American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Shares How Patients Find Their Clinical Trial Match
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) recently published a whitepaper detailing different approaches to clinical trial matching, and providing examples of each. The paper notes that 66% of cancer patients find their clinical trials through their physician or a staff member working on the clinical trial, while just 6% found a trial through self-service matching services, and 6% found it through matching services provided by advocacy organizations. With physicians often strapped for time, there is a good opportunity to increase the number of patients using trial matching services in order to close the gap in clinical trial enrollment.
ACS CAN’s findings detail four attributes that any clinical trial matching service must have, and provides examples of companies who are focusing on these attributes. We were honored to be included.
According to ACS CAN, clinical trial matching services vary greatly — from ones which simply aim to education patients and foster interest, to ones that provide specific matching and enrollment assistance. But, what they all have in common are these four elements:
- Patient Data - In order to provide information about what trial is right for what patient, all clinical matching services require patient data. The extent of this varies — from clinicaltrials.gov, which only requires a patient’s condition, to BreastCancerTrials.org, which requires that patients input many clinical data points to match to a trial. While adding more data can be cumbersome for patients, the trials identified through these services are likely to be better matches.
- Clinical Trials Data - It should go without saying that all clinical trial matching services require clinical trials data — but the details of this data vary from service to service. For example, clinicaltrials.gov includes the bare minimum required by law, and trial information is written in free text, making it difficult to compare trial to trial. On the other hand, other services pull data from government registries such as clinicaltrials.gov, and enhance it. For example, the whitepaper points out that Antidote structures the data from clinicaltrials.gov to make it easier to filter, and provides opportunities for researchers to augment the information provide through clinicaltrials.gov using Antidote Bridge.
- Matching Process - Clinical trial matching is essentially comparing patient data with trial data to find the best matches. This matching can take place through a technological algorithm (as in the case of Antidote), but there are other options as well. Smart Patients ranks trials based on patient experiences with the trial, and some advocacy groups use services that allow patients to talk to nurses to sort out what trials might be best.
- User Experience - Of course, every service has a different take on what makes a positive user experience; this comes down to how they engage patients and to what extent the service is helpful in moving towards enrollment. ACS CAN’s research shows that user-friendliness is key, and cites Antidote as an example of a service that translates medical terminology into patient-friendly language. Other services focus on the user interface, or on providing educational materials and even human interaction to enhance the user experience.
The paper concludes that while all clinical trial matching services look to provide patients with information about clinical trials, they vary in their primary goals — some seek simply to educate on clinical trial opportunities, while others seek to provide the best trial match for patients based on patient data and eligibility criteria. Here at Antidote, we agree that approaches across the entire spectrum can work to raise awareness of clinical trials and often to boost enrollment. If you are a patient interested in a clinical trial, we encourage them to start searching today: