Cancer warriors in China: Do you know CSCO?
By: Helena Zhang, MD | January 28, 2016
Oncology research has become a hot topic for biopharma companies in China, in large part due to the growing epidemic of cancer resulting from increased tobacco use, unhealthy lifestyles, and the aging population. As I’ve noted in previous blogs, one-third of global lung cancer cases and approximately one-half of all diagnoses of gastric, liver, and esophageal cancer cases now occur in China, and improving outcomes for these patients has become a priority for the government and for the industry.
One organization that is driving the fight against cancer in China is the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology (CSCO). CSCO is a professional group made up of clinical oncology professionals and leaders from biopharma organizations and public institutions around the world. Together they’ve spent 20 years promoting continuing education in the oncology space, coordinating cooperative research, and fostering better communication between academic centers to promote advances in oncology treatment and prevention nationwide. And their impact has been significant.
Since its inception, CSCO has grown to more than 10,000 members, including clinicians from 1,300 hospitals and cancer centers across China, Europe and USA. More than 90 domestic and international public institutions and pharmaceutical enterprises, including Quintiles, have also joined CSCO as group members or partners, and these industry leaders actively participate in CSCO initiatives. The incredible knowledge, experience and expertise that exist in CSCO’s membership has enabled it to achieve great success in a series of omni-directional academic activities. The organization regularly provides continuing medical education on clinical oncology, advocates GCP and evidence-based medicine (EMB), promotes the integration of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, and encourages the use of multidisciplinary therapies that integrate chemotherapy, radiotherapy, operation, biotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese oncology experts are also working closely with their international peers to better prepare Chinese sponsors and investigators to develop investigational drugs that will meet the needs of cancer patients not only in China but for the world.
The group also hosts leading academic events that draw industry leaders from around the world, including the Advanced Clinical Trial Workshop China (ACT China), which it runs in conjunction with the Society for Translational Oncology (STO). This event provides a platform for the spread of regulatory ideas and practices by bringing representatives from the CFDA, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) together. At ACT China 2013, for example, CFDA, FDA, and EMA discussed the way forward for biomarker-driven targeted drug development in China. CSCO also has a biomarker committee and exchanges ideas with its global peers. And in November 2015, CSCO was honored with the 2015 Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Collaborator Award for demonstrating ongoing collaboration and continued commitment toward the advancement of cancer immunotherapy
The volunteer efforts put forth by CSCO members are helping to transform oncology research in China, enabling young biopharma companies to access the skills, knowledge and expertise they need, and to create an environment where innovative news drugs can be developed and brought to market with great confidence. The industry is lucky to have the support of such a powerful and knowledgeable organization, and Quintiles is proud to play a small role in helping it achieve its goals.