Breast cancer tops list of most-studied diseases in 2021: Phesi

Phesi, a company that provides artificial intelligence (AI)-based clinical development assays and solutions, has released the results of its most recent analysis of clinical trials conducted worldwide in 2021. The results indicate that cancer was the most studied disease area, followed by COVID-19. Oncological diseases dominated the top five, with non-small cell lung cancer, solid tumors and multiple myeloma rounding out the number.

Paul Chew, Phesi Chief Medical Officer, remarked: “The fact that oncology takes four of the top five spots for the most studied area of ​​disease underscores its status as the area that still receives the most investment – and it’s good news for patients that even though the most great public health crisis for 100 years is ongoing, it is always takes the first place. Breast cancer affects 2.2 million people annually worldwide and is the second most common cancer among women in the United States, accounting for approximately 30% of all new female cancers each year.​.”

Phesi’s analysis indicates that in breast cancer clinical development, 25,000 investigator sites have been solely dedicated to patient recruitment since 2017, a trend that does not appear to be affected by COVID-19. This includes pharmaceutical and academic studies, and the same investigator sites involved in multiple trials; This means that on average up to 7,000 people are permanently working on breast cancer clinical trials. According to Phesi, this trend is likely to continue, but it is costly and unsustainable.

Outsourcing-Pharma sat down with Gen Li, Chairman and Founder of Phesi, to discuss the analysis and what might happen to us.

OSP: Could you share some of the reasons why Phesi conducted this analysis? How do you think this information could be useful to pharmaceutical companies and clinical researchers?

GL: We wanted to objectively measure whether the majority of research over the past year has focused on solving the current public health crisis and see which other disease areas are currently receiving the most investment. More importantly, we also wanted to check whether this investment was channeled correctly.

(Image: Phesi)

The analysis highlights that most trial sponsors have failed to leverage the true power of their data or secure targeted business spend. Our analysis showed that only 14% of 900 breast cancer trials were optimized, highlighting considerable room for improvement to ensure new treatments are delivered to patients as quickly and safely as possible. This is part of Phesi’s ongoing efforts to gain a definite global clinical development boost as an industry.

OSP: Were there any surprises?

GL: We were surprised to see the inclusion of solid tumors in the top 5. However, it is really positive to see its inclusion and shows that innovation in oncology continues.

Solid tumors account for about 90% of cancers in adults, but many treatments like immunotherapy have been shown to be less effective against solid tumors because it is difficult for immune cells to effectively work their way through the heart of solid tumors . We are now seeing renewed attention and new breakthroughs in the space despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

OSP: You noted in your announcement that COVID-19 has not impacted the trend of sites dedicated solely to recruiting these patients; are there any other areas where you have discerned that COVID-19 and the pandemic are having an impact?

Gen Li, President and Founder, Phesi

GL: COVID-19 had a huge impact on clinical development in 2020, with over 4,000 trials appearing in the space. Although unsustainable, this was an understandable reaction to the crisis, however, our research and data since then shows the industry has rebounded with many trials in other disease areas resuming. 2020. As COVID-19 still impacts the world, sponsors have learned to adapt, as evidenced by the growth of trial sites in China after the virus was relatively contained.

However, for many suspended trials, COVID-19 was likely only a superficial trigger for a much deeper problem in design and enrollment, given that around a fifth of trials fail under certain circumstances. ordinary. Most of the trials that failed during the pandemic were related to intrinsic challenges in protocol design, rather than being directly caused by COVID-19. Adding an extra site may actually just exacerbate existing problems when decisions aren’t based on data, rather than solving them.

OSP: Is there anything you would like to add?

GL: The industry has launched over 4,000 COVID-19 clinical trials in a short two-month period. It was positive and necessary – it was an acute pandemic challenge facing humanity. Most of these trials have failed, but we have harvested several effective and safe vaccines. We are now learning to live with COVID-19, and our analysis has shown that together we are effectively making this important adjustment.

Phesi is exhibiting at this year’s Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (SCOPE), taking place February 7-10 in Orlando, Florida, and online. The company also presented the session, “Unlocking the Power of Integrated, Patient-Centric Data Science to Answer the Biggest Questions in Clinical Development,” on Tuesday, February 8 at 4:05 p.m. EST. For more information about the event, visit

Comments are closed.