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A Few Snags

An Australian research project evaluating the use of personalized medicine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients has run into a number of snarls, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The doctors have not yet been able to treat a single patient, the paper adds, as delays mount.

The researchers began recruiting patients some five years ago, the Herald says, but because of the fast-moving nature of the disease, many of the patients had died by the time the study got underway in 2013. Then, newly recruited patients declined to participate in a randomized controlled study.

"One person even consented and then withdrew when they got allocated to the standard treatment," Lorraine Chantrill from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research says.

Chantrill now hopes to enroll 10 patients, rather than 20, into the program before the funding runs out.

This, the Sydney Morning Herald says, highlights the need for new approaches for medical studies.

"You can't have the same old-fashioned approach of putting half in one group and half in the other … the reality is with the targeting [that new methods allow] these drugs are often likely to work in most people that try them," adds Gary Richardson from the Medical Oncology Group of Australia.