As a neurologist and researcher currently leading several clinical studies, I am responsible for recruiting participants into clinical trials. Our research center in New Haven, CT recruits patients through multiple mechanisms, including presentations to the local patient and physician community. Until now, trial sites have not had a tool to effectively leverage the power of the internet to identify and recruit patients.
When Fox Trial Finder (www.foxtrialfinder.org) launched, I was interested to see how the patient community would respond and if it might improve the rate of recruitment into Parkinson’s disease (PD) trials. I often hear that PD patients want to learn more about participating in studies and find research sites in their local area, and many are willing, even eager, to participate. That said, identifying volunteers continues to be a roadblock to completing clinical studies in Parkinson’s disease, not only at our site, but at most PD research centers.
Within the first few weeks of Fox Trial Finder’s launch, several potential volunteers contacted our research team. With more than 2,000 registered FTF volunteers to date, inquiries to our center alone have resulted in two enrollments into studies so far. While it’s early days yet, it has become clear that FTF is a great resource for PD patients interested in research. Compared to sites’ traditional recruitment expectations, initial signs indicate that Fox Trial Finder could help us recruit at a significantly faster pace.
Yet more work remains to be done, and you can help. For our center, enrolling two individuals into our studies from a single source in a matter of months is remarkable. Imagine what is possible when Fox Trial Finder hits the 10,000-mark in completed profiles! Please help us spread the word to your interested loved ones and colleague. The need is real, and so is the opportunity to make a critical difference in millions of lives.
On behalf of the PD research community, I want to thank you for being a Fox Trial Finder volunteer. By taking this crucial step, you are making it easier for researchers to identify and work with willing volunteers who are eager to participate in trials. Even if you haven't found a trial that is the perfect match so far, I assure you that a trial will be along eventually that needs someone just like you. Having your hand raised already is just as valuable now as it will be then.
-- Danna Jennings, MD, Clinical Research Director, Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders