Sand Timer


A Fight Against Time

Clinical trials are a critical part of bringing new medicines to patients and are standard practice in cancer treatment of children, teenagers and young adults. But for both parents and physicians, learning about the full scope of trials available can be a challenge and may even result in disparate patient care. That was the case in France.

Pediatric cancers affect 2,500 children annually in France and claim 500 young lives every year. Across the country, 30 hospitals offer classic, standard-of-care treatment for pediatric cancer; however, if the standard-of-care treatment does not work and the patient needs a medicine available only through a clinical trial, the number of treatment locations is drastically reduced.

The problem worsens if the treating doctor does not work at one of those hospitals and has little to no information about the clinical trials.

To show our commitment to this vulnerable population, we support UpLift International Networks for Kids (U-Link), an organization striving to reduce inequalities in access to treatment for children with cancer in France. Launched by the National Union of Parents’ Associations of Children with Cancer or Leukemia and French Knowledge Society of Pediatric Oncology, U-Link aims to increase awareness of clinical trials in progress and support families who may not be able to afford travel and accommodation to be with their child in a hospital.

“With pediatric cancer, you’re always in a fight against time,” says Laurence Cam, External Relations Manager in Immuno-Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Before U-Link, there was no central repository of information about clinical trials, so random searches were the only way to get information. Doctors, families and, most significantly, patients were losing valuable time.”

The U-Link platform has two points of entry, one for healthcare professionals and another for the general public. All clinical trial protocols are written in plain language to help patients and families understand the treatment.

Before the U-Link website was launched, more than 50 families received financial assistance during the 2017 pilot program. Just days after the official launch, it had been viewed more than 1,500 times.

“We knew from the U-Link pilot program that families and doctors were accessing the information,” Laurence says. “People have been waiting for something like this.”