User-Friendly Clinical Trial Website Aims to Ease Patient Search Process

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

User-Friendly Clinical Trial Website Aims to Ease Search Process

Related tags: Clinical trial

US Researchers say a new site MyClinicalTrialLocator.com gives patients a simple way of finding clinical trials and may aid sponsor and CRO recruitment efforts.

We can find the nearest Indonesian restaurant with our cell phones but not the closest lung cancer trial​,” Dr. Charles Rudin, associate director of clinical research for the Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

He added that in rapidly growing fields like oncology, it’s not easy for patients to see what types of trials are occurring near them. The US website listing all trials – Clinicaltrials.gov – also does not use mapping technology to show patients where trials are occurring.

Physicians at Johns Hopkins University and at least a dozen other academic research centers are backing the site, which is basically a more user-friendly version of Clinicaltrials.gov, said Aaron Moskowitz - executive director of the non-profit Biomedical Research & Education Foundation, which funded and developed the site. But unlike the US government site, this uses geo-tagging software to allow patients to view and find directions of trial sites on a map. Patients can also create accounts on the non-profit's site to be notified of when new trials for specific conditions start.

One of the real barriers for patients with serious diseases like cancer is finding access to innovative clinical trials​,” Dr. Rudin said, noting that often times doctors have to use “old-school approaches​” like networking with colleagues to find clinical trials for patients.

Dr. Rudin added that although the site launched, it's still in development and will “need user feedback​” as it’s “far from optimized​.” But the concept behind it is “an attractive one​” that over time could become useful.

The site - which is updated daily and formatted to run on mobile devices - allows patients to search for clinical trials by specific diseases, conditions or wellness studies. In the future the site will enable patients with rare diseases to find one another or a clinician or researcher of interest.

Sponsors and CROs looking to recruit patients for trials cannot contact patients using the site as their information is protected, but there are discussions in the works that would allow companies to sponsor the site’s homepage and directly link to trials, Moskowitz added. Trials run by academic centers and non-profits are also promoted in the search results, he noted.

A number of academic centers are in the process of building their own websites with clinical trial information that will be made available on MyClinicalTrialLocator.com, Moskowitz said.

For now the site includes clinical trials for drugs; medical devices; medical procedures and interventions; and studies that look at lifestyle or behavioral changes, such as nutrition, diet or exercise.

When the social networking aspects of the site roll out, the site will have to compete with for-profit sites like PatientsLikeMe​, which allows patients to share their health stories and try to connect with other similar patients or doctors and researchers that can help them with their conditions. 

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