UK cancer charity builds on awareness efforts
- Cancer Research UK last week launched its first open online course, entitled "Talking About Cancer," continuing the charity's efforts to build awareness about the disease.
- Taught by researchers from the British cancer group, the three-hour course will cover conversation techniques aimed at aiding health professionals and others discuss cancer. Registration is already open for the course, which will first run October 10.
- Cancer Research UK tested the course in a trial run with over 2,000 participants earlier this year.
Due in part to lack of awareness and difficulty discussing the deadly disease, many people are diagnosed late. The knock-on effect of this is less-effective treatment for the patient and higher costs for healthcare providers.
"We’re launching this course to help people overcome any obstacles to talking about cancer," said Jo Cooke, director of patient and public engagement at Cancer Research UK.
The MOOC (massive open online course) is the first created by the charity, and is hosted by the UK’s online learning platform, FutureLearn.
Cancer Research UK has been aggressive in its efforts to build awareness, hosting a Cancer Awareness Roadshow and developing a Cancer Awareness Measure to measure awareness. The set of questions was built in partnership with University College London, King's College London and University of Oxford in 2007-2008.
Pharma investment in cancer R&D has grown sharply in recent years, as new advances in targeting technologies and better diagnostics improve the ability to attack certain forms of cancer.
The number of cancer drugs in clinical development has risen by more than 60% over the past decade, according to IMS Health. And in just the past 5 years, over 70 new drugs treating 20 tumor types have been launched.
These new drugs are broadening treatment options for patients and have driven up spending on cancer drugs to $107 billion in 2015, reports IMS.
All that R&D success has many big pharma companies opening up their wallets to acquire rising biotechs in the space, most recently evidenced by Pfizers $14 billion purchase of Medivation. At the same time, collaboration and licensing agreements have increased: 57 deals with a value over $10 million were signed last year, according to the industry association BIO.
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