Collaboration Between Trusted Advocacy Groups and Non-Profit Clinical Trial Matching Service Proves to be an Important Channel for Learning about Metastatic Clinical Trials
Online Tool Gives Breast Cancer Patients and their Physicians Quick and Easy Access to Potentially Life-Saving Information
Metastatic Trial Search (MTS), a web-based personalized clinical trial matching tool that was developed by BreastCancerTrials.org and collaboratively launched in October 2015 by non-profits Breastcancer.org, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Young Survival Coalition and Triple Step Toward the Cure, is now available through an additional seven advocacy groups focused on metastatic breast cancer. In addition, MTS will soon be adding more robust features that will help users personalize search results.
The goal of Metastatic Trial Search, which is integrated into the websites of its advocacy partners, is to make finding out about clinical trial options for metastatic breast cancer easier, faster and more precise, and to encourage patients to consider clinical trials as a routine option for care when making treatment decisions. The service uses patient-friendly language that is designed to make details about clinical trials more understandable and accessible for cancer patients, their families and physicians.
Since its launch one year ago, Metastatic Trial Search has been viewed by more than 15,000 users and attracted the following new advocacy group partners:
|· Cancer Support Community||· Share Cancer Support
Supported by two rounds of funding from the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program, in addition to programmatic support from the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, Metastatic Trial Search was developed specifically for metastatic breast cancer patients by BreastCancerTrials.org (BCT) in collaboration with the five organizations listed above.
Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer and occurs when cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, liver and brain. Nearly three in 10 women who have had early-stage breast cancer will eventually develop metastatic disease. There are no cures currently available, and continuous treatment is needed to manage the spread of the disease and its symptoms.
“Clinical trials provide people with metastatic breast cancer access to the most advanced medical knowledge about new and potentially life-saving approaches to treatment available today,” says Dr. Elly Cohen, Program Leader of BreastCancerTrials.org. “Metastatic Trial Search was designed to reach women with metastatic disease at the time and place that they are urgently seeking information after a new diagnosis or progression of their disease. Our advocacy partners are trusted sources of reliable information, and our aim is to help make potentially life-saving research available for the women who need it the most.”
“Accessing information about active clinical trials is a key gap for metastatic breast cancer patients. Metastatic Trial Search fills this gap, in part, by allowing a patient to quickly find trials nearby where they live, relevant to the subtype of breast cancer they have and to what sites in their body have active metastases,” noted Dr. Marc Hurlbert, Chairman of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. “The MBC Alliance is pleased to partner with BreastCancerTrials.org in further developing and disseminating this valuable patient and physician clinical trials tool.”
Considered by many to be the most patient-friendly service for breast cancer clinical trial information, BreastCancerTrials.org receives trial data from the U.S. National Institute of Health’s website, ClinicalTrials.gov. As a non-profit organization, BCT does not “recruit” patients to trials, but is dedicated to providing access to studies by developing patient-centered trial matching tools and easy-to-understand information. In 2015, BCT received more than 120,000 visits, with an estimated 30 percent of those being patients with metastatic disease. The organization was inspired by two women battling breast cancer themselves, and developed by breast cancer providers, patients, and computer engineers at the University of California, San Francisco. Its mission is to raise awareness about the importance of clinical trials and simplify the process of learning about, evaluating and considering clinical trial options when making medical decisions.
Over the last decade, knowledge gained from cancer clinical trials has helped medical science move forward dramatically. Today for example, physicians are able to diagnose, slow or stop cancers as they develop, and identify cancers that are likely to come back after treatment, all as a result of clinical studies. Despite this progress, less than five percent of all cancer patients in the U.S. agree to join a trial.
“There is no doubt that every advance in breast cancer prevention and treatment has been the result of clinical trials,” adds Dr. Cohen. “Carefully conducted trials give researchers and breast cancer patients the opportunity to work to together to advance all aspects of breast cancer care. We are making great progress, but there is still much confusion and misunderstanding. Our aim is to provide patient-centered information that will help make consideration of clinical trials—for patients and their physicians—the norm, rather than the exception. We are extremely proud to add such dedicated advocacy organizations to our roster of trusted partners.”
Organizations wishing to host the Metastatic Trial Search tool on their websites should contact Dr. Elly Cohen at: Elly.Cohen@ucsf.edu.
About BreastCancerTrials.org (BCT)
BreastCancerTrials.org is a non-profit service that encourages individuals affected by breast cancer to consider clinical trials as a routine option for care. To make this possible, the web-based portal helps individuals who are interested in breast cancer research find studies that are right for them; lists U.S.-based trials on ClinicalTrials.gov that are currently looking for volunteers and presents trial summary information in patient-friendly language; provides accurate information about why clinical trials are important and how they are structured; and helps care providers and patient navigators find trials for patients. BCT was developed at the University of California, San Francisco and operates as a service of QuantumLeap Healthcare Collaborative, a non-profit foundation, established in 2005, as a collaboration between medical researchers at University of California at San Francisco, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. QuantumLeap’s mission is to accelerate the transfer of high-impact research in clinical processes and systems technology into widespread adoption so that patients and physicians can benefit from the research as soon as practicable.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.