The development of more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer depends on clinical trials. And for pancreatic cancer patients, clinical trials are often the best treatment option because they give patients access to promising new therapies, the best available standard care or a combination of both.
But how can a patient or caregiver find a trial that may be right for the patient and close to home? Conducting a search for potential clinical trials that meet a patient’s needs has just gotten simpler with the introduction of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s new Clinical Trial Finder.
The Clinical Trial Finder gives patients free, easy access to the most comprehensive and up-to-date pancreatic cancer clinical trials database in the United States. With an average of 160 pancreatic cancer clinical trials open nationwide at any given time, the Clinical Trial Finder streamlines the entire search process.
Available 24-7, the Clinical Trial Finder is simple to navigate and makes it easy to locate trials that might be right for a specific patient. Users answer questions about the patient’s diagnosis and treatment history; helpful explanations are available throughout to define terms and assist users to answer appropriately. If questions arise while using the Clinical Trial Finder, Patient Central Associates are only a phone call away for assistance.
Each search produces an overview of the trial(s) found and travel distance from the patient’s location. More details are available by pressing the “request trial details” button on the trial results page and entering contact information. Then the results and request for details are sent to a Patient Central Associate, who will follow up by phone or email. Associates respond to trial requests within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. Patients and caregivers can also save and return to trial results by creating a free account.
The most recent statistics show that only 4.5 percent of pancreatic cancer patients join a trial. With the availability of the new online Clinical Trial Finder, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network hopes to raise the participation rate. More patients on trials will lead to more options for individual patients and faster access to new treatments for all patients.
“We want all patients to have the opportunity to learn about clinical trials and determine, in consultation with their oncologist, whether participating in a trial would be a good treatment choice for them. Because trials might be the best option for a patient and because many trials are available only to patients who haven’t yet received treatment, it’s important that pancreatic cancer patients find out about clinical trials as early as possible,” said Director of Clinical Initiatives Anitra Engebretson.
Once enrolled in a trial, patients receive first-rate healthcare and medical attention from a clinical research team, whether they are getting a promising new treatment or the best available standard treatment. In a survey of more than 1,000 trial participants, 91 percent thought the quality of care they received in their clinical trial was “excellent” or “good.”1 And according to the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation, 95 percent of clinical trial participants would consider joining a future clinical trial.2
Recent clinical trial participant Philip Zeblisky regards his trial experience as remarkable. “My first consultation with the oncologist lasted over two hours. The clinical staff answered my questions and, most importantly, they gave me hope,” said Zeblisky. “In addition to excellent treatment, the contributions that I and the other patients in the trial have made promise to be significant. That is rewarding. Very rarely in my life has there been such a win-win situation.”
Healthcare professionals, too, have access to our world-class database of clinical trials through their own portal to the Clinical Trial Finder. Qualifying healthcare providers can register for a free account and use the tool to locate up-to-date clinical trial information to discuss with their patients as part of collaborative treatment planning.
Patients and their oncologists can also find clinical trial options through our Know Your TumorSM personalized medicine service, which offers an expert review of the biology of a patient’s tumor. The report that the patient and oncologist receive provides valuable information on patient-specific treatment options, including clinical trials.
Anyone who prefers to start a clinical trial search without going online can still call Patient Central and speak with an Associate. Patient Central continues to be our first-line resource for patients and their families and caregivers to support the entire pancreatic cancer journey. Patient Central Associates offer a wide range of free information and educational resources on pancreatic cancer, tailored to the individual, on such topics as diagnosis and treatment, diet and nutrition, pancreatic cancer specialists and support services. Associates can also connect patients and caregivers with our Survivor and Caregiver Network for information and support.
To use the new Clinical Trial Finder, simply visit clinicaltrials.pancan.org.
1 Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation website (https://www.ciscrp.org/education-center/charts-and-statistics/after-participation/) and references therein. Accessed May 2015.
2 Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation 2013 Perceptions & Insights Study | Report on Study Participant Experiences.