Final Thoughts from a Dying Cancer Researcher

Merrill Goozner

Posted 1/02/12 on Gooz News

I recently received word that Alessandro Liberati, the Head of the Italian Cochrane Network, passed away from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. The Cochrane network is a worldwide collaboration committed to conducting comparative analyses of medical interventions. In a recent letter to The Lancet, Liberati noted his own experience in searching the medical literature in hopes of identifying what would be the best treatment for his own disease. He noted:

I looked at the “epidemiology” of myeloma studies on ClinicalTrials.gov. On July 31, 2011, a search using the term “multiple myeloma identified 1384 studies. Of these, 107 were phase 2/3 comparative studies. However, in only 58 of these studies was overall survival an endpoint, and in only ten of these was it the primary endpoint. No trial was a head-to-head comparison of different drugs or strategies.

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