Considering the advantages that a more research-engaged community can bring to care, a logical course of action would be for policymakers to embed the right incentives for providers and payers within the ongoing construct of health care reform initiatives. While this policy shift will require time and a true commitment on the part of all stakeholders, addressing some of the physician-related barriers (such as those identified in this review) should be considered a priority among many practitioners today. This will be fundamental for cultural transformation to occur.

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One doesn’t have to be a principal investigator to make a difference. The financial-related barriers notwithstanding, there are steps that nonresearch practitioners can take to get involved with the clinical research enterprise. As data suggests, simple lack of awareness remains a major barrier. By educating patients about clinical trials, being aware of local sites as treatment options, or dispelling common misconceptions, these seemingly straightforward actions can positively impact the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.

For the practitioner, a clinical trial may represent a new treatment option; for the patient, a new hope; for the research community, a chance to know something we didn’t yesterday. Whether a particular study produces a new product or not, when it enrolls enough subjects to fulfill an endpoint, it yields important data that informs future research. Over time, an expanded engagement between clinical practice and research should translate into new therapies and better health outcomes.  

For more information about how you can help recruit patients or enhance access to clinical trials, please visit the following sites:

Chemotherapy Advisor Clinical Trials Database
Coalition of Cancer Cooperate Groups – Cancer Clinical Trial Search
ENACCT: Education Network to Advance Cancer Clinical Trials
CISCRP: Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation

Disclaimer: Stephen A. D’Amato is a Policy Analyst for Pfizer Inc, and a Registered Pharmacist in NY State. All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Pfizer Inc. 


1. Kolata G. 40 Years’ War: Lack of Study Volunteers Hobbles Cancer Fight. New York Times. Aug 2, 2009. Accessed October 4, 2012.

2. Cancer Action Network Newsletter. February 2010. Accessed October 4, 2012.