Clinical Trial Engagement for Both Clinicians and Patients

“All prospective trials are registered with the US National Institutes of Health at clinicaltrials.gov, which is where I go to identify open trials that are not available locally.


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It is a comprehensive and searchable database, that providers can search by keyword and we have the ability to tailor our search to specific trial types (phase 1 vs phase 3) or geographic location (eg, only studies enrolling in the Northeast).

In addition, the site provides a synopsis of the study, the treatment arms (where applicable), and a review of the eligibility criteria. It is a good place to go to get a bird’s eye view of clinical research, and also can help identify potential trials, as well as contacts.”

Digital engagement is a hot topic now in medicine, and especially in cancer. We are asking questions about how we can better reach out to patients, to help us plan trials, support trials, and spread word about them.

For folks on social media, twitter can be a powerful ally, especially if there is a particular type of cancer that one is interested in: one can follow topics such as clinical trials for breast cancer, for example, by searching Twitter by hash tags (#clinicaltrials, #breastcancer, #bcsm—short for breast cancer social media). There are also other sites that can help patients identify trials, such as advocacy groups and online cancer communities.

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“Perhaps the best thing we can do is to talk about [clinical trials], and then, to offer them. So many patients have not had the opportunity to enroll on trials because they’ve never been offered to them. This is where, we as oncologists need to do better. Beyond this, we need to work on reducing the barriers for clinical trial processing, from the way we get informed consent, to the required testing needed as part of the trial, and then in follow-up. It’s a process we are all taking seriously, and a process that we cannot do without patient input. Clinical trials are very much a partnership—between patients, providers, advocates, and regulatory folks. The hope is to do better, and the only way we can is to commit to them. To me, hope lies in clinical trials.”