UK charity Target Ovarian Cancer has launched a Clinical Trials Information Centre online to address significant disparities both among women with ovarian cancer and clinicians between the desire to participate in clinical trials and the opportunities to do so.
Showcased at the British Gynaecological Cancer Society annual meeting in Belfast, and going live today at http://clinicaltrials.targetovariancancer.org.uk/, the new website includes details of all clinical trials open to women with ovarian cancer in the UK.
These women, as well as their families and friends can use the Information Centre to search for nearby relevant trials.
The tool allows for searching by postcode or wider location to find the best trial option.
The latest Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder Study, findings from which were published in January 2013, showed that only 10% of women surveyed would not be prepared to travel beyond their treatment centre to take part in a clinical trial.
Clinicians can use the Centre to ensure they have the most up-to-date information to support women with ovarian cancer and to boost recruitment rates for their own clinical trials.
In the UK, 7,000 women are diagnosed each year with ovarian cancer and 4,300 women lose their lives to the disease.
While diagnosis rates are not high compared with many other diseases, the UK has one of the lowest survival rates for ovarian cancer in Europe, while there have been no new life-extending treatments for the condition in more than 20 years, Target Ovarian Cancer points out.
The relatively low diagnosis rate for ovarian cancer means that clinical-study organisers “can struggle to recruit enough patients to give their trials the validity required, or to deliver results fast enough”, the charity says.
“Lack of accessible and relevant information is a big hurdle to be overcome,” it adds.
The Pathfinder Study found that only 30% of the women surveyed were invited to take part in clinical trials, down from 39% when the Study was first conducted in 2009. Yet only 10% of women with ovarian cancer categorically said they would not want to participate in clinical trials.
Of those who were asked or initiated discussions themselves, 66% ended up taking part in a clinical trial.
Moreover, seven in ten clinicians surveyed said they would like their centre or unit to participate in more clinical trials. A similar proportion cited barriers to doing so, such as increased bureaucracy (45%), lack of time to recruit patients (38%) and lack of suitable trials (35%).
Just over a quarter of clinicians (27%) agreed that it was not easy to keep up to date with available clinical trials in ovarian cancer.