Making medicine more effective

Student in a SIPBS laboratory

The University of Strathclyde has joined a Scottish Government-funded programme which is investigating whether medicines are as effective in the ‘real world’ as they are in clinical trials.

The Cancer Medicines Outcome Programme (CMOP) is a three year collaboration between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Strathclyde. It forms part of the Scottish Government’s Cancer Strategy and will be provided with £1 million of government funding over three years, with £300,000 coming this year.

Health Secretary Shona Robison made the announcement at Glasgow’s New Victoria Hospital, where she met clinicians and researchers involved in the project, as well as patients.

She said: “I’m really pleased to be able to announce our second round of investment in the Cancer Medicines Outcome Programme, and to meet some of the people involved in its work.

New medicines

“We’ve dramatically increased access to new medicines, particularly for cancer, due to our recent reforms and investment and Scotland is now one of the top nations in the world for accessing new medicines for cancer.

“Now we want to explore what more can be done. That is why we are taking forward the recommendations from Dr Brian Montgomery’s recent review into access to new medicines, in collaboration with partners and stakeholders across Scotland – including the NHS, third sector and pharmaceutical industry – over the coming weeks and months.

“In particular, Dr Montgomery recommended that we should develop, agree and implement data sets for cancer – this is a vital first step towards achieving that.”

Professor Marion Bennie, of Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Academic Principal Investigator for the project, said: “This programme builds on our work to apply real-world data to better understand how we can use medicines to support patient care.  It will examine the clinical outcomes from cancer therapies by linking together routinely captured anonymised health data, helping us to gain a better understanding of who will benefit - and who may experience adverse events - from new cancer therapies.

“Additionally, we will be working with clinicians and patients to explore how to capture and use Patient Reported Outcome Measures as part of routine clinical care, and to investigate the impact these new medicines are having on patients’ quality of life.  We welcome the opportunity to build on our long-standing collaboration with colleagues at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in taking this endeavour forward over the next three years.”

As a group, cancer medicines account for the highest proportion of new medicines introduced within NHS Scotland each year.  Currently most of the information about the efficacy and side effects of cancer medicines is obtained through the results of clinical trials.  It is, however, recognised that the outcomes of these medicines in the local population may be different to those reported in trials. 

This project will explore how to maximise the use of existing and new evolving electronic data sets to gather information on clinical outcomes such as survival rates, duration of therapy and treatment side effects.   A further aim of the programme is to measure the real-life impact of cancer medicines on patient’s quality of life through the collection of Patient Reported Outcome Measures.