• Home
  • Increasing clinical trial opportunities for adolescents and young adults
Back to all 08-August 2020
05 Aug 2020
2020 08-August

Increasing clinical trial opportunities for adolescents and young adults

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
Solutions for removing barriers

Every year in Victoria, around 300 adolescents and young adults (AYA, 15-25 years) are diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 30 Victorian adolescents and young adults die from cancer each year. It is the leading cause of non-accidental death in this age group in Australia.

Some cancers occur more commonly in children and adolescents (paediatrics), and others more commonly in adults. Adolescents can also develop adult-type cancers, and young adults can develop paediatric-type cancers. For these patients, there is often a disconnect between their place of care and access to clinical trials.

Alleviating barriers to clinical trials access

The VCCC Increasing AYA Access to Clinical Trials Program identified the following four key barriers to AYA clinical trial participation, and developed solutions to alleviate these barriers:

1. Lack of understanding of the research ethics and governance requirements  to establish a trial that is open to both paediatric and adult participants

Solution: AYA Research Ethics and Governance Guideline  

2. Young adult patients are unable to access paediatric trials because they are too old to be admitted to a children’s hospital

Solution: Children’s hospital Young Adult Access Standard Operating Procedure and Application Form  

3. Adolescents are unable to access adult trials because the lower age eligibility is set at 18 years

Solution: TGA adoption of the US FDA Guidance for the inclusion of adolescents in adult cancer trials for use in Australia  

4. Lack of communication and collaboration between paediatric and adult oncology

Solution: A framework for greater Paediatric-Adult Oncology Collaboration 

Accessibility solutions and resources

Information and resources have been developed with program working groups to increase opportunities for AYA patients. This toolkit is available to clinicians, researchers, clinical trial units and hospital administrators seeking to address similar challenges.

For more information on increasing clinical trial opportunities for adolescents and young adults, contact Associate Professor Justine Ellis, Associate Head Research Development Portfolio, e: justine@unimelb.edu.au