Adaptive Clinical Trials - A new concept to improve and accelerate the clinical testing of cancer drugs in Finland | Forum

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A joint development project by University of
Helsinki and University of Turku has been
awarded with over 2 million Euros in the
Challenge Finland competition. The project is called
TEHO adaptive clinical trial design – poised to
accelerate approval.
The goal of this 2-year project is to advance the Finnish
drug discovery research and its innovations by
developing a new concept of adaptive clinical trials.
Finland is home to numerous innovations in oncology
and cancer therapeutics. However, only a few of these
innovations currently reach clinical practice where they
would benefit cancer patients. The TEHO project aims to
develop a new, faster and more efficient, adaptive
approach to clinical trials which constitute one major
bottleneck in transforming Finnish innovations in cancer
research into new, effective therapeutics.
The TEHO project will approach this challenge by
developing and validating new multifaceted approach to
clinical testing. Our aim is to utilize latest data from
preclinical cancer models, predictive biomarkers and
computational simulations parallel to an active clinical
trial. This new adaptive concept will make it possible to
evaluate the clinical significance of the proposed
markers of clinical efficacy before and during the actual
clinical testing. Therefore, this new paradigm will
dramatically decrease the time and cost of clinical
testing and accelerate clinical adoption of new cancer
therapeutics since it will be possible to make evidence-
based real-time adjustments to patient cohorts and drug
doses throughout the trial.
TEHO project comprehensively combines various aspects
of Finnish preclinical and clinical research. Upon
completion, the TEHO project will provide new
opportunities for commercial utilization of Finnish
translational oncology research and benefit both the
Finnish drug discovery ecosystem and cancer patients
worldwide.
TEHO is a collaborative partnership between academia
and industry, whose members include University of
Helsinki, University of Turku, Comprehensive Cancer
Center, AbbVie Oy, Aurexel Life Sciences Ltd, Bayer Oy,
Biomedicum Genomics Oy, Orion Oyj, PacoMed Oy and
StatFinn Oy. Responsible project directors are the cancer
scientists Juha Klefström from the University of Helsinki
and Jukka Westermarck from the University of Turku.
Challenge Finland competition
Challenge Finland competition by Tekes is an
embodiment of the goals set by the current government
to foster national expertise and education. The goal of
Challenge Finland program is to uncover commercially
viable solutions to significant needs by combining
Finnish knowledge and innovations with research and
development of Finland-based companies. In the spring
of 2016 Tekes selected 70 most promising project
proposals from nearly 300 applications. These finalists
were then given the opportunity to further develop their
original concept and identify industrial partners for
eventual commercialization. The best projects were
subsequently awarded funding for the years 2017 and
2018.