Pandemic has severely disrupted cancer research, scientists say

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to oncology research worldwide, preventing some patients from accessing potentially lifesaving therapies, researchers told NBC News

In some cases, clinical trials have been delayed, or scientists have been forced to renegotiate funding for their work. Cancer charities are also struggling financially.

In March, only about 20 percent of clinical trials at U.S. institutions were enrolling patients normally, according to a study from the New York City-based Cancer Research Institute. Globally, more than 200 interventional oncology trials were suspended in March and April due to COVID-19, the study found.

“This will undoubtedly delay discovery of new therapies, and it will, undoubtedly, have had a really significant impact on cancer patients,” Ian Walker, PhD, director of research for Cancer Research U.K., told NBC News.

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