Don Berry, a biostatician at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was frustrated about the potentially decade-long process to test breast cancer drugs and bring them to market. The lengthy and costly trials dissuade some drug manufacturers from even trying to develop certain drugs. So Berry, in partnership with researchers at the National Cancer Institute, the FDA, and drug companies, devised a way to more quickly detect which drugs were working and which weren’t by testing them on a small group of women and statistically analyzing the results as soon as they started to come in, rather than waiting for the studies to conclude before examining results. The development of one drug showing promise in treating a difficult form of breast cancer has already been expedited with this technique, and has moved to the FDA’s final-phase testing. When it comes to saving lives, the faster, the better.
How One Statistician Helped Get Badly Needed Cancer Drugs to Market