scope of both research and industry-initiated studies in the Nordic countries. The proposal suggests a Nordic coordination function attached to NordForsk, called "Nordic Trial Alliance (NTA)", the establishment of a web portal for information exchange, as well as to initiate at least two Nordic multicentre studies (demonstration studies).
Read more (in Norwegian) at the Norwegian Government's website: Nordisk samarbeid innan helse
NORDIC NECT – the Nordic Network for Early Cancer Trials
The network is designed to ensure patient access to new investigational cancer drugs and to allow customer information and easy access to phase I and early phase II programs in the Nordic countries. For further information see www.nordicnect.org
EPIC Biotech 2012
Oslo Cancer Cluster was a sponsor at the EPIC biotech conference May 31st 2012, and participated with eight of the members. In addition to keynote speaker professor Steinar Aamdal, Dept. of Clinical Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital/Radium, the following companies from Oslo Cancer Cluster held presentations or participated in the business partnering; Apim Therapeutics, BerGenBio, Clavis Pharma, the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation, SMS Oncology, Targovax and Vaccibody. For further information see www.epicbiotech.com