Cancer IO’s new report: Cancer Clinical Trials - Preparedness in Finnish Hospitals

“There is no carrot, but there is also no stick.” Cancer IO’s new report tackles the issues and opportunities in conducting clinical trials in Finland. 

The report, pub­lished on 16 September 2021, describes the hos­pital pre­paredness for cancer clinical trials in Finland. We ana­lyzed the status of research infra­struc­tures and envir­onment, strategy and com­mu­nic­ation, and incentives for con­ducting clinical trials. This report is based on inter­views con­ducted in the Finnish cancer centers (regional FICAN units) and uni­versity hos­pitals, since most of the clinical trial activity occurs there. Inter­views were also con­ducted with the seven largest central hos­pitals, of which two reported to have regular clinical trial activity.

The survey indicates that the hos­pitals are willing and well-equipped to conduct trials, but the current budgets and resource alloc­a­tions are a major lim­it­ation that pre­vents growth in the number of trials in Finland. Budget alloc­ation and planning take place outside the daily oper­a­tions of the hos­pitals, which is why the issue should be dis­cussed with a wider audience than just the medical professionals.

As trials and research include a lot of admin­is­trative and budgeting efforts, inter­action with partners, and com­mu­nic­ation with reg­u­latory author­ities on top of the actual research, rel­evant support ser­vices in the hos­pitals are seen as vital for enabling clinical trials. Such support ser­vices are gen­erally available in uni­versity hos­pitals, but the extent of these ser­vices is variable and not always sufficient.

A common chal­lenge pointed out was that the resources are scarce and motiv­ating clini­cians to engage in clinical research is chal­lenging for there is not enough time allocated for research. Taking on research roles often means that the research work is added on top of the normal patient work of the clinician and thus con­ducted in the evenings, weekends, or during vaca­tions. Research funding can be used to finance research leave, but leave is often hard to obtain due to a shortage of clinicians.



The uni­versity hos­pital boards, and health policy decision makers should view con­ducting clinical trials as an asset in modern patient care, com­ponent of health innov­ation eco­system and an essential core function of all uni­versity hospitals.


Create strategies and com­mu­nic­ation channels for clinical trial activity at state and hos­pital dis­trict level.


Incentivize clini­cians to par­ti­cipate in clinical trial research during regular working hours via research time alloc­ation and des­ig­nated research positions.


Ensure suf­fi­cient support ser­vices, resources and facil­ities (e.g. Clinical Trial Units).


Cooperate nationally across Finnish hos­pitals to attract  sponsors with increased patient numbers.

Read more and download the report!

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