A Report From the Road on Research in Your Backyard

A Report From the Road on Research in Your Backyard

01.30.13 | By

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard the same refrain about the need for more patients to participate in clinical trials of new medicines.

I've been hearing that over and over like a broken record for almost 1.5 years since we started rolling out "Research in Your Backyard" reports about trials conducted in the states by our biopharmaceutical companies in collaboration with local research institutions.

This time the somber note was struck by Susan Adler, executive director of the Northwest Association of Biomedical Research, and Anna Gottlieb, executive director of Gilda's Club Seattle, a cancer survivors' support program, at a "Research in Your Backyard" report roll out event Tuesday in Seattle.

In the midst of a discussion about how thousands of clinical trials conducted by biopharmaceutical companies and Washington research institutions have benefited patients and the state's economy, Susan and Anna stressed the need for more clinical trial awareness and education.

They were right to sound the alarm -- as Anna points out, nearly 20 percent of cancer patients are eligible for clinical trial participation, but only 3 to 5 percent of them actually do participate.

Susan notes that lack of participation has led to clinical trials of new treatments sometimes starting as much as a year late, thus slowing down drug development and depriving patients of timely approvals of new medicines that they need.

Both Anna and Susan stressed the importance of more Washington patients learning about the 377 clinical trials of new medicines for such chronic diseases as cancer, diabetes and heart disease that are still recruiting trial volunteers in the state.

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