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The Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces Parkinson's Disease Trial Recruitment Innovation Program

NEW YORK (May 2, 2017) -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has awarded three clinical trial centers $125,000 each for the Parkinson's Disease Trial Recruitment Innovation (PD-TRI) program, a new initiative to increase clinical trial awareness, accessibility and volunteer enrollment.

The centers selected for PD-TRI are: Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA; and Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR. Centers were chosen on several criteria, including a large clinical research portfolio, strong infrastructure for executing Parkinson's clinical trials, and commitment to implementing and assessing novel interventions for recruitment of research volunteers.

Clinical Trials are Vital to Parkinson's Research Progress
The only route to new and better Parkinson's treatments, and ultimately a cure, is through clinical trials. Willing participants are crucial to the successful completion of trials and the development of novel therapies. Unfortunately, the majority of clinical trials face recruitment challenges that lead to increased costs and sometimes even study abandonment. Certain barriers, such as limited knowledge of research opportunities, negative perceptions of research, and lack of transportation can prevent eligible individuals from participating. By overcoming some of these hurdles, PD-TRI hopes to facilitate recruitment of volunteers -- critical partners in advancing research.

"Clinical trial sites enroll, on average, only one volunteer per month," says Sohini Chowdhury, deputy CEO at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. "This contributes to the lengthy process of Parkinson's drug development, and PD-TRI aims to advance understanding of recruitment to address this challenge."

Implementing Solutions to Increase Clinical Trial Engagement
As part of the PD-TRI program, individual centers will pilot novel interventions within Parkinson's clinical trials. Methods may include:

  • Creating a clinical trial referral network of local community practitioners;
  • Using behavioral economics principles, such as incentives, to bridge gaps in volunteers' awareness of clinical research opportunities; 
  • Engaging caregivers to help make trials more accessible to patients with PD cognitive impairment; and 
  • Offering transportation to and from study visits in partnership with Lyft Concierge.

Each trial center will perform ongoing qualitative and quantitative assessments to evaluate the impact of their selected interventions. The sites plan to submit their experiences for peer-reviewed publication to inform clinical trial recruitment practices and speed field-wide developments in Parkinson's research.


About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $700 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

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