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Using online patient communities and new trial approaches to optimize clinical research
Date:2/15/2012

DENVER - As oncologists already know and newly diagnosed lung cancer patients learn, the kind of treatment given to patients is increasingly becoming dependent on the specific gene mutation present in the cancer. But, as lung cancer moves from being one common disease to multiple different diseases at the molecular level, learning about and getting access to the right treatment within clinical trials can be challenging for these subpopulations of patients that may be widely dispersed around the globe.

Dr. Howard (Jack) West, medical director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, and Dr. Ross Camidge, director of the Thoracic Oncology Clinical Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine are looking for ways to help patients tackle these geographic barriers using both online patient communities and innovative trial approaches.

Their article "Have Mutation, Will Travel" is published in the March issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO), the journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's (IASLC). It explains that the first step is to get the appropriate message out to patients wherever they are located. West leads a free social media community for patients called the Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education (GRACE). At GRACE, www.cancergrace.org, West hosts interactive question and answer forums and produces short written summaries and audio/video podcasts relating to multiple different cancers. During one such podcast in February 2010, Camidge explained the promising early results of a clinical trial involving the drug crizotinib that was being given to patients proven to have a specific molecular change in their cancers called an ALK gene rearrangement. The podcast was subsequently viewed more than 1,300 times, and patients travelled to the University of Colorado (CU) for participation in the trial from 15 different U.S. states and one from South Africa. '/>"/>

Contact: Kristal Griffith
Kristal.Griffith@iaslc.org
720-325-2952
International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
Source:Eurekalert

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