For the last three months of 2013, clinical research sites across the United States and beyond competed to refer the largest number of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and control volunteers into Fox Trial Finder (FTF). As part of the “FTF Challenge” — a pilot initiative of The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to assemble a critical mass of PD research volunteers — sites engaged in some healthy competition as they vied for the number one ranking and grand prize of an MJFF sponsored event.
“Getting as many Fox Trial Finder volunteers as possible ensures that when a new study starts, researchers have a well-characterized database at their fingertips to pre-screen people who are primed to participate in research,” said Claire Meunier, director of research partnerships, MJFF.
At the conclusion of the 16 week stretch, the University of Colorado Hospital Movement Disorders Center proved victorious, referring an astounding 563 PD patients and controls into FTF.
“We have a large population of Parkinson's patients, we are dedicated to research of this disorder and we respect The Michael J. Fox Foundation for the worthwhile research it has supported,” said Maureen Leehey, MD, professor at the University of Colorado. “Thus, when we heard about the challenge, we wanted to participate.”
The University of Colorado team worked tirelessly to promote this initiative by handing out referral cards in their clinic, calling patients, and collaborating with local support groups. “We made it as easy as possible to get patients and their caregivers signed up and were spurred on by the formidable competition,” said Leehey.
The Gardner-McMaster Parkinson Center at the University of Toledo Medical Center came in a close second, referring 505 volunteers into FTF. The Gardner-McMaster team harnessed the power of social media to encourage their network of patients and supporters to sign up.
“For years, one of the major challenges facing clinical research in Parkinson's disease was an efficient and effective way to identify and recruit potential clinical trial candidates,” said Lawrence Elmer, MD, PhD, director of the Gardner-McMaster Parkinson Center. “Fox Trial Finder is certain to benefit patients and their families, but most importantly, advance breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of Parkinson's disease far more rapidly than any of us could have ever imagined.”
At the end of the competition, over 1,400 new clinical research volunteers were referred into Fox Trial Finder across all 24 participating sites. View the full list of rankings here.
Thank you to all the research teams whose participation in the FTF Challenge helped grow the Fox Trial Finder database to more than 27,000 volunteers to date. Stay tuned for more FTF Challenges in the future, and in the meantime, continue to refer your patients and supporters to Fox Trial Finder.