Brocher Symposium: Recent developments in phase I oncology trials

This week I’ll be speaking about risk-benefit evaluations in early phase oncology research at the Fondation Brocher. Thanks to Brian Cassel from Virginia Commonwealth University and Franklin Miller from the U.S. National Institutes of Health for organizing this interesting workshop.

Recent developments in phase I oncology trials: implications for ethics, palliative care, and society

15 – 16, 2014

The subject of this symposium will be a critical re-examination of ethical issues in phase I oncology trials. Given recent developments in cancer research and medical care, this symposium will provide a unique, timely and much-needed opportunity to bring together researchers, oncologists, ethicists and palliative care specialists to discuss the following questions. 1) How have phase I trials changed in recent years, and what are the implications of that ethically? 2) What kinds of people volunteer to participate in these trials, in terms of their attitudes and beliefs about treatment, and their prognosis? 3) Has the assessment of risks vs. benefits been affected by the evolution of phase I trials, and should it be? 4) What are the empirical data on patients’ ability to provide truly informed consent? 5) Should palliative care specialists be involved in the phase I trials, and if so how? These topics will be examined in the context of the trajectory travelled by cancer patients, from exhausting standard treatment options, to phase 1 trial participation, to end-of-life decision-making and care.


J. Brian Cassel – Introduction
Andrew Poklepovic – Changes in phase I design and agents being tested
Tobias Arkenau – Clinical selection criteria and prognostic scoring
Annette Rid – Framework for assessing risk/benefit in early phase trials
Lynn Jansen – Empirical studies of informed consent and patient expectations
Franklin Miller – Therapeutic misconception and the status of informed consent
Samia Hurst – Ethics in end-of-life care
Irene Higginson – Empirical evidence of the impact of palliative care for patients
Egidio Del Fabbro – Palliative care and phase I programs: the potential for partnership
Jordi Rodon – Changes in phase I patient population and endpoints
Florian Strasser – Palliative care alongside oncology care