Tools Connecting Patients to Clinical Trials
There are a variety of matching tools created to allow patients to enter information about themselves into a registry, and then be matched to clinical trials for which they are eligible. For example:
- ResearchMatch https://www.researchmatch.org/ is an NIH funded initiative to connect people who are trying to find research studies with researchers seeking people to participate in their studies.
- Fox Trial Finder https://foxtrialfinder.michaeljfox.org/, from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, is a web portal designed to connect volunteers with Parkinson’s clinical trials
- The Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch http://www.alz.org/research/clinical_trials/find_clinical_trials_trialmatch.asp, is a clinical trial matching service for people with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians.
While extremely helpful, these tools require a person to find out about the registry, and then take the time to enter data about themselves into it. A recent article in the online journal Nature Medicine “New tools automatically match patients with clinical trials” http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v19/n7/full/nm0713-793.html describes how new automatic matching tools are being tested to increase patient participation in clinical trials.
At Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center in Richmond VA and the University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center in Cleveland OH, automated tools evaluate patient information from the data in the hospital records. An algorithm checks the patient data with clinical trials registry data, and if a match is found, alerts the physician who can then offer that option to the patient. One hope for these kinds of automated trial matching tools is that they can be used as a way to increase minority participation in clinical trials.