The following is a statement from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in response to several inquiries about news coverage this week. The news coverage pertains to research data from a clinical trial released by a biotech company before the clinical trial was completed.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was recently contacted by a reporter and asked to comment about patient research data from a clinical trial released by a biotech company before the clinical trial was completed. MD Anderson was contacted because we are one of several sites where the study is being conducted.
Dr. Aman Buzdar, MD Anderson's Vice President of Clinical Research, explained to the news outlet that the standard practice for clinical trials is that data only be released at predetermined time points defined by the research protocol or at the completion of the entire study when data are fully analyzed.
Dr. Buzdar has no associations or financial interest with this company or any other pharmaceutical company. Nor does he serve as a consultant or scientific advisor for any company.
MD Anderson was not involved in the decision to disclose the study information prior to the completion of the research. Therefore, we felt it was important to state that fact. We also felt it was important to state our belief that releasing incomplete research data is not accepted practice in our field.
The reporter was me. The biotech company: Northwest Biotherapeutics. For anyone who believed -- mistakenly -- that Buzdar was speaking only for himself when he criticized Northwest Bio last week for making inappropriate claims about a clinical trial of its cancer vaccine DCVax-Direct, the truth is now crystal clear. Buzdar was speaking for MD Anderson. MD Anderson released the statement Friday night, reiterating Buzdar's comments, after Northwest Bio shareholders and supporters flamed the hospital's Facebook page with hateful comments. The same ignorant people have verbally attacked Buzdar, compelling the hospital to come to his defense.
Classy bunch, those Northwest Bio supporters.
On Friday, Northwest Bio issued a press release claiming the headline on my story, Prestigious Cancer Hospital Rebukes Northwest Bio for 'Inappropriate' Data Disclosure" was "sensationalized" and false." The company also said it had "not received a 'rebuke' from any clinical trial site, nor does the Company believe there is any basis for any such 'rebuke.'"