Washington, DC – At a time when fewer than 5 percent of adults with cancer enroll in a clinical trial, an initiative called Project Innovation unveiled the Clinical Trials Resource Guide, a comprehensive web-based aide that explains why taking part in a clinical study is a way for patients to receive either the best treatment currently known for their cancer from the leading experts in the field, or to be treated with a promising, new therapy not available yet to all patients. Project Innovation is a campaign to elevate cancer innovation as a national priority.
Because lack of awareness is a pervasive barrier to more patients taking part in clinical trials, the online resource dispels some widespread misperceptions about these studies, including the myth that some individuals get a placebo instead of the best treatment or must travel long distances to take part in a study. As such, the guide relays the value of clinical trials from the patient perspective, answers the questions on patients’ minds, and provides a “one-stop” resource for patients to discuss the option of a clinical study with their oncologist and locate available trials. The online guide also provides links to patient stories so Americans can hear directly about the experiences of others. The Clinical Trials Resource Guide is available on the Project Innovation website at: http://bit.ly/1ee8YVb.
“Enrolling adequate numbers of eligible cancer patients in clinical trials is an ongoing problem for biomedical researchers and is largely due to a pervasive lack of understanding among Americans of what a clinical trial is, what it means to participate in one and how patients will benefit,” said Alan Balch, PhD, chief executive officer of the Patient Advocate Foundation, which manages Project Innovation. “Our goal is to close this knowledge gap by providing user-friendly information on cancer clinical trials to guide patients and caregivers so they can make the decision that is best for them.”
Confronting the Perception Barriers on Cancer Clinical Trials
Although clinical trials are a treatment option for all types of cancer, research shows only 2-5 percent of the 14.5 million Americans with a history of cancer participate in these studies. While a number of factors are involved, misperceptions of what clinical trials entail, lack of awareness of clinical trial availability and concerns about practical issues, such as the costs to patients, remain some of the most challenging.
- Because addressing these perception barriers is necessary to increase accrual rates, the new online resource guide confronts the myths about clinical trials head-on by relaying these important facts:
- Cancer clinical trials take place in doctors’ offices, clinics, cancer centers and hospitals around the country – meaning enrolled patients can get expert medical care in their own communities
- Clinical trials are offered for all stages of cancer, including for newly diagnosed patients
- All patients who join a clinical trial are given the best cancer treatment options available or the chance to receive a new treatment being considered
- Costs directly related to the study – the drugs used, tests, procedures, and doctor visits – are covered by the sponsor of the study. In many cases, routine patient costs, such as extra doctor visits, are covered by the sponsor or by insurance including Medicare
- At any time, a patient can leave a cancer clinical trial for any reason, without giving up access to other treatment
About Project Innovation and the Cancer Innovation Coalition
Project Innovation is a national movement designed to accelerate the pace of medical discovery in cancer, deliver safe and effective breakthrough therapies to patients quickly and save lives. Through Project Innovation and its complimentary policy development initiative, the Cancer Innovation Coalition, stakeholders have joined forces to address the barriers slowing the pace of biomedical research, including factors that affect the clinical trials process in the U.S.
Launched in June 2014, Project Innovation followed the release of the National Patient Advocate Foundation’s report, Securing the Future of Innovation in Cancer Treatment, which identified institutional, regulatory and funding hurdles that are driving up the costs and delaying the development of new cancer therapies – factors that ultimately limit patient access to much needed treatment. To overcome these obstacles, the report provides a blueprint for action, suggesting policy solutions, research collaborations, data sharing concepts and funding options that can significantly advance innovation. More information about Project Innovation is available at www.projectinnovation.org @projectinno on Twitter and https://facebook.com/ProjectInno on Facebook.
About Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)
Established in 1996, Patient Advocate Foundation assists patients who have been diagnosed with serious illness overcome healthcare access barriers. PAF provides in-depth assistance through personalized case management, financial support, and connection to critical community resources. PAF serves uninsured and insured patients all across the country at no charge to help overcome and resolve insurance-related and financial obstacles that impact care.
Patient Advocate Foundation has numerous patient-focused programs that aid seriously ill patients during their medical journey, including free case management, co-payment assistance for medications and the option to apply for specific financial grants through the financial aid fund division. In addition, PAF offers education and guidance to all consumers nationwide through its 30+ publications and expert materials. For more information about Patient Advocate Foundation and their mission to improve health access to all patients, visit www.patientadvocate.org or call 1 (800) 532-5274.