Research and development is at the beating heart of Roche. It’s the key which unlocks our vision of ensuring people get to live better, healthier lives.
Roche spends €1 million every single hour searching for better treatments. We currently have 72 new molecules in development in the fields of oncology, haematology, immunology, ophthalmology, neuroscience and infectious diseases. As our pipeline continues to expand, clinical trials remain an essential tool for evaluating the efficacy and safety of our medicines. 295,000 patients participated in Roche clinical trials worldwide in 2017. This included people from all over Ireland. Irish patients continue to take part in innovative clinical trials that could benefit them or their families.
It’s an exciting field of discovery that yields real time information which could have a huge impact on the treatment options of a certain disease. The effect this can have on the lives of patients in Ireland can’t be underestimated.
It takes an average of 12.5 years to bring a molecule from a test tube to a medicine at a patient’s bedside. Clinical trials are a key part of the medicine development process. They allow us to identify a medicine’s most common side effects, appropriate dosage and, most importantly, whether it positively benefits the health of the patient.
Trials can also be conducted for existing medicines, to further evaluate their long-term use or to discover if they have new beneficial uses. To do this successfully, we work with a wide network of healthcare professionals across Ireland and around the world.
Conducting clinical trials in Ireland
When embarking on a new clinical trial, we must get approval from both the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and Ethics Committee. Ethics Committee is independent of the pharmaceutical industry and established by the Department of Health. Once we get authorisation from both the HPRA and the Ethics Committee(s), we can then start the clinical trial.
All trials are conducted in line with Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and can be subjected to inspections at any time to ensure compliance. This protects the clinical trial participants. Patient safety is of utmost importance to us.
For Roche, we know that partnerships are key to help us reach our goal of creating better medicines for everyone. For example, in Ireland, we work alongside clinical research groups, such as Cancer Trials Ireland (CTI) and the Health Research Board (HRB). We also provide support for independent clinical trials conducted in Irish academic institutions and hospitals. This enables us to generate as much new data as possible each year. We work in partnerships because the more we know, the more patients benefit.
Finding or participating in clinical trials in Ireland
Thousands of people around Ireland are taking part in clinical trials right now. They are helping to find new ways to prevent, treat and cure complex diseases like cancer, MS and Alzheimer’s. If you are affected by an illness and would like to join a clinical trial or find out more about what it involves, talk to your medical team.
Your medical team can let you know if there are clinical trials in your area and how someone can join the trial if they are eligible. Your medical team can also direct you to more information about how closely medical trials are regulated and monitored for safety.
If you want to start a conversation with your doctor or nurse about clinical trials, try asking: “Are there any studies or clinical trials I could enter with my type and stage of disease?”
Cancer Trials Ireland
Roche is proud to support Cancer Trials Ireland, one of the leading cancer research trials organisations in Ireland. In 2017, the organization enabled, supported and oversaw the running of over 150 trials involving thousands of patients. Cancer Trails Ireland is encouraging cancer patients and their loved ones to “just ask” their medical teams about cancer trials. You can find a list of helpful questions to ask your doctor or nurse here.
Below are some videos from that organisation about cancer clinical trials in Ireland which were created as part of their Just Ask campaign.
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 Data on file
 ABPI. Medicine development process. Available at: http://www.abpi.org.uk/media/1347/medicine-development-process.pdf [Last accessed: March 2018]
 Cancer Trials Ireland, http://www.cancertrials.ie/ [Last accessed: July 2018]
 Cancer Trials Ireland, http://www.cancertrials.ie/about-us/what-we-do/ [Last accessed: July 2018]