PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- TrialCheck(R), the nation's premier searchable database for cancer clinical trials, debuts today at the American Cancer Society web site (http://www.cancer.org) and its 24-hour National Cancer Information Center (1-800-ACS-2345), giving millions of cancer patients quick access to clinical trial matches for their diagnosis and locale.
Developed by the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups in 2001, TrialCheck uses a patient-centered approach to online clinical trials matching. Its disease-specific search filter guides users through a short query on a patient's type of cancer, treatment history and current condition (four to six questions). Its location-driven filter displays the search results by proximity to the user's zip code. As a result, users (patients and physicians) have tailored information on the thousands of nationally registered cancer clinical trials open and seeking patients in the United States.
The new TrialCheck service will give visitors to cancer.org the ability to pinpoint trials at specific providers near their desired locations. TrialCheck uses a simple, short questionnaire to provide accurate results and help patients identify appropriate clinical trials for their needs.
TrialCheck will also enable cancer.org users to link to trained clinical trial specialists at the Society's National Cancer Information Center directly from their TrialCheck search. Shared access enables Web visitors to get immediate assistance with their search, as well as guidance interpreting search results and help verifying hospitals and clinical practices where clinical trials are available.
All users receive a recap of their TrialCheck search in writing, sent via mail from the American Cancer Society. This packet of information, which includes summaries of protocols returned in search results, takes a critical step, facilitating communication between the patient and his or her physician to confirm whether the protocols that appeared in the search results are an appropriate treatment option. Patients can also save their searches and send them via email to themselves or others for their personal use.
Bridging the Clinical Trial Knowledge Gap
These combined features allow users to continue to bridge the gap between patients seeking treatment options through clinical trials and the researchers who provide those clinical trials.
Although cancer clinical trials offer access to state-of-the-art care - and the potential for the development of more effective cancer treatments - the vast majority of cancer patients are unaware that clinical trials are a treatment option. Yet, data from a study of cancer survivors conducted by the Coalition and Northwestern University found that most patients (87 percent) would have considered enrolling had they known about the option at the time of their diagnosis. The findings also showed that most (84 percent) of those survivors who did enroll in a clinical trial were encouraged by their physician to participate.
"The combined power of two leading cancer organizations can help bridge these serious gaps in cancer clinical trial awareness and participation," said Robert L. Comis, M.D., Coalition president and chairman. "The data clearly underscore that it is crucial that cancer patients - and their physicians - are aware of clinical trial availability. With this new TrialCheck service, we can work with the American Cancer Society to reverse these enrollment trends and give patients access to information that can inform and facilitate discussion with their physician."
"This new service will help the American Cancer Society put clinical trial information into the hands of patients," said Richard. C. Wender, M.D., national volunteer president of the American Cancer Society. "Making the information easy to access and providing it in a way that supports the discussion between patients and their physicians about clinical trials provides a wonderful tool to help link patients with the right trial for them. As a result, we'll accelerate our understanding of cancer."
Updating Trial Locations in Real Time
Real-time updates are a distinguishing feature of TrialCheck that will also benefit users. In 2006, the Coalition introduced a technology enhancement that imports location information upon receipt for Cooperative Group trials. Participating oncology practices and hospitals appear in a trial record in real time as they are federally approved to participate in that study; conversely, locations are removed in real time from the database record when the study is closed or no longer available at that site. With outdated location information a common problem among trial databases, real-time updates are a popular feature among TrialCheck users. While real-time updates currently apply only to Cooperative Group studies, the proprietary informatics platform developed for real-time updates is a possible model for the Coalition to replicate with other types of studies in the future (pharmaceutical and biotech companies, cancer centers offering their studies in multiple locations, and other government-sponsored studies).
Tracking Clinical Trial Trends
An innovative TrialCheck feature, TrialTracker, will capture a vivid picture of patients' clinical trial experiences, determining whether they took steps and ultimately were enrolled into a trial. For the first time, the American Cancer Society can gain an expansive view of cancer clinical trial activity generated from its services and patient support initiatives, tracking the experiences of patients individually and collectively. In addition to activity around the thousands of nationally registered cancer clinical trials open and seeking patients in the United States, the TrialTracker service will provide comprehensive reporting on demographics and insights into patient barriers to enrollment (i.e., physician unfamiliar with trials, location, personal concerns, etc.) that can inform the development of new clinical trial education programs.
About the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups
http://www.CancerTrialsHelp.org, originating site for TrialCheck The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups is a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life and survival of cancer patients by increasing participation in cancer clinical trials.
|SOURCE Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups|
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